How to Build a Mobile Workshop

Learn how to build a mobile workshop. If you need more space for a workshop, consider converting a panel van to a mobile workshop. The van workshop can also be used for a home repair business.

| December 2007/January 2008

  • This workshop on wheels was made by converting a used delivery truck.
    This workshop on wheels was made by converting a used delivery truck. 
    Photo by Russell Vincent

  • This workshop on wheels was made by converting a used delivery truck.

Reader tips for wiser living. Learn how to build a mobile workshop using a panel van.

How to Build a Mobile Workshop

Faced with the need for a workshop, but knowing that we would be moving soon, I was reluctant to build a new structure on our property. Then, one day while running an errand in town, I noticed a delivery van at a local business, and a light went on!

The used delivery van I purchased was owned by a local delivery company that was downsizing, so I got it for a reasonable price. It was already wired for 110 volts and the inside was roughly finished with an insulated roof air conditioner. All that was left for me to do was add a workbench and overhead fluorescent lights. I also put in a small refrigerator that had been gathering dust in a storage shed.

Suddenly, I had not only a mobile workshop for my own use, but I also could use it for a mobile fix-it business.

In choosing a van for your mobile workshop, think about how much it will be driven. One that will just be moved around your property doesn’t have to be as pricey as a van that you want to take daily on the road. Good places to look for used vans are bakery and produce companies and delivery services such as FedEx or UPS.

You can tailor the inside of your mobile workshop to fit your business needs — blacksmith, ferrier, plumber, electrician, hairdresser or general fix-it shop. With a small generator mounted to the back of the van you can even provide your own power in remote locations.

wendell freeman
5/5/2010 4:31:12 PM

as a multi-pourpose-type fella,a few sugestions on your mobile workshop; -1-think mobile home/camper,where the benches could be cleared of tools-stored underneath,and throw a sleeping bag on top-for those little "get back to the land" jaunts.. -2-a dual battery system with a isolator,for a inverter,plus 12v lighting-for those "off-grid" times,also,a inverter-big enough,should run your battery rechargable tools.,and the 120v 'fridge?! -3- solar panels on th roof..they are getting so affordable these days,saw a 45 watt -two panel system for 2 hundred bucks!?!..that's a fair amount of power..for th money.. ..keep up th great work!

10/19/2009 10:42:40 AM

Thanks for the great tip. FOr anyone interested in creating and maintaingin mobile workshops there's a Yahoo group being created for this interest area. To supscribe send an email to


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