I get this question often, and my response is usually, go new!  However, there are times when buying used is a better option.  Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of buying new versus used.


1. Custom made-
Buying a new vehicle allows you to custom make the vehicle to meet your specific requirements.  You can design the vehicle around how you plan to use it.  In addition, you can determine the different options you want.  Such as, a wheelchair lift, restroom, wi-fi, generator size, gas or diesel chassis.

2. It’s brand new!- buying a new mobile medical 5
That’s right, it’s never been used by anyone else.  It’s clean and smells new.  You get to decide how you want to stock the cabinets and drawers.  No accidents, misuse, doesn’t smell funny.  No wear and tear from a previous owner.  No hidden problems the previous owner didn’t tell you about.  

Most important, you’re not buying someone else’s problem! Sometimes the used mobile clinic is not exactly what you want, and you have to spend some money to get it remodeled and updated.  The cost to remodel can vary depending upon how much needs to be done.  If you fully gut the interior and remodel with all new cabinets, appliances, and equipment it can cost well over $100,000.  You may have to buy a new generator, or buy all new tires to make sure the vehicle is road worthy.  You will more than likely need to re-brand the exterior with a graphic wrap, which can cost between $10,000-$15,000.

3. Full Warranty-
The best warranty you can get is from the manufacturer.  Chassis warranties range from 3-5 years.  Manufacturer warranties range from 1-2 years, with extended warranties available.  Typically, used mobile clinics are sold as is, and no warranty is provided.  This can lead to future expenses, so you may want to establish a repair budget.  

4. Latest features & options-
New mobile clinics have all the latest tech!  Multi-media and navigation interfaces are constantly evolving with many improvements from year to year.  Medical grade refrigerators and freezers have all the latest tracking devices.  Updated wi-fi systems use the latest technology to stay ahead and keep you connected.  Interior and exterior LED lighting is more cost efficient.You can design the interior with the latest flooring and cabinet colors.  Your vehicle will not look like it was built in the 80’s.  

5. Safety-Fuel Efficiency-
Lower EmissionsVehicle safety laws are getting more and more stringent, which makes newer vehicles safer.  Government mandates have increased fuel efficiency, and fuel costs are a major component of a vehicles total cost of ownership.  Strict EPA mandates over the past 10 years have lowered emissions.  The newest diesel chassis are cleaner burning and emit less particulate into the air.   


1. Price-
This is the biggest advantage!  A used mobile clinic is going to be less expensive.  Used mobile clinics range in size, make model and price.  Look for a newer model with low mileage and limited hours on the generator.  You may need to factor in the cost to replace the exterior graphics, the generator, tires, so take this into consideration before making an offer.

2. Insurance rates-
Insurance rates are based on the age of the vehicle, so a used vehicle tends to be less expensive.  It’s always wise to check with your insurance agent before you purchase a used mobile clinic.

3. Availability-
The used mobile clinic is ready to use and operate.  Unless you have to remodel, or make upgrades to the vehicle, the used unit is ready to hit the road.  If you purchase a new mobile clinic it can take 4-7 months for the manufacturer to build.There are many factors that go into the decision to buy a new or used mobile clinic, so it really depends upon your situation.  If you have the budget and the time, I would recommend buying new. Either way, the need to access care for your patients can be achieved by using a new or used mobile clinic.


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Mobile Clinics come in all shapes and sizes, so you must first decide what type of Mobile Clinic to build. There are many different choices, which include:

tips purchasing mobile clinic 1

Class A Bus Style or Motor Coach
C-Body Shell
Sprinter Van
Pull Trailer
Gooseneck Trailer

The most popular style is the Class A (Motor Coach) Bus Style, but Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. (USV) has the ability to build all types of Mobile Clinics.

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Your budget will determine the size, features, and equipment for your new Mobile Clinic. The least expensive option would be the Sprinter van, or a pull trailer. The most expensive would be a Semi-Trailer, with the Motor Coach style somewhere in the middle. If you are considering a trailer type product, you will need to factor in the cost of the tow vehicle.

Now that you have determined your budget you will need to determine which Mobile Clinic product meets your requirements. Say for example you have determined you have a $250,000.00 budget, and you like the Motor Coach style vehicle. You will need to make a list of what you want included such as; how many exam rooms, waiting/intake area, lab/galley, restroom, wheelchair lift (some States require this feature), slide-out rooms, Wi-Fi system. These are just of few of the features you will need to decide on for your new Mobile Clinic.

