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A Contractor's Guide to Picking Fleet Vehicles

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If your contracting business has reached the point where you are considering purchasing or leasing a fleet of vehicles, congratulations! You have already built a successful business and now you are planning to grow even more. When choosing vehicles for your fleet, there are several things that you will need to consider. Below are just a few examples:

Budget:

Budgeting for any business expense is hard, and budgeting for your vehicle fleet is no different. Some of the costs that need to be considered when budgeting for your vehicles are the payments for the loan or lease, insurance, fuel, and maintenance.

Deciding whether you should buy or lease the vehicles is also a major budgetary concern. Generally speaking, lease payments are smaller than loan payments, so you might be able to afford a nicer car or truck if you decide to lease. However, there are some reasons that leasing might not be ideal for your specific set of circumstances. For example, some lease contracts put a limit on how many miles you can travel in the vehicles a year. Another factor in determining whether to lease or buy is how often you plan to replace the vehicles in your fleet. If you plan to use them for a long time without replacing them, buying will almost definitely be the better option. There are also tax issues to be considered when choosing whether or not to buy or lease. If you are looking for a digger for just one job, then looking for digger rentals is the wiser choice than buying. Be sure to discuss these with your accountant before making your decision.

Maintenance:

Are you able to perform maintenance on the vehicles in-house? Even if you have the capability to do so, will it be worth it? These are two important questions to know the answer to before choosing vehicles for your fleet and if the answer to either is no, then you need to know who is going to be responsible for the maintenance of the vehicles. Can the dealer or manufacturer of the vehicles perform maintenance and repairs? If so, do they have a footprint in all of the places where the vehicles will be used? Do they offer some type of warranty or service contract to keep the price of maintenance and repairs reasonable? If you cannot perform the maintenance in-house or if services offered by the dealer or manufacturer aren’t reasonable, then you will have to look at third-party options.

Size:

The size of vehicles you need is going to be an important consideration when choosing vehicles for your fleet. Things to consider when determining what size vehicles you need will be how many people will they need to be able to carry at a given time and how much cargo will they need to be able to haul. There are some vehicles it’ll make sense to buy, but for some that are too large to safely store or perhaps you won’t use more than a couple times it makes more sense to rent them for the job.

Fuel Economy:

Whether you are choosing a vehicle for personal or business use, the cost to fill up the tank is always going to be a top consideration. Remember, gas prices are always fluctuating, and even at times when they are relatively low, they can skyrocket at any moment so buying vehicles that can get the job done while using the least amount of fuel possible is key. You may also want to consider alternatives to gas vehicles, such as hybrids, but remember, hybrids may not perform as well in some situations.

Safety:

It may sound cliché, but the people that work for you really are your most valuable asset. For that reason, keeping them safe while they’re at work is your top priority. That is why making sure that your fleet vehicles have all the necessary safety features is crucial.

Technology:

What technology your vehicles will need to be equipped with should also be taken into account when choosing fleet vehicles. Will your employees need a wireless internet connection or Bluetooth while on the job site? Another type of technology any fleet owner will want to consider is fleet tracking. Not only does this help you keep an eye on your team and if they are where they are supposed to be, it can also help with diagnostics if something needs to be repaired and can keep virtual maintenance logs.

Image:

Image is perhaps one of the most overlooked considerations when choosing vehicles for your company’s fleet, but it is an important consideration nonetheless. When choosing your vehicles, you want to make sure they represent your company in a positive light and in a way that is consistent with what your company does. If done right, your vehicles can be a major part of your company’s branding efforts.

Employee Feedback:

If the vehicles you choose will also be used by others within the business seek out their feedback as well, especially if they will the main users of the vehicle. They may have ideas and concerns that you overlooked and can provide invaluable insight.

In conclusion, while purchasing a fleet of vehicles is an exciting opportunity for any business, you must take the time to consider a variety of factors before choosing vehicles for your company fleet. If you do your due diligence, you can build a fleet of vehicles that will help your business grow for years to come.

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