Transforming an Odyssey or Element into an ideal wheelchair van can be an overwhelming experience. Not only are you making important decisions, you are also confronting hefty price tags.
Conversion is not cheap. That is not just true of Honda vehicles, either. The process involved in taking a “fresh from the factory” vehicle and transforming it into safe, smart, reliable wheelchair transportation is a major undertaking. You will be dealing with skilled professionals show use the best possible equipment--and who expect to be compensated accordingly.
Fortunately, you can do a few things to keep your bill down. Your Honda wheelchair van will never be a “steal,“ but it can feel like a bargain if you follow these recommendations.
Proper Needs Assessment
You should undergo an evaluation from a licensed professional before making a purchase. They will give you a full report of the adaptations you will need in a wheelchair vehicle. They will also talk with you about those different options and what you must have, comparing that to other options.
In some cases, that report may say you will need a ramp. Obviously, you should follow the recommendation. However, the report may leave some discretion in terms of what ramp you will want to buy. Do you really need a full power option or could you function with a spring-assisted ramp? The goal here is to select adaptations that meet your needs while avoiding overspending on those that exceed your actual needs.
Remember, the average wheelchair van may only last ten years. That means you are buying the Odyssey or Element you need now. You are not trying to “have all the bases covered” for your later years. This is not a lifetime decision.
Understanding Funding and Financing Options
You should look for every available source of funding assistance for your Honda wheelchair van. Are you eligible for a federal or state program that can help reduce costs? Did you serve in the military and follow-up on potential Veteran’s Administration assistance? Will your health insurance or worker’s compensation coverage help with the conversion bill? You may or may not find ways to decrease costs, but it is definitely worth a long look.
If you are financing, you should be certain you are getting the best possible deal on your loan. You can get financing for a Honda wheelchair van from your bank, an auto finance company, a home equity loan or a variety of other sources. You should be choosing the best option available. If you have not yet purchased your Odyssey or Element, talk with your Honda dealer. He or she may be able to bundle the price of your conversions into your auto loan.
You should do extensive comparison shopping before making decisions about your disability equipment dealer and conversion manufacturer. You do not want to cut corners on quality or safety to save money, but you do want to be sure that you are getting the best possible deal from qualified professionals.
In addition to shopping for the best deal, you should also be prepared to negotiate. Conversion prices are not etched in granite and you may be able to save yourself some money simply by negotiating. Do not assume that “sticker price” needs to be the final price your pay.
Making wise equipment selections based on your actual needs, investigating all funding and financing options and being a motivated, well-informed shopper who’s willing to negotiate can help you find the best possible deal.
With a little extra effort, you may be able to dramatically decrease the amount of money you spend on your Honda wheelchair van.