At one point, many companies reach the level when they need to consider selecting staff vehicles for business use, whether it’s for the sales team, who are rarely seen in the office, for deliveries or for company executives. However, unlike buying a personal car, when we often rely heavily on emotion, purchasing the business fleet goes beyond determining the actual needs and keeping your staff happy. The best strategy is to do your research and assess all the factors that could impact the vehicle ownership. Here’s what you need to consider.
Buy, lease or rent
Although your business might simply purchase company vehicles you need, it’s good to know the alternatives to make sure you are getting the most efficient deal for your company. Rental vehicles have always been considered a costly and time-consuming option, but nowadays this option is becoming more popular, especially if considered an element of your fleet policy, combined with leased vehicles, for example. Leasing, on the other hand, is an efficient option for companies whose employees undertake regular business travel, since it provides more transparent view of total life cost of the vehicle when compared to straight purchase.
Maintenance and repair cost
Before giving a vehicle a green light, you need to consider additional costs of regular upkeep and repair. Just as with personally-owned cars, regular maintenance safeguards against larger problems down the road. This is why it’s important to gain some understanding of the cost and ease of maintenance, for example, availability of parts or proximity of authorized service centres, for a particular make, to the company seat.
In many cases, companies are looking to buy the cheapest vehicle option in order to save money, but they hardly consider whether the upkeep, insurance and the fuels cost for the cheap car will justify the low initial price. Don’t spend more money down the road, pardon the pun, just because you wanted to save money upfront. Also, be sure to consider the resale value of the vehicle you buy, since that is the question or returning some of the investment or having none. This is why the best strategy is finding an optimal value in the long run and not the lowest listed price.
The vehicle purpose
Think about what the car will be used for, who will be driving it and what distances will be covered. This will help you choose the vehicle body type, such as saloon, cargo hatch or SUV, as well as the interior specifications, or trim level. Comfort, space and ergonomics are prime factors when choosing a vehicle for longer trips. On the interior, the built-in communication systems need to allow the driver to stay in touch safely with others on the move. If you’re considering new company cars for senior sales representatives or regional managers, here you can get some ideas how high-performance, great-value cars should look like.
With great advances that have been made in automotive technology, many safety systems, which were considered extra features, are now standard, but there are also many abbreviations which you should know about, such as ESP (Electronic Stability Program), ABS (Anti-block Braking System) and AEB (Autonomous Emergency Braking). It’s important to know which safety and accident-reduction systems the vehicle is fitted with, especially since a report by UK’s Road Safety Analysis, based on incidents reported to police, reveals that although with company drivers there is significantly less chance of a substance impairment accident, commercial drivers are more likely to engage in risky road behaviour like tailgating (40% higher), fatiguing (48% higher), or making manoeuvre errors (40% higher).
What is it that you want your vehicles to say about your company when your employees pull in to meet a client for the first time? I’d bet on the environmentally-conscious, high-end service provider. Every car tells a story, so it’s important to know what kind of story you want to tell and figure out your best storyteller. A perfect example of a story told right is Los Angeles-based healthy meal delivery service NutriFit which chose Honda Fit not only because of its good cargo capacity and urban agility, but because it’s a fun, sporty car with a green reputation that carries the company logo with excellence, and as a cherry on top – it shares the company name.
Since every fleet operation is different, this list is not definite. However, if you need to select the best fleet cars for your business, you’d do best to weigh these factors against your business specifics.