When you have the responsibility for buying a car for your company, the choice can be even more difficult than when you buy one for personal use. Whether you run your own small business or are in charge of an extensive fleet of vehicles for a larger company, the basic elements are still the same – you need to get good value for money and you have to make sure the vehicle will be up to the task.
Business professionals can find it difficult to access reliable advice on how to choose the perfect company car, simply because manufacturers and sellers can make confusing claims, which might not always be able to be taken at face value. However, the importance of having a company car revolves around issues such as reliability and money management, and these can really make a difference to a company’s bottom line.
One of the factors that has to be considered in the choice of business vehicles, is what the vehicle portrays about the company and the person driving it. Having a ‘brand’ image is important for even the smallest business these days, and often a car will be the thing that makes the first impression on a customer or client. Of course, you don’t have to have every vehicle associated with your company emblazoned in logos and advertising, but simple things such as choosing a brand-friendly color scheme can make a subtle yet important statement.
Lease or buy?
Any business expense needs to be transparent and make sound financial sense. When it comes to cars, there is a primary option that needs to be considered, and this is whether to lease or buy.
Leasing a car can allow you to have a vehicle without having the means to actually buy it outright. It can also make budgeting easier, because all costs are usually included, meaning you won’t need to worry about the extra expense of maintenance, repairs or new tires. However, it also means that you’ve laid out money on something that you don’t actually own, and is therefore not an actual asset belonging to the company. If you do decide to buy the vehicle at the end of the lease, it will ultimately cost much more than if you had bought it outright in the first place.
Fit for purpose
It is essential that you know exactly what the car needs to be capable of doing, how much mileage it will have to do, how many employees it will be transporting, and so on. Smaller cars are usually more fuel-efficient, but a bigger, luxury-brand executive car can be a necessary expense, depending on the job it is required to do. Depending on your business area of operation, you might want to make a statement by having an unusual car with lots of character.
One thing you don’t want, is a car that falls apart after minimal usage, so choosing your brand based on reputation for reliability is a good thing to do. A company car is far more likely to have to do many more miles than a domestic family car, and more than that, it is essential that ‘off the road’ time be kept to a bare minimum. So reliability really is key, and some research in this area will pay dividends.
Use a dealership
Of course, buying from a reliable dealership can make things much easier, straight off the bat. Not only does it mean you can buy with confidence, it also allows you to take advantage of professional advice that can help you find the perfect car for your unique needs.
A dealership is a business just like yours, so it will know the value of treating customers with respect, and that return custom is the basis for success across the whole spectrum of commerce. Another great reason for using a dealership with a good reputation is that you might find a pre-used car that fits the bill and saves you a lot of money in the process.
Taxes and other costs
Every country has its own rules about company vehicles and taxation, so once again looking into things a bit deeper or taking professional advice from your accountant is vital in order to avoid making a costly mistake. Things such as carbon dioxide emissions and performance-related factors can really come into play here, so make sure you know exactly what extra costs might be involved in order to abide by official regulations.