Buying a car is a big deal, and the vehicle you purchase will say a lot about you and your business. Whether you’re buying for a solo business or you need a small fleet to keep your employees on the move, the decision of which model to buy can be a difficult one.
When selecting a new (or new to you) vehicle for your small business, think about how the following options will affect your business: size, engine power, mileage and fuel type, reliability, price and resale value.
What will it take to meet your needs?
Determining whether you need a compact car or a minivan won’t be the hard part. But deciding on a specific make and model might prove to be more difficult. Before you buy, figure out how many people your vehicle will need to carry. Then determine what kinds of cargo will need to be transported in the vehicle. Will you or your employees be carrying equipment or tools? Measure your largest items to make sure they fit.
Construction company owners and flower shop owners have very different needs when it comes to engine power in a company vehicle. Consider the terrain where the vehicle will be used, and assess the items you’ll need to haul or tow. Buy a car, van or truck that’s up to the challenge.
Mileage and Fuel Type
Gasoline? Diesel? Hybrid? Electric? We all know that the price of fuel is a huge factor in the cars we decide to buy. Do the math before you buy and estimate how much the car will cost you to operate during the course of the year based on your average mileage and the estimated cost of fuel.
Go with a manufacturer that has a reputation for making reliable cars with a durable design and an acceptable safety rating. From paint to upholstery to the transmission, you want a vehicle that’s going to last a while. Read up on consumer reviews and test drive your vehicle to determine which models are least likely to cost you a fortune in repairs and lost time down the road.
The sticker price of a car or truck isn’t your only problem. Think about the long-term costs associated with routine maintenance, labor, and parts. It’s a guarantee that it will cost you more to change the oil on a Mercedes-Benz than a Chevy. Purchase a vehicle that will fit your budget now and later. And don’t forget to get competitive bids from several dealers — particularly if you’re planning to buy more than one car.
How long do you plan to keep your company vehicle? While you might be content to drive your personal car until it gives up the ghost, you probably want your company car to reflect more favorably on your business. The car with the better resale value is the better choice.
Buying your company car on a whim could prove to be a painful and costly decision. Weigh all of the options carefully before you sign on the dotted line!