Think about where you will be taking the Mobile Clinic, and look at how much space is available to park the Mobile Clinic. Some locations may have plenty of space to set up and operate for the day, but other locations may not. This may be a factor to consider when selecting the appropriate Mobile Clinic.

Now you will need to get price quotations from a vendor or vendors. This will let you know if your budget will allow you to purchase this style Mobile Clinic.

There a several Mobile Clinic manufacturers to choose from, so do your homework and get references. Ask the vendor to provide you with a list of references, and call those people. However, make sure you ask other independent health centers that have a Mobile Clinic about their experience with the vendor they chose. You can also, check with the Mobile Health Clinic Association (MHCA) 

Most of our customers are referred to us by our customer’s, which I feel says a lot about the quality of our product and our customer service. Many of our customer’s come back to us and buy again and again.
The bigger the company is not always the best choice. The cheapest price is not always the best choice, so you really need to feel comfortable with the vendor you choose. If possible, make arrangements to visit their manufacturing facility and meet with them to take a plant tour. This will give you an idea of their quality, and give you an opportunity to discuss your design ideas.

So, you’ve chosen your preferred vendor and you’re ready to start working on the design, but don’t really know where to start. Ask your vendor for some sample designs, so you can get some ideas. Decide what you like and don’t and let the vendor know which direction you’re leaning. The vendor will let you know what parameters they must design around, and you can work together to design a Mobile clinic to meet your specific requirements.

If the vendor you chose tries to make you fit into an already existing design, and won’t work with you, then it’s time to find another vendor. You want someone that will spend the time with you to develop the design. This is a big purchase, and a vehicle that will operate for a long time, so make sure you get the customer service you deserve.

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Before you purchase your new Mobile Clinic make sure it meets with your State and local government approval. Mobile Health Clinic regulations vary from State to State. Some States don’t have regulations, but other States can have very strict requirements. Some States require licensing and certification before you can operate your vehicle, so make sure your vendor is aware of any specific requirements your State may have. Most qualified Mobile Clinic manufacturers already know the requirements for the various States, but don’t take that for granted. Again, do your homework!

Now it’s time to place your order and wait for the finished product. Typical lead time from start to finish can be anywhere between 120-210 days. Purchasing a new Mobile Clinic can be fun and exciting, so follow these smart tips and enjoy the experience!

tips purchasing mobile clinic 5

 5 Tips to start your specialty vehicle graphic design

 Now that you have your Specialty Vehicle ordered; it’s time to start thinking about your exterior graphic design. Don’t put this off until the vehicle is almost complete. The exterior graphic design process can take months to complete, so start now!

The size of the Specialty Vehicle makes for a great marketing or advertising space that will be seen by many people. It’s a big moving billboard, so take advantage of all the space this vehicle has to offer.

1. Gather Information:

If you have a logo, you will want to display it prominently. Because the vehicle is so large, the logo will need to be in high resolution. Do you want to include your website, phone number, services, or any other information that applies to your company? If so, decide where you want it and how many times you want it repeated in the design. Do you want to carry on your program’s marketing theme? Some customers prefer to keep a consistent look to that of their fixed sites.

If you have donors, or grant providers that funded the vehicle, do you want to acknowledge them? If so, you will need to determine where in the design they will be positioned. Keep in mind that your donors may want their input on the overall graphic design for the vehicle. Having multiple agencies decide on one graphic layout can be time consuming so make sure you start early. It is highly recommended that the various agencies meet to review all requirements. Other items to gather include: color theme (pantone codes) requirements, pictures, art, a message, slogan and/or tag line.

2. Get Inspired:

This is a great opportunity to showcase your company! Look around at other Specialty Vehicles, or search the web to get inspired. What look do you prefer? Some customers prefer to design a kid friendly graphic layout that is animated and includes characters. Other customers prefer a more professional look with stock photography. The age group you will service has a huge determining factor in the type of design you will implement.

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3. Select the graphic package that meets your budget and requirements:mobile graphics example 4 2

Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. offers a few different design packages. Our basic “Silver” package includes large area coverage, basic design, and high performance 3M cut vinyl.

mobile graphics example 5 2Our “Gold” package includes a large format design, high performance 3M cut vinyl with an option of combining full color 3M UV laminate vinyl graphics.


