When your business relies on commercial vehicles to operate, choosing the right make and model is really a matter of choosing between success and failure. While you may be able to get the job done with a less than perfect fleet, vehicles that are too small or too costly to manage only deter your business’s growth. Choosing the right commercial vehicle is an investment in your future success. It’s a matter of saving money today, reducing wasted expenses tomorrow and maximizing output for the greatest operational efficiency.
What You Should Consider
Before you buy, make sure you have carefully considered the needs of your operations as well as your customers. It’s not just about choosing the most affordable vehicles to purchase or lease. You also have to consider the incremental costs, or how much it will run you to maintain each vehicle while it’s in your possession. Fuel, maintenance, insurance and repairs all add up, and the more demanding a vehicle is, the more it will cost to own. Incremental cost should also be weighed against a model’s projected depreciation. The minute you drive a car off the dealer’s lot, it drops in value. Will you ever be able to recoup the amount you invest in a vehicle? There will always be a loss, but it should never outweigh your gain.
Identify Your Payload Capacity
Your payload is how much weight you need a vehicle to transport to fulfill its duties. Overloading a car that is not designed to haul large cargo can result in faster wear and tear, more repairs and greater fuel consumption. This means you shouldn’t opt for an SUV when you really need a truck or a van. When calculating your payload, you should also take prospective cars’ gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) into consideration. The GVWR is the largest amount that a car can legally handle, including your payload, driver, passengers and any equipment.
Which models have the greatest safety ratings? How did they perform in crash tests? Can they be easily equipped with additional safety features that lower insurance premiums and protect drivers? You might consider investing in some AI dash cams along with your new vehicles. These are video-driven, real-time devices that monitor drivers’ performance and provide you with critical event records to prevent lawsuits and receive greater compensation for insurance claims.
Explore Both Used and New Options
While newer vehicles come with a higher initial price tag, they do cost less to operate and maintain their first few years. One of the considerations when shopping for a used car is that second-hand models may be more affordable upfront, but they may break down sooner or have hidden repair needs that cost you more in the long run. You should consider each option in line with your budget. If you operate a small business, then there are many used commercial vehicles in great condition that can save you a lot on your initial investment.
Contemplate Insurance Costs
Depending on your industry, the size of your fleet and the type of cars you own, insurance premiums will vary. Get multiple quotes before you commit to any lender; comparison shopping can save you up to 50% on car insurance, especially if you ask about any available discounts.