Do you really want to know the gory details of how much van builds and camper conversions cost? This is a difficult question to answer in a general sense, but an exemplary conversion cost outline can be provided as a reference so that you can build a more educated guestimation of your own.
Table of Contents
- How Much Does It Cost To Convert?
- Van Conversion Cost Breakdown
- Other Van Conversion Costs & Considerations
How Much Does It Cost To Convert?
|Vehicle & Upgrades||£9752|
|Wood, Timber & Sheet Materials||£798|
|Gas & Heating||£0|
Total Van Cost: £9383
Total Build Cost: £9477
Total Van Conversion Cost (With Van): £18,860
Van Conversion Cost Breakdown
If you would like to support Katie Goes at no extra cost to you, then purchasing goods from the affiliate links below allows me to receive a small commission. These monetary contributions help to fund each breakdown, fuel refill, service and ferry ride so that I can keep creating useful guides for van lifers, and those thinking about building a van conversion. Also, please note that the current prices of the product may have fluctuated from what I paid in 2020.
Vehicle & Upgrades
|Mouldings & Trims||£144|
|Swivel Chair||£299||Buy Now|
|Thermal Window Covers||£70||Buy Now|
|Seat Covers & Floor Mats||£76|
|Reversing Camera||£153||Buy Now|
This van conversion cost breakdown is based on my long wheelbase, high-roof Renault Trafic (the older shape of the 2014 model). There were around 91,000 miles on the clock at the time of purchase. These specifics have been stated so that you can budget accordingly depending on the shape, age or size of the van you wish to own.
Your van is going to be the biggest purchase of your conversion. In my instance, this price was a lot higher than normal because the availability of vans had diminished in 2020, with those that were on sale being of an overall poorer condition. This is apparent in the table above with the various vehicle upgrades that were made with mechanics, body shop experts and locksmiths. Check out this beginner’s guide to learn what to look out for when buying a van for a camper conversion.
Windows are very much a personal choice. For many reasons, I did not want windows on my van conversion but they may be essential for you… Do you need windows in your campervan? This decision could easily add another couple of hundred pounds to your overall camper van conversion costs.
|Thermal Insulation Board||£75|
|Recycled Bottle Wool||£64|
|Sound Deadening||£45||Buy Now|
Thermal Boards, Wool and a Vapour Barrier is a popular combination for insulation in van conversions. The sound deadening is very much an optional cost; this isn’t essential but it’s widely recommended.
If you look on Gumtree, eBay or Facebook Marketplace, you may be able to purchase leftover or scrap insulation that is being sold cheaper. It may be worth setting up a notification for such listings before you’ve even purchased your van.
|Luxury Vinyl Planks||£182|
|Rubber Coin||£32||Buy Now|
The quality of flooring options directly relates to what you pay for the materials; you get what you pay for. In my instance, I knew that my van conversion flooring would need to be very durable and be able to withstand many soggy shoes from the harsh Scottish weather. It’s also an important decision because it would be very difficult to change the flooring if you were that way inclined. Therefore, this cost example is of the higher end.
|Breakers, Isolators & Fuse Box||£111|
|Main Components (240V)||£95|
|Trunking & Conduit||£78|
|Lights & Dimmers||£78|
|Shore Power Leads||£32|
|Bolts, Washers & Nuts||£8|
Besides the van itself, the electrical system was the largest area of expenditure (by far)! The need for such a capable electrical setup depends on your day-to-day personal needs.
Will you be working online within the van? Are you opting for an induction hob? Do you have a lot of gear to charge? Will you need to heat water with electricity? How often do you plan to be plugged into the mains at a campsite?
All of these questions will need to be considered. If the answer is ‘no’ to all of them, then this cost could easily be at least halved with a much simpler system. Otherwise, the Campervan Wiring Diagram outlines the best electrical system for powering an induction hob, that way, you could skip any dramas that may arise through the installation of gas.
Keep your eyes peeled for deals online for your appliances – from the beginning! You never know when you might strike lucky.
