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Van Conversion Cost: The Complete Price Breakdown

If you’re thinking about converting a van, you’re probably wondering “how much does a van conversion cost?” The simple answer is that it depends; many factors affect the overall conversion cost. 


The cost of a van conversion varies greatly depending on the materials, amenities, labor, and whether you go the DIY or professional route. Not to mention, if you don’t already have the van, you’ll have to factor in the price of buying a van as well. Read on to discover more about van conversion costs and how Esplori’s price compares.

The Cost of the Van 

The first step to determining the cost of your camper van conversion is considering your ideal van model and budget.

Van Model

Several types of vans are appropriate for van life, including Mercedes Sprinter VansFord TransitDodge PromasterChevrolet Express, and more. Each van has its pros and cons, as well as price variations. Check out this article to learn more about the characteristics of each van model. 

New vs. Used

In addition to the van model, you must decide if you’ll buy a new or used one. Vans can be purchased anywhere from $1,000 (used) to upwards of $80,000 (new, luxury). This range gives you a lot of flexibility when deciding how much money you’ll spend on a van.


When purchasing a used van, you get what you pay for. Cheaper vans will probably need more work than those that are more expensive and in better condition.


Here are some factors to consider when buying used:

  • Gas/overall mileage
  • Rust
  • Size of the van
  • Condition of the brakes, engine, and body 

A new van, for example, could cost anywhere from $35,000 for a Dodge Promaster with a short wheelbase to roughly $70,000 for a Sprinter Van with a long wheelbase and upgrades. Sprinters are one of the more expensive models, but they are known to be more reliable.

4x4/AWD or 2WD

Another factor influencing the price of a new van is whether it has 4-wheel, all-wheel, or 2-wheel drive. Mercedes Sprinter Vans (2015-present) are equipped with 4x4. They are the only full-size cargo vans available in 4x4 from the factory. However, starting in 2023, the Mercedes Sprinters will join the Ford Transits with their own all-wheel drive (AWD) system. This luxury may come at a price; however, it’s sometimes essential to have 4x4 or AWD for van life adventures. 

Type of Conversion

After considering the cost of buying a van, you will need to decide whether to do a DIY van conversion or a professional van build. When converting a van yourself, you can invest as much or as little money as you want. However, when a company converts your van, base prices are often fixed, and you can add additional features for an extra cost. 


Professional conversions can vary from $30,000 to upwards of $200,000. Here you can find a detailed list of pros and cons for doing a DIY versus a professional van conversion


In the following section of the article, we will discuss different factors affecting the conversion price.

Materials 

The price of materials used to build the interior of your van can vary depending on type and quality. For example, premium hardwood is more expensive than cheap plywood. Some builders may use more inexpensive materials to cut costs and then not reflect that in the overall build price. Be sure to inquire about materials used in the following areas:


  • Ceiling 
  • Walls
  • Floor
  • Cabinets
  • Furniture
  • Insulation
  • Countertops
  • Sink
  • Plumbing

At Esplori, we’ve ditched the traditional carpet-wood duo and instead use aluminum panels to build the ceiling, walls, and cabinets. It’s more durable, versatile, and lightweight. 

Esplori Van Cabinet

Amenities, Appliances, and Features 

One of the biggest reasons some conversions are more expensive than others is the amenities, appliances, and features installed in a van. A basic conversion will cost less than a more extravagant one.


How you use your van (i.e., full-time, part-time, or just for occasional travel) will influence the amenities needed. For example, full-time living may require installing additional kitchen or bathroom features, like a toilet and shower. This could, however,  add significant expense for more intricate plumbing and a more extensive water system. 


You can opt for a smaller water tank and basic plumbing when doing a more standard build with just a bed, kitchen, and living area. Low-cost water tanks start around $100, whereas high-end tanks can be close to $1,000. The van kitchen can range from $100 to upwards of $10,000, depending on how high-end you want. 


Additionally, more appliances (fridge, stove top, lights, TVs, blenders, charging stations, etc.) require greater electrical power. As a result, electricity is often a significant expense for van conversions. Power grids can range from $500 to upwards of $25,000, depending on how basic or intricate they are.


As you can see, the cost varies greatly depending on what installations you choose for your van. 

Labor

The cost of labor is the final factor influencing the price of a van conversion. When doing a professional build, labor will typically account for around 50% of the cost. However, hiring a professional builder has its benefits. Van conversion companies know how to construct a long-lasting van interior that meets safety requirements and doesn’t fall apart in harsh road or weather conditions. 


When choosing a DIY camper van build, you may save money on labor, but you must also factor in the materials and tools needed to build if you don’t already have everything. 

Esplori van interior

The Price of a Conversion with Esplori

At Esplori, we specialize in building the base for your Sprinter van conversion. Our cleverly crafted interior kit provides a functional and versatile foundation to make any necessary installations. There are several installation options, each priced differently, based on whether you choose a DIY or more professional option.


Sprinter Van 144 Interior Kit - DIY: $15,995

Sprinter Van 144 Interior Kit - Assisted DIY: $17,995

Sprinter Van 144 Interior Kit - Factory Install: $21,995


Additional parts and accessories can be purchased and installed. View prices here

Why Esplori?

Our builds set you up to have the ultimate adventure. The processes and materials we use are eco-friendly and efficient. As mentioned earlier, we use aluminum to make your van lighter, so you take more people and gear on each adventure. Additionally, aluminum is eco-friendly, long-lasting, and easy to wipe down after each trip. 


Are you interested in building with Esplori? Let’s get started today! Visit our website for more information. 

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