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Our “Platinum” package includes a large format custom design. This can be done by using a full color wrap, or a wrap and paint combination.

Specialty 3M vinyl is used to give a unique look or quality to the finished product.

4. Decide if you need a graphic designer:

Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. can assist you with some initial designs, but if you need more graphic design assistance and have a marketing theme, then I suggest hiring a graphic designer. I recommend you find someone with experience with large vehicle design. The graphic designer will develop a concept for you, and work closely with USV and our graphic vendor to install the final design.

5. Finalize the design:

Now that you finally have the design you love; the designer will need to provide USV with the graphic files. There are numerous ways to submit your files. Typically, we prefer to receive files via Dropbox or a similar form of third party file sharing system. Our graphic vendor prefers to work with large high resolution files to make the installed design look sharp and clean. Low resolution files tend to show up blurry and pixelated when blown up for print/installation.

After we receive the graphic files, our graphic vendor will apply the design to actual pictures of your vehicle. (both sides, and front and rear views) The design template will be emailed to you for your approval. In addition, an actual full color print will be sent to you to make sure all the colors meet with your satisfaction. If you are not sure about your pantone color requirements, our graphics vendor can match colors both on vinyl print and paint. We work hand in hand with our customers to make sure the correct color scheme and design is installed on their new Specialty Vehicle. After you give us final approval, the vehicle will be sent to our graphic company for the installation. Depending on the type of design being installed, the installation can take up to two weeks.

Wow, that was a process! A vehicle graphic design project can be challenging, but the outcome is extremely rewarding. Just imagine your design on a big, moving, high profile Specialty Vehicle.

Gas vs. Diesel:  What are the pros and cons?

Are you getting ready to purchase a Mobile Clinic, and can’t decide which chassis platform to use? Here is a brief comparison.

On average the diesel chassis will cost $30K—to $40K more than the gasoline chassis platform. This cost difference is due to a heavier engine block and a transmission that is designed to handle higher torque output. Also, the emission control equipment required on the diesel chassis adds to the overall cost. The diesel chassis makes sense if you plan to put a lot of miles on it, and plan to keep it for many years to come. Many times, this decision is based upon budget. If you have a budget that will cover the cost of the diesel chassis, then I would recommend the diesel chassis platform.

Fuel Economy:gas or dieselIt is estimated that diesel engines deliver 40% better fuel economy. However, this gap is narrowing. One advantage to gas is the availability at every fuel station.

Long Term maintenance advantage goes to diesel engines, which require up to 5 times fewer oil changes and have 50% fewer parts to maintain and replace. Short Term maintenance advantage goes to gasoline engines, which have an advantage due to extended service intervals on spark plugs, engine oil and antifreeze.

Government regulations are strict for both gas and diesel engines. Both EPA and CARB have issued strict emission control requirements on diesel engines. These engines have particulate filters and urea injection systems. The urea injection system requires Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). The DEF is stored in a separate tank and refilled as needed. The emission control systems do add to the overall cost of the diesel chassis.

Durability:gas or diesel 2
The average gasoline engine has a duty cycle of around 200,000 miles; the average diesel engine has a duty cycle of around 300,000 miles. Gas engine exhaust is more corrosive than diesel engine exhaust, which means the diesel engine exhaust system will outlast the gas engine exhaust system. Vehicles with diesel engines often command higher resale value.

Other factors to consider when deciding between a gasoline chassis platform or a diesel chassis platform for your new Mobile Clinic include:

Generator: The 12 KW Onan Quiet diesel generator is sound dampened and much quieter than the gas generator option. To review the generator options, please visit

Wheelbase: The gasoline chassis has limited wheelbases, and restricts us from building over 37’.

Payload: The gasoline chassis is lighter weight, which allows more payload capacity. There are many factors to consider when deciding between a gas or diesel chassis, but the bottom line is usually the cost. These comparisons can apply to any Mobile Specialty Vehicle purchase decision.

Links to see the various chassis platforms we use:

F-53 Model:

                   Diesel Chassis Mobile Clinic                                             Gas Chassis Mobile Clinic

diesel mobile health vehicle

 gas mobile health vehicle

Blog Author: Mary Hall - Universal Specialty Vehicles Inc.


Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. has long been at the forefront of emerging technologies and advancements in the realm of custom built mobile units. Our recent embrace of the Meganite anti-bacterial countertop system and bio-diesel chassis have shown that the company fully plans on adapting to the ever changing environmental, technological, and ergonomic landscape of the “mobile” world.

