How are Vans Used In the Funeral Industry?

Funeral businesses end up doing a lot of driving—to pick up bodies, to transport caskets to funeral services and cemeteries, even to transport passengers from one location to the next. When you're a funeral business that prides itself on accommodating the needs of grieving friends and family, transportation can have a significant impact on the quality of your brand experience, while also making day-to-day operations easier for your employees.

While funeral hearses get a lot of attention as the trademark vehicle of funeral services, vans also play an important role in performing day-to-day operations and making sure funeral services are delivered without any hiccups.

If you're interested in a funeral van and considering how it might benefit your business, read on to learn more about the value offered by this specialized vehicle.

Funeral Van vs. Hearse Van: Key Differences

Although a funeral hearse is sometimes called a (hearse van), this vehicle differs from a funeral van in several ways—and these differences should be considered when choosing between the purchase of a van or hearse for your funeral business.

Here are some of the top differences to keep in mind:

  • Hearses have a lower profile. A funeral hearse has a lower clearance and less interior cargo space. Compared to a funeral van, this sleek appearance may be more attractive when leading processions or performing other duties associated with a funeral service.
  • Vans have more space to accommodate storage or transportation of individuals. Vans offer optimal space for transportation. Many van models can accommodate eight or more passengers, as well as multiple bodies in caskets or other secure containers.
  • Hearses are styled for display at a funeral. Because of their sleeker appearance—and, in many cases, their more attractive detailing and exterior finish—a hearse van offers a more elegant look when performing duties related to a funeral service.
  • Funeral vans may be more discreet than a hearse. For tasks such as picking up bodies and transporting them to your funeral chapel or other locations, a van may draw less attention and let you move around town without drawing any unwanted attention.

In addition to these broad differences, individual makes and models will vary greatly in features, performance specs, and other aspects of the vehicle.

Providing Funeral Transport for Friends and Family

If you want to provide a shuttle or other transportation for select friends and family, many funeral van models offer extensive seating to fit eight or more passengers in your vehicle. These vehicles are essentially sprinter vans that may come with additional features specific to your needs as a funeral business.

Transportation can be a valued service you provide to your clientele, particularly for individuals who don't drive or don't have access to a vehicle. Transportation can include during the funeral procession, to and from the funeral home and a hotel, or other transportation needs as arranged with each funeral party.

In certain models, some of these seats can be folded down or removed to increase the vehicle's cargo space, preserving your flexibility to use the vehicle for body transportation or other purposes.

Meeting Local Mortuary Transport Requirements

Your local community likely has state and local laws governing the safe and sanitary transportation of dead bodies on public roads. These requirements often include placing the body in a secure casket or container, and making sure the container is properly secured in the vehicle.

A regular passenger or cargo van may not be capable of fitting this large container and ensuring it is properly secured in the vehicle. Funeral vans are large enough to accommodate a casket and can keep your business in compliance with these local laws—saving you the risk of fines or other penalties as a result of improper mortuary transport.

Transporting a Body Prior to the Funeral Service

Between death and the funeral service, a body may be involved in a lot of movement between locations. Funeral service providers may need to pick up bodies from the medical examiner or place of death and transport them to the funeral home.

From there, the casket or cremains may need to be transported to the funeral service location, if different from the funeral home. A funeral van can be preferable to a hearse or other vehicle because of its simple design, its ability to transport multiple caskets or cremains at once, and its built-in hardware to properly secure caskets and cremains when in transit.

Take the next step in finding the right funeral van—contact us today to explore our inventory.

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Shields Professional Vehicles

850 Williams Drive

Marietta, GA 30066


Fax: 678-784-2110