Need a Vehicle for your Small Business? Check Out Our Guide First
There comes a point in every small business’s growth where driving around in your personal car with product practically bulging through the roof just won’t cut it anymore. Or maybe your employees are meeting with clients halfway across the state and reimbursing them for the miles is getting too costly.
If that sounds like you, you’re probably in the market for a company vehicle. Getting a company vehicle can be a great solution for your small business, but you should definitely keep a few things in mind before purchasing your car or fleet. Check these items out.
- Mileage. Maybe the first thing that you should consider is the mileage your vehicle is going to get. When you own a company car, the price for gas is going to fall on you. You should be sure that the car you pick minimizes your gas expenditure. Unless you need a massive truck to haul stone and lumber around, spending money on a more fuel-responsible car will definitely be the way to go.
- Maintenance. Remember that you will also be responsible for maintaining your fleet. Cars break down, parts need replacement, oil needs changing, and in many states, smog needs to be checked. When on the market for a company vehicle, be sure to read up on its reliability and the price for its parts. Making sure you shop around for the most reliable car or van for your business will save you money and hassle down the road.
- Man-power. Consider that you will also likely be entrusting the use of these vehicles to your employees. While you’ve probably already done background checks and screened through interviews, you’ll still want to keep tabs on everything that happens with your fleet when its out on the road. There are great GPS fleet tracking small business solutions out there, and you should check those out before investing in vehicles for your business. This will save you tons of money, as you’ll know more about how best to optimize driving for your fleet.
- Make and model. The type of car you choose will depend a lot on the kind of business you run. If you’re sending employees to meet with values clients for office meetings, you might want something a little sleeker. If you’re hauling lumber across town, perhaps a pickup truck would best suit your company needs. If you’ve got cakes and pastries to deliver, a van would be best.
Make sure you think through all possible scenarios before committing, and remember, you might also want some diversity in the kinds of cars you’re employing. You don’t need an identical fleet if that’s not what’s best for your business.
- Marketing. Finishing off the 5 M’s of company vehicle purchasing, do not miss up on the opportunity to increase awareness of your brand by marketing through your fleet. A company car or fleet is a great way to make sure you’re known in your community. Be sure to have your cars branded with your logo, phone number, and website. This not only increases awareness of your company, but it also adds some respectability and authority to your fleet’s image.
- Legal considerations. Most states have laws that govern the ways that company cars are taxable. Be sure that you familiarize yourself with your state’s company vehicle regulations and tax codes before committing to a fleet. In most cases, this shouldn’t be a hindrance, but you should definitely see how the law factors into your own unique business situation.
- Possible alternatives. While there are tons of benefits to having branded company vehicles zooming around town, you should also consider alternative if you don’t have the capital to cover the expensive investment that vehicles can be. Mileage reimbursements can be an effective alternative while you build up the funds for a company fleet.
It may not be as convenient having your employees use their personal cars to meet clients or make deliveries, but if that’s what makes the most sense while you save up and grow, then it’s a perfectly workable alternative to keep in mind. Leasing may also work for you, and should be something you consider.