Read this guide for more information on the best induction hob for campervans.
|Sink, Tap & Soap Dispenser||£159|
|Water Containers & Securing Straps||£76|
|Fittings & Connectors||£78|
The above cost breakdown is based on this basic plumbing setup that does not facilitate hot water or a shower. My thinking was that the more simple the system the fewer connections there are to fail and cause any potentially problematic leaks. This way of thinking inevitably helps to keep the cost low too.
|Composting Toilet & Fixings||£349|
You could spend a lot more to have a Nature’s Head Composting Toilet, but at the same time, you could save a lot more by building your own composting toilet. The same theory applies to showers. Much like myself, many save themselves the money and hassle of building a shower by living with a packable setup or by relying on campsite facilities.
Wood, Timber & Sheet Materials
|Bed Slats||£27||Buy Now|
This cost includes a mix of purchases made in both hardware stores and local building merchants. Try to buy most of your materials from the latter to keep your costs even lower.
|Primer, Paint, Brushes & Rollers||£106|
|Brushes & Rollers||£17|
|Body Filler||£11||Buy Now|
There really aren’t many ways of avoiding the cost of consumables. I was lucky enough to have a few accumulated in the first instance, such as silicone and caulk. This did decrease the cost a little. Shop around!… You might find that stores like The Range, Screwfix and Amazon are cheaper than the bigger, and more popular hardware stores.
|Well Nuts||£22||Buy Now|
|Gas Struts||£19||Buy Now|
|Magnetic Catches||£8||Buy Now|
|Upholstery Tack Strips||£18||Buy Now|
Never did I think that I would spend so much money on fixings! In the interest of transparency, it should be noted that the biggest expense in this category was the Lagun Table Mount at £168. Therefore, if we weren’t to include this, the total would only be £341.
It would be so easy to spend a lot of money on the decor to make your new van conversion feel like a home. On the other hand, you could also save some pennies by using what you already own.
|Mattress & Bedding||£142|
|Curtains & Voile||£14|
Generally speaking, the above figures for soft furnishings are not considered particularly low-cost. This total could be brought lower if you are happy to sacrifice quality.
If you are a digital nomad like myself, having a reliable campervan wifi setup is absolutely crucial. After travelling across the Scottish Highlands and Islands in my van conversion, I was amazed at how remote I could be and still have a non-interrupted Zoom call with my colleagues. The mobile router is costly, but I would probably have paid double to have the freedom that it currently allows me on the road!
Gas & Heating
It was my goal to have a completely gas-free van. Since the electrical setup is capable of running an induction hob, there was no need for any gas installation.
There is also no heating in my van at the moment. This is an upgrade that I’d consider doing in the future. Chinese Heaters can be bought quite cheaply. Although if you do not feel confident enough, more expensively branded heaters can be installed by professionals. This expense can easily add another thousand to the cost of your van conversion.
After having installed my electrical system on my own, there was no way that I’d be able to have a sound night’s sleep without some fire safety precautions.
Other Van Conversion Costs & Considerations
The cost of tools was not factored into this camper conversion cost breakdown because this money is not directly part of the van.
The total cost of any van conversion would differ quite significantly depending on the diversity of your pre-existing tools, or whether you can borrow any from someone else.
To give you an example, it could be said that this van conversion was built with a decent selection of general tools. However, there are quite a few specific tools that are required for various jobs in a van build. For instance; a hydraulic crimper, a multimeter, Kreg pocket jig and a metal file set. A total of £214 was spent on additional tools for this campervan conversion.
Although this isn’t a monetary outcome; selling items is a means that affected my final van conversion cost. To give you an idea, my bulkhead was sold for £10 on Facebook Marketplace (though I know these can be sold for anything between £50-100 depending on its condition). Then, my Renault Trafic’s Uncut B-Pillar Trim sold for £50 and the Plastic Step Trim for £30.
Another consideration to take into account is any other everyday items that will be necessary to live in the van such as storage bins, cooking utensils and decorative cushions, throws or fake plants.
The above van conversion costs do not include any labour hours. This van build was done completely by myself, thus saving me any extra costs. This is an expense that you may need to contemplate if you know that you’re not capable of completing the entire process yourself.
At the same time, these overall costs also do not show a true evaluation of this Renault Trafic van conversion because labour costs have not been included.
READ: How Long Does It Take To Convert a Panel Van?
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