Using a professional company or doing a DIY build

Professional vs. DIY Van Conversion

A big decision for van conversions is whether to do a DIY build or whether to get a professional to do the build for you. Some people get a professional to do the entire build, while others will do mostly a DIY build but get professionals to do just part of the build, such as electrics or plumbing. In this article, we will compare the pros and cons of using a professional outfitter for the entire build vs. doing it yourself and discuss outsourcing specific aspects of the build.


DIY Campervan

Professional Conversion

Learning Experience

You will learn a lot

Limited learning opportunity


DIY can be fun

No hands-on, may miss enjoyment. Though you are still involved in the design


Your DIY van feels special

Less personal touch





May vary based on skills

Generally higher build quality



Faster completion


Can be stressful

Less stress for the owner

Expert Advice

Limited professional input

Benefit from expert advice


Full control of design

Limited customization options

Professional Outfitter for the Entire Build

On average, a professional camper van conversion costs between $25,000 to $100,000 (excluding the van). TwoRoamingSouls did an awesome price breakdown of some of the most well-known van conversion companies in North America. You can check out their detailed blog here.

Pros and Cons of Using a Professional Outfitter

  • Pros:
    • High-quality workmanship
    • Access to specialized tools and equipment
    • Faster build time
    • Warranty and after-sales service
  • Cons:
    • Higher cost
    • Less customization
    • Long wait times (frequently over 6 months)
    • The build itself will take 3-6 months once they begin

Questions to Ask a Professional Outfitter

If you decide to go with a professional company for your van conversion, make sure to ask the following questions:

  1. Experience and Quality:
    • What is the company's level of experience in campervan conversions?
    • Can you provide examples of your previous conversion work, and do you have customer reviews/testimonials?
  2. Van Models and Designs:
    • Do you specialize in converting a particular make or model of vans, like Ford Transit or Sprinter?
    • Are the designs fixed, or can I request custom modifications?
  3. Customization Options:
    • How much flexibility do I have in customizing the interior layout, features, and materials?
    • Tell them your requirements
  4. Timeline and Backlog:
    • How long is the typical wait time before my project can begin?
    • What is the estimated completion time for a standard conversion?
  5. Payment Structure:
    • What is your payment structure? Is it a lump sum, or are there milestone payments?
  6. Warranty and After-Sales Service:
    • Do you offer a warranty for your conversions? If so, what does it cover?
    • What type of after-sales service and support do you provide?
  7. Insurance and Certification:
    • Are your conversions certified or compliant with any industry standards?
    • Can you assist with obtaining insurance for the converted campervan?
  8. Materials and Build Process:
    • What materials do you typically use for insulation, flooring, and other components?
    • Can you explain the step-by-step process of the conversion?
  9. Financial Stability:
    • Can you provide assurance of your financial stability as a company?
    • What happens if the company faces any unforeseen challenges during my conversion?

For more tips on screening a camper van conversion company, check out this video by Kristen Bor from Bearfoot Theory.

Outsourcing Part of the Build

Many people want to do mostly a DIY build but are intimidated by certain aspects. In this case, it is possible to outsource specific aspects of the build, such as:

  • Electrical System Installation:
    • Cost: Varies widely based on complexity; could range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
    • Finding Professionals: Look for electricians experienced in RV or marine systems, frequently called auto electricians. Online forums, Facebook groups, local RV clubs, or recommendations from other van builders can be good resources.
  • Propane/LPG Installation:
    • Cost: Varies based on components; could range from $500 to $2,000 or more.
    • Finding Professionals: Gas fitters or RV service centers often handle propane installations. Ensure they are gas certified and experienced in working with campervans (with minimum CITO ACOPS/STGW qualification in the UK).
  • Upholstery and Interior Finishing:
    • Cost: Depends on the complexity of the interior design and materials; could range from a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars.
    • Finding Professionals: Local upholstery shops
  • Metalwork (e.g., window, roof vent installation):
    • Cost: Typically a few hundred dollars
    • Finding Professionals: RV service centers, auto body shops, or specialized van conversion shops. For more serious body work, welders or metalwork shops with experience in working on vehicles.

When outsourcing, it's crucial to communicate your specific needs clearly, obtain detailed quotes, and ensure that the professionals you hire have experience with campervan conversions. Online platforms, local directories, and community forums can be valuable resources for finding skilled professionals. Additionally, seeking recommendations from other van builders who have outsourced similar tasks can provide valuable insights.