The time has come – your business needs a dedicated vehicle. Maybe, you need it to be on time for all the meetings. Or, you and your team often go on business trips to other cities. Or, perhaps, you need to move your products and equipment between sites constantly.
Buying a vehicle for your business may be your biggest investment so far. So, if the task of choosing the right model seems intimidating, it’s understandable. The best thing you can do is set aside enough time for doing your research and making a well-weighed choice.
Of course, if you have to combine your entrepreneurship with other time-consuming activities (like a full-time job or studies), time as a resource can be scarce. So, don’t hesitate to make use of the professional paper writing help by WritePaper or find other ways to make time. And once you do, here are the seven selection criteria you should start with.
Basic Principles Business Vehicle
1. Passenger & Cargo Capacity
Let’s start with the basics. The car you choose should meet your business needs. So, here are the two primary questions you should answer before posing any other ones:
- How many seats is the vehicle supposed to have?
- How much space do you need for transporting cargo?
The answers to both of these questions depend on how you’re planning to use the company vehicle. Let’s say you’ve just opened a retail business and you need a cost-efficient way to deliver your goods, for instance. In this case, you need a lot of cargo space, and having two or three seats is not a problem.
But if you need a car to go to meetings and on business trips, count your passenger seats well! While cargo space still matters in this case (you need to put your suitcases somewhere, after all), you might need to have enough space for 6-8 passengers.
2. Type & Size
With those two parameters considered, you can answer the following question. What type of vehicle are you looking for? Here are your seven main options:
- City cars have only two seats and limited trunk space, but they’re great at manoeuvering in cities;
- Sedans and hatchbacks are your traditional cars with four doors, five seats, and a trunk;
- Minivans have a larger space for passengers or cargo in the back;
- SUVs come with four-wheel drive and ground clearance to allow driving on any road;
- Pickups have an extensive open cargo bed in the back;
- Vans are designed to transport either up to 8 passengers or plenty of goods in the back;
- Lorries can be light or heavy and are meant to transport goods only.
The vehicle type will determine its size and, therefore, maneuverability. (If you’re looking for a lorry, you’ll also need a driver with a BE driver’s license.) When you consider each of the options, don’t forget about the height: it can limit parking options.
3. Drive Type
Will you ever need to drive off-road? Will you be transporting heavy cargo? Or, perhaps, it often snows heavily where you’ll be using the vehicle? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you should consider a four-wheel/all-wheel drivetrain.
In a nutshell, this drivetrain allows for better torque and traction. So, you or your driver will have a lot fewer chances to get stuck in the mud or snow. Torque and traction are also crucial when transporting heavy loads at slow speeds, especially on the way up.
If you don’t plan to be using your business vehicle outside of a city, a two-wheel drivetrain will suffice. That also rings true if the car has little to no chances of ending up in deep mud or snow, on rocky surfaces, or in soft sand.
4. Fuel Type & Consumption
Before you consider how well this or that model matches your personal style, look at the numbers. Specifically, you should compare how much it would cost you to use this or that vehicle – and fuel costs are a major part of the overall expenses.
First and foremost, the scope of operational costs will depend on the fuel type required:
- Electricity. Electric vehicles themselves are more expensive, but the charging costs are lower than refueling with diesel or gasoline.
- Diesel. It costs less than petrol, and diesel cars are more fuel-efficient. But such vehicles tend to be a bit more expensive, and new environmental regulations impose additional fees on their owners.
- Petrol. It’s generally the most expensive option, but the cars themselves are relatively inexpensive.
How do you compare fuel costs between, for example, an electric and a diesel car? Calculate the cost per 100 miles based on the fuel consumption of each model and the fuel’s cost.
5. Maintenance & Repair Costs
The true cost of owning and using a vehicle doesn’t boil down to just how much fuel you use. You’ll need to invest in maintaining your car in good condition. That can include:
- changing oil;
- replacing windshield wipers;
- switching brake pads;
- installing a new battery.
You will also need to get an MOT done every year after the vehicle turns three years old. If you don’t, you risk a hefty fine.
Besides routine checks and replacements, don’t forget that any car can suddenly break down. If your insurance plan doesn’t cover unexpected repairs, you’ll have to pay for them out of pocket.
Different models entail different maintenance and repair costs. For example, an Audi A3 will cost you around £7,500 in repair and maintenance over the first ten years. BMW 2 Series, in its turn, requires around £11,500 for the same amount of work.
6. Insurance Costs
How much insurance a vehicle will cost depends on its make and model – not just someone’s track record as a driver. In a nutshell, five criteria determine insurance rates:
- Reliability: older and used cars are deemed less reliable, so the rates will be higher;
- Safety rating: it shows how likely the vehicle is to end up in a car accident;
- Retail price: the more expensive cars will cost the insurance company more to repair;
- Engine: the bigger it is, the higher the car’s performance is – and the more likely it is to end up in an accident;
- Vehicle type: SUVs, for example, entail higher insurance rates than sedans.
Since insurance with basic coverage is obligatory, there’s no way you can avoid it. But how much it’ll cost you will depend on the type of vehicle you choose – so, choose wisely.
Different cars will have varying lifespans. Some will end up unusable after 100,000 miles; others will serve you twice as long.
When you buy a business vehicle (or a personal one, for that matter), you’ll want it to serve you as long as possible, of course. But how do you know which models are more reliable than others?
First, take a look at the warranty: it reflects how confident the manufacturer is in its creation. Then, it’s best to go online and read the reviews for this or that model. You can also use tools like TrueDelta and check out surveys like What Car’s annual one for reliability stats.
As you may have noticed, there was no mention of aesthetics as a criterion above. While looks might matter if your business vehicle is a status symbol, that’s rarely the case. The most important thing you should consider when shopping around isn’t the looks – it’s the functionality.
Besides, at the end of the day, your budget will be the main decision-making factor when it comes to choosing your business vehicle. So, split your requirements into two categories: must-have and good-to-have. This way, you’ll know beforehand what you can and can’t compromise on.