Buying a vehicle for your business can reduce a great deal of uncertainty. You don’t have to rely on couriers for local deliveries. You or your staff can make trips to suppliers to pick up raw goods and other needs on your schedule rather than waiting for other suppliers. However, your choice of vehicle can have a large impact on the message you share about your business. Additionally, the wrong vehicle can be quite costly over time.
Consider The Message You Want To Send
If you’re selling a service or a product that is popular with higher-income shoppers, a new car may feel like a more logical choice. You may have better luck leaning toward something a bit sporty than flashy; hauling product in a sedan can get messy while a hatchback will give you more space.
For those in industries that are a bit more sedate, consider something basic but extremely tidy. For example, the clean lines of a pearl-finish minivan or SUV may be exactly what you need to demonstrate just how efficient and cost-effective your business can be.
Do take care not to appear too flashy in your vehicle choice. Chrome bumpers, high-end wheels, and custom rims may be ideal in your personal vehicle but may appear excessive in your business vehicle. Do make sure to get a vehicle that suits the color of your logo and works well with any branding you want to put on the car.
Finally, do make sure that your windows are tinted and that your security is top-notch. If you generate one-of-a-kind objects for delivery, you don’t want to lose products to theft, broken glass, or vandalism. Encourage drivers to always park in highly visible areas with plenty of traffic to avoid your business vehicle being available to thieves who need time to browse before breaking in.
Engage In A Nationwide Search
Your business may need a vehicle that isn’t easily available in your area. For example, if you need a specialty business vehicle such as a small refrigerated truck to move baked goods or flowers, the car shipping cost may well be worth it to get a right-sized, right-purposed vehicle.
Use the same search when checking out additional security to add to the vehicle. Adding the darkest tint legal in your state may require that you buy the film from out of state and have it installed by a local professional. A “Driver Carries No Cash” or similar sign could also be extremely beneficial for the security of your employees, vehicle, and product.
Small Deliveries Vs. Large Deliveries
Carefully consider your primary need in terms of size and weight tolerance. If you’re delivering small goods most of the time, look into hiring a larger vehicle for items that are heavier or require more volume.
Large delivery vehicles can be a great investment if your business is about hauling large, heavy items. However, everything you need to keep that vehicle running will be more expensive. Carefully review your budget to make sure you can cover
- bigger tires
- a more involved drive train and motor
- more fuel
If you choose a diesel delivery vehicle, you may get twice the miles out of it and you’ll likely get a more powerful vehicle, but the maintenance costs will be much more expensive over the life of the vehicle.
Overloading a small vehicle so the shocks, brakes, and transmission fails faster is a waste of money, as is paying too much for a large, underutilized vehicle. A right-sized vehicle can help your business grow if you’re willing to run a second delivery shift.
Set A Maintenance Schedule
Work vehicles can quickly fall off the radar when it comes to washing, repairs, maintenance and storage. If you don’t have a spot to park the vehicle indoors overnight and before the weekend, you may need to create a series of lock checks to be locked by one employee and checked by two others.
Additionally, make sure that the regular maintenance is tracked on the calendar of your admin team as well as your driver. A mileage log may well be required by your accountant if you plan to claim depreciation or mileage on the vehicle. If you have a regular mechanic who helps you maintain your personal vehicles or other company tools, consider setting up seasonal reminders to keep the vehicle maintained regularly to avoid high repair expenses.
The bigger the vehicle, the more maintenance will cost and the more critical that maintenance will be. Large, heavy vehicles can be incredibly destructive if the driver should lose control due to poor repair or maintenance history.
Most new cars lose a great deal of value in the first four years. Your purchase choice will have a large impact on depreciation and the interest you pay on the total loan over time. Because the company vehicle will likely have quite a few miles on it within the first year of purchase, your options for refinancing the debt should you need to reduce the payments will not last long. If you think there is any chance that a refinance will be necessary, you will need to do so before the car has 100,000 miles on it.
Carefully review the insurance requirements in relation to your employees as drivers. If your employees do not have a good driving record, you may need to carry more insurance or put your insurance at risk. Make sure that you connect with your insurance agent before you finalize the purchase to make sure that your rates will stay manageable. Of course, if your company vehicle purchase requires a particular professional license, your insurance will need to encompass the size and weight of that vehicle.
Adding a vehicle designated for deliveries and pickups will improve your value to your clients. Managing your own pickups will reduce stress on your employees and avoid limitations on your supply chain. The right vehicle is a terrific investment as long as it keeps paying for itself.