As such, Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. has recently added the Sprinter Van, Dodge’s customizable van-style vehicle, to its ever-increasing list of customer vehicle options. In addition to the more traditional motorized platform that Universal has long offered to its customers, the “Sprinter” allows our customers to opt for a more intimate, accessible, and urban vehicle that can easily be deployed in a hustle and bustle urban environment or a rural setting composed of long distances from destination to destination. The “Sprinter” represents the evolution of the custom mobile unit world not only for Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc., but for our customers as well.

Currently, Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. has had the pleasure of adapting a number of Sprinter Vans for our valued customers. The City of Azusa, California approached Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. with the challenge of completely customizing their already purchased Sprinter Van into a functional bookmobile which could be easily dispatched throughout their urban area. Until that point Universal had not had an incredible breadth of experience in adapting and customizing such an intimate vehicle.

However, we were undaunted by the challenge. Universal’s “Sales” and “Engineering” teams quickly worked to create a workable solution to customizing the vehicle that would provide the City of Azusa with the utmost in comfort, utility, and ergonomic design. The end-result was a vehicle that was more intimate than Universal’s traditional “Class-A” style vehicles, but retained our hallmark levels of beauty and functionality.

Our experience with the City of Azusa, though, was far from our last encounter with the Sprinter Van. Since that time, Universal has started and/or completed construction and customization of Sprinters with the County of Orange’s Resources and Development Management Department and the San Ysidro Health Center. Each specific customer brought to Universal a unique set of goals, challenges, requests, and desires in relation to their customization of their individual vehicles; and as with all of our customers, we have striven to achieve those goals, follow through on those requests, and meet those challenges and desires to the greatest extent possible. An outdoor awning? Done. An exterior flat screen television portal? Not a problem. Universal will strive to meet any request that our customers may have.

And, as with almost everything in today’s society, that’s not all. Universal is currently working tirelessly to expand our Sprinter Van customization options, so that we can easily adapt the vehicles for bloodmobile work, mobile veterinary work, and a litany of other mobile vehicle options. The options are only bounded by what our customers desire. And as such, Universal will continue to provide our customers with the most technologically advanced, functional, and affordable options that are at our disposal.


Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc. partners with the City of Chino Hills to create an interactive community recreation vehicle.

Over the past decades the State of California—and the United States, as a whole—has seen children shying away from outdoor activities and craft making. All too often children would rather spend half an hour with Spongebob Squarepants than coloring, reading, playing a board game with friends, or just running around the local park.


The Recreation Department of the City of Chino Hills has sought vigilantly to curb this alarming trend. The department has introduced youth-oriented activities including cooking courses, speech and debate programs, clay sculpture workshops, and even courses in learning Mandarin Chinese. All of these programs have been designed to ensure that children will remain engaged in their community and the services it offers, and more importantly, that those children will remain intellectually challenged and engaged during a period of the year when almost all of us are content to simply take a “brain nap.”

The department’s efforts to achieve the above-mentioned goals culminated in the”Rollin’ in the Hills”  Chino Hills Exterior mobile recreation unit. Collaborating with Universal Specialty Vehicles, Inc., the city was able to create a mobile unit that has traversed the community providing children and parents with an escape from the endless drone of TV. The unit, a retrofitted delivery vehicle, can store enough activity equipment so that a large number of children can engage in, according to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, “free play, team sports, arts and crafts, group games, snack time, and a nutrition lesson.”

Now, this may seem no different than an ordinary, run-of-the-mill daily camp schedule, but by creating a mobile unit that can store the equipment necessary for those activities, Universal helped allow the city to bring those day camp activities to children who may not have convenient access to such opportunities.

In addition to those camp activities, the unit is also equipped with a chino hills wiiNintendo Wii, for engaging, physically active video games; and can store the equipment necessary for summer water games, such as “sponge tag and Duck Duck Drip.” The department is also working on a set of initiatives and possible activity schedules that will allow the unit to operate year round; the creation of homework tutors will assist children as they grapple with schoolwork during the fall, and a number of other activities during the spring will ensure that children engage in physical activities almost year-round.

