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How to Purchase NEMT Vehicles and Vans New and Used Options

Many people who use non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT) services have various health conditions that affect their choice of vehicle.  

NEMT vehicles are designed to accommodate a range of passengers, including those using wheelchairs, stretchers, or other mobility aids. For a successful NEMT business, selecting reliable and appropriate vehicles is crucial. 

This article offers tips on purchasing new or used vehicles for NEMT businesses and what aspects to pay attention to. 

Define Your Needs 

Start by identifying the specific types of vehicles your NEMT business requires.  

This decision should be based on your services, the number of passengers you typically transport, and the additional features you wish to provide. 

For example, standard vehicles are sufficient for ambulatory transportation.  

In contrast, wheelchair or stretcher transportation demands vehicles equipped with ramps or lifts, security restraints, and appropriate hookups.  

Also, consider factors like passenger capacity, fuel efficiency, maintenance costs, and overall vehicle comfort. 

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Watch Your Budget 

When considering the purchase of NEMT vehicles, pay close attention to your budget.  

Dealership financing options often carry higher interest rates than loans from banks and credit unions.  

Exploring financing options with your bank or credit union can be beneficial, as they might offer lower rates than banks to existing account holders. 

Thoroughly compare these financial options to ensure you choose your business’s most cost-effective and sustainable vehicle. 

Research Manufacturers and Models 

Once you understand the financial parameters you must work with, it’s time to do extensive research on various NEMT vehicle manufacturers and models that could meet your specific needs. 

The best way to start is by using online resources to compare features, specifications, and pricing. This will help you know what you like and don’t like and how much you can expect to pay for specific features or if they’re necessary for successful daily operations. 

As part of your research, read through multiple reviews and testimonials from other NEMT operators to see what others have experienced with specific vehicles. While every review should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s helpful to hear from people like you about their experiences with the identical vehicles you are considering. 

Still trying to decide which ones to start looking at? Popular models for NEMT operators include the Ford Transit Connect, Chevrolet Express, Ford E350, Toyota Sienna, and Honda Odyssey

Request Quotes 

To choose your NEMT vehicles, get quotes from multiple dealers.  

Focus on the total cost, including financing, delivery, and after-sales service. Ask for a complete cost breakdown covering taxes, fees, and extra charges.  

Comparing each quote will help you negotiate better deals. 

Inspect and Test Drive 

Just as you would before buying your everyday car, inspect and test drive the vehicle.  

Confirm its quality, condition, and ADA compliance. Assess its performance, handling, and fit for your specific needs during the test drive.  

Examine the engine, brakes, suspension, steering, tires, and specialized equipment such as ramps and lifts.  

Also, remember to check the vehicle’s history, warranty, and maintenance records. 

Finalize the Purchase 

After verifying the vehicle’s condition and terms, negotiate the price, financing, and warranty.  

Ensure legal compliance of all documents before signing.  

Finalize the purchase with a deposit, then organize delivery or pickup. Remember to register the vehicle, secure insurance, and get the proper license plates before using it as part of your daily fleet. 

Should you buy new or used NEMT vehicles? 

NEMT vehicles transport patients who need medical care but not emergency services. Depending on your service, they can be sedans, SUVs, vans, or buses. 

To start or grow your NEMT business, you must decide whether to buy new or used NEMT vehicles. This decision depends on various factors such as your service type, mileage, budget, and maintenance. 

Benefits of Buying New NEMT Vehicles 

To make an informed decision in your NEMT venture, it’s essential to weigh the advantages of investing in new vehicles.  

These benefits are about having the latest models and adding value to your service. 


New vehicles have manufacturer warranties that cover defects and mechanical problems for a particular time or distance.  

This saves you money and hassle on repairs and replacements and gives you peace of mind that your vehicle is in good shape and meets quality standards. 


New vehicles have the latest features for safety, accessibility, and comfort, which can improve your NEMT service.  

For example, new vehicles may have backup cameras, blind spot monitors, lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control, and collision avoidance systems, making your trips and passengers safer.  
New vehicles may also have wheelchair lifts, high roofs, power doors, and climate control, making passengers more comfortable. GPS navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, and entertainment systems are further options on new vehicles that can make your drivers and passengers happier. 

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New vehicles can be customized to fit your specific business needs, such as wheelchair lift type, seating configuration, and medical equipment installation.  
This lets you choose the best vehicle for your service type and level and adjust the vehicle to your preferences and needs. Customization can also increase the value and appeal of your vehicle and make it more competitive. 

Benefits of Buying Used NEMT Vehicles 

Buying used NEMT vehicles can be a cheaper option, but you need to be careful and do your research.  

To contrast with the advantages of new vehicles, it’s essential to explore the merits of opting for used NEMT vehicles. 

Lower Cost 

Used NEMT vehicles are much cheaper than new ones, saving you much more money upfront.  

You may also find better deals and discounts from reliable dealers, online platforms, or private sellers willing to lower the price or offer extended warranty options.  

It’s also possible to save money on financing and insurance, as they are usually lower for used vehicles. 

Better Availability 

Used NEMT vehicles may have more variety and availability than new ones, giving you more options and flexibility.  

You may also find older or discontinued models with features or specifications that are not available in new ones or may better suit your preferences or needs. 

Slower Depreciation 

Used vehicles have already lost a lot of value, meaning they lose less value over time than new ones.  

This can reduce your financial loss when you sell them. 

Drawbacks of Buying Used NEMT Vehicles 

Buying used NEMT vehicles also has some drawbacks, such as: 

Limited or No Warranty 

Few, if any, used vehicles still have a manufacturer warranty, which means that you are responsible for any repairs or replacements that are not covered by the seller’s confirmation.  

This can cost you money and trouble and make you worry about the condition and quality of your vehicle. 

Outdated Technology 

Used vehicles may not have the latest features for safety, accessibility, and comfort, which can affect your NEMT service.  

For example, used vehicles may not have backup cameras, blind spot monitors, lane departure warnings, or other modern features available on newer vehicles. 

Unknown History 

Used vehicles may have a hidden or unreliable history that includes accidents, damages, repairs, or recalls, which can affect the performance and reliability of your vehicle.  

You may not know your vehicle’s actual condition and value unless you check the vehicle history report and inspect the vehicle thoroughly. 

Want to grow your NEMT business with tech?   

Selecting the right vehicles is just one piece of the puzzle in growing your NEMT business.  

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Over the next 30 days, discover how Tobi can boost your productivity and customer loyalty. Join now and elevate your NEMT business!