How to Choose the Right Vehicles for Your Business
When was the last time you reviewed the way vehicles are selected for your company? It can be tempting to continue doing things how they’ve always been done. However, taking time to reevaluate your vehicle acquisition process will have a positive impact on your business.
Choosing the right vehicle for your business doesn’t simply mean choosing the most affordable vehicle. You also need to consider the right make and model for the job, the vehicle’s total life cycle costs, and when and how you will dispose of it. When done right, standardized vehicle acquisition will save your business thousands of dollars (and the more vehicles you have in your fleet, the more the incremental savings add up!)
Which Vehicle Is Best for Your Business? Perform a Needs Analysis Using These 4 Steps
One of the first things to keep in mind is to not simply default to a vehicle you’ve leased in the past without first analyzing other options. You may no longer require the same vehicle size or upfitting, and you’ll likely be able to find an option with better fuel economy.
Business needs change over time, and you need to adjust your fleet to match them. Performing a vehicle needs analysis will help you choose the best vehicles, and help lower your total cost of ownership.
1. Where will the vehicle be used, and how much?
Begin by estimating the annual mileage of each vehicle you need. Next, consider the types of trips the vehicles will be making. Will they be short hops in a city with lots of traffic or longer drives on rural roads?
Answering these questions will help you estimate your maintenance and fuel costs, two of the largest expenses that affect total cost of ownership. This information will help you balance vehicle performance vs. fuel economy when deciding on the right vehicle for your business.
2. What (or who) will the vehicle need to transport?
If your employees will primarily use the vehicle for short trips to meet clients, a compact car or small SUV are great options. If the job requires transporting tools or equipment, a work van or work truck will be more appropriate. It’s also important to consider any upfitting a vehicle may require to perform the job effectively.
3. Will more than one employee use the vehicle?
If your company car will be shared by several employees, select a vehicle they’re all able to operate effectively. With more drivers comes the risk of more dings, so consider leasing a vehicle that doesn’t have complicated grillwork or other extras that can be pricey to repair. Some vehicles allow you to preset each driver’s seat settings, which is a great perk.
Additionally, implementing a fuel card and a managed maintenance program will help you easily manage each employee's fuel and maintenance expenses, while reducing your overall costs.
4. Will customers see your vehicle?
When your employees show up to an appointment or job using a company vehicle, its appearance contributes to the client's perception of your business. A well-maintained vehicle with your company’s branding helps foster trust while maintaining your company’s reputation.
Also, if your organization has a sustainability mandate, hybrid electric or battery electric vehicles are a great tool to lower your carbon footprint while communicating your values to the community.
Choose Factory Ordering for Lower Acquisition Costs
Once you’ve completed your needs analysis, you’ll have a clear idea of the vehicles you need to add to your fleet. The next step is actually acquiring them.
Acquiring business vehicles from a dealership can be a good option if you’re in a time crunch, but typically you'll get lower prices ordering right from the manufacturer. Manufacturers offer volume discounts, fleet pricing, incentives, and unpublished discounts that result in significant savings, which in turn lowers your monthly leasing payment.
And don't forget: Vehicle supply levels are currently much lower than usual due to decreased production and the semiconductor chip shortage. Factory ordering gives you the best chance of getting the vehicles you need to remain efficient next year.
Standardize Your Fleet With a Selector List
Developing an annual selector list will ensure standardization across your fleet, simplifying the acquisition process and allowing you to take advantage of volume discounts.
With a selector list, employees can choose their preferred vehicle from a list pre-approved by you. This allows you to plan ahead, which means reduced costs and increased chances of getting the exact makes and models you want. Employees also appreciate having their choice of vehicles, which is great for attraction and retention.
Working With Ewald to Find the Right Business Vehicles
Here at Ewald Fleet Solutions, our focus is on saving you money—up to thousands of dollars—on your vehicle acquisitions. With a roll-up-your-sleeves mentality, we work hard to find the vehicles you need, even when other leasing providers can’t. When you partner with us, you’ll also receive fleet management guidance and strategies unique to your specific requirements. You’ll benefit from a more optimized fleet, more time to focus on your business, and a healthier bottom line.
Before choosing your next vehicle, start by conducting a thorough needs assessment and creating a standardized acquisition plan. This will ensure you get the right vehicles for the job and provide you with the lowest total cost of ownership. By planning ahead, you can take advantage of factory ordering; so you can avoid paying for unnecessary features, while increasing your chances of getting your preferred vehicles.
Would you like a free, personalized cost-savings estimate for your fleet? Check out our fleet cost calculator tool underneath the author section below. It takes about five minutes to complete, and you can do it all on your own, right here on our website.