Touring bands have been struggling for the past three years, for obvious reasons. The pandemic sidelined us all for an extended amount of time. Even now that shows are beginning to take place again, the touring landscape has changed considerably. With rising travel costs in gas, hotels, and passenger van rentals, it’s become more important than ever to make the right decisions to help keep the band on the road. When we were faced with our most recent two-week East Coast tour, we priced out all the different travel options. We decided that renting a 15-passenger van from Greenvans in Providence was the best, most cost-efficient option available.
Costs are at an all-time high. Revenue is at an all-time low. It’s no wonder that the bands who can afford to stay home are doing just that. But some of us, especially the mid-level bands who rely heavily on touring income, simply don’t have that luxury.
Touring accounts for up to 90% of our income. It has become increasingly difficult to make ends meet on the road, but we don’t have a choice but to hit the pavement and hustle. We don’t have the budget or the industry support of a major-label band. That also means we don’t have the extreme overhead that comes along with putting on a massive show.
We’re a grassroots organization, and that allows us to be flexible.
New Van vs. Old Van
Our tour started in Rhode Island so it was super convenient to find a 15 passenger van rental in Providence. The routing took us down the eastern seaboard through CT, NYC, Philly and DC. Then up through Lancaster, Scranton, and Albany before circling back and finishing up in Boston.
We have a beat up 15-passenger van that belongs to the band, but it’s in need of a new transmission. The odds of it breaking down somewhere on the road were too high to take a chance. We knew that renting a 15-passenger van from a company we can trust would make the most sense for us.
As we priced out different options, we quickly learned that Greenvans was head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to reliability, customer service, and price.
They gave us a reasonable quote on a brand new 15-passenger Ford Transit van rental and told us they’d be there with us every step of the way. If we were to run into any trouble with the van, they would drive a replacement out to us and take care of all the repairs in order to get us back on the road as quickly as possible. Luckily it didn’t come to that, but the peace of mind was truly priceless.
These guys don’t just rent 15-passenger vans. Greenvans is a tour van rental company. That means they know first hand how important every show is to us. Their support and customer service is one of the most important parts of this company.
Bells and Whistles Galore
The rental van itself had barely been used and was clean as a whistle. It still had that new van smell. They offered to re-configure the seats exactly how we needed. The van came with a trailer hitch so we could rent a Uhaul trailer for our gear. That made for an incredibly comfortable, quiet, and smooth ride and allowed us to pack personal items in the van while keeping our gear safely tucked in the trailer.
The large screen with built-in GPS and Apple Car-Play let us keep our phones stowed away while driving. Which is a rule we (literally) live by.
One of the low-key best features of driving such a new vehicle was that the heat and AC worked like a charm. We definitely can’t say that about our beat up old van at home. We were getting into the colder months, so the fact that we could blast the heat and have everyone be nice and toasty within a matter of minutes was a big plus when it came to our comfort on the road. Renting a 15-passenger van proved to be MUCH more comfortable than taking our own beater van on the road.
We also decided to remove one of the seats and the very back row, so we had a ton of space for our personal bags, a Yeti cooler, and the essential tour frisbee.
The State of Touring
There are so many things making touring difficult at the moment. Ticket sales are down across the board, and with that come decreased merchandise sales, so our income has taken a big hit.
Knowing that we need to tour in order to keep the band’s momentum going, we knew that we needed a reliable, safe, efficient rental van that wouldn’t let us down in the most crucial moments. We found that with Greenvans. We were surprised to learn that the final fee for their 15-passenger van was lower than all of the other companies we priced out.
The Best Customer Service
As we made our way back up through Albany, we had a question about the EZ-Pass that had come with the van, so we called our customer service rep. He picked up immediately and we ended up talking for 30 minutes as he asked all about how the shows were going and which venues we were playing.
As it turns out, he used to play in a touring band and had played some of the same venues, from Space Ballroom in Connecticut to Lark Hall in Albany. We felt like we were part of a family, rather than just another client.
Rent a Van in Providence from Greenvans Today
Touring bands will continue to struggle as the whole world recovers from this pandemic, but for bands like us there’s no such thing as giving up.
We have to keep pushing forward because we love what we do, so it’s a blessing to know that there are other people out there who believe in the power of music as much as we do. This rental van experience with Greenvans turned us into lifelong customers, and we can’t wait to get back out there again for the next run.