All of these aspects of the unit, combined with the staffing provided by the Recreation Department, can help children do what is most important during their formative youth: remaining active and intellectually stimulated. Universal Specialty Vehicles is proud to have been able to collaborate on a project with such far reaching effects on local communities, families, and most importantly, the children who will grow to be the future leaders, doctors, police officers, firemen, and enigmatic business leaders of our future America.


DOVER, N.J., July 1 /PRNewswire/ — Zufall Health Center, a federally qualified health center operating in northwestern New Jersey, today launched the nation’s first eco-friendly mobile medical unit.

The Highlands Health Van will bring urgently needed, affordable health care to low-income, mostly uninsured residents of Hunterdon, Warren and Sussex counties. State and local officials commemorated the launch at a ribbon cutting ceremony in Flemington.

Designed to provide primary and preventive medical services to adults and children, the 37-foot van has been customized to be the “greenest,” healthiest and most efficient vehicle of its kind.

“Our health van gives us the ability to serve a rural population — particularly those laboring in local agriculture — whose income, long work hours and lack of transportation have made quality health care unattainable,” said Eva Turbiner, president and chief executive officer of Zufall Health Center. “By taking our services on the road, we felt a tremendous responsibility to provide a mobile treatment setting that was healthy for patients and our staff while minimizing any adverse environmental impacts.”

Highlands Health Van’s “green” mission was achieved by incorporating features that address energy efficiency, indoor health, water conservation and sustainability. Powered by a biodiesel engine, the van was built using many recyclable and/or naturally grown materials, a first for a community health van. Highlights include:

  • 10 rooftop solar panels to produce and store electricity
  • Cabinetry, paints, wall-and-floor coverings to have low-to-no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), natural microbial resistance and/or Forestry Stewardship Council certification
  • Foot-controlled faucets to minimize water consumption
  • Greywater recycling systems to maximize water utilization
  • Naturally grown materials that are plentiful, renewable, or recycled
  • Building supplies and components responsibly manufactured

According to the van’s manufacturer, Universal Specialty Vehicles of Perris, Cal., the “green” factor was considered in the selection of every component.

“We made a ‘green’ decision wherever we could, as long as the product was proven to hold up over time and could withstand the rigors of the road,” explained Andy Hall, the company’s president.

Nation’s First Eco-Friendly Mobile Health Van Launched by New Jersey Non-Profit Health Center

At a cost approaching $300,000, the van was funded by a grant from the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. Additional funding to help support its first two years of operation was provided by primary sponsor Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., a New Jersey-based global pharmaceutical company.

“Governor Corzine and I are proud that our state is supporting this health and environmental initiative,” said Heather Howard, commissioner of health and senior services, New Jersey. “For many years, Zufall Health Center has been meeting the health care needs of the under-served. This van represents an exciting, creative and valuable way for the center to expand its reach.”

“This van will provide thousands of people with critical health-care services,” said Daiichi Sankyo, Inc. chief executive officer Joseph Pieroni. “It’s not enough to just tell people to ‘get healthy,’ we need to help ensure that they have access to the tools, resources and information to help them make appropriate behavior changes that can help them prevent and manage many of the chronic illnesses that are affecting millions of Americans each year, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.”

Resembling a standard doctor’s office, the Highlands Health Van will house two examination rooms and an intake/waiting area. Staffed by a nurse practitioner, a medical assistant, and a patient representative, it will operate six days a week, making regularly scheduled stops in each county. It is expected to treat nearly 5,000 patients with more than 7,000 visits in its first two years. Patients will receive care regardless of their ability to pay.

Both Hall and Turbiner believe this pioneering vehicle will be a model for the future.

“With a project like this, you are investing in more than the long-term wellness of patients and staff,” Turbiner noted. “It’s making our whole community a ‘greener,’ healthier place.”


Zufall Health Center, headquartered in Dover, New Jersey, is a state-licensed, not-for-profit, private community health center providing low-cost medical treatment to the underserved. Founded nearly 20 years ago as a volunteer clinic, it now operates three facilities offering primary health, dental, and mental health services to communities in Morris, Sussex, Hunterdon, and Warren counties. For more information, visit

Daiichi Sankyo Inc., headquartered in Parsippany, New Jersey, is the U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd., which is a global pharmaceutical innovator. For more information, visit

Universal Specialty Vehicles, headquartered in Perris, California, is a manufacturer of custom-built, custom-designed mobile medical, command, and specialty vehicles. For more information, visit

SOURCE Zufall Health Center