Small businesses need things like ingenuity, hard work, and drive. Sometimes, they also need drive in a literal sense. Cars, utes and other vehicles are the lifeblood of a lot of small businesses, from plumbing and electrical contractors to private IT and customer service consultants. And if you don’t have access to those vehicles, you may be doing your business a disservice – either in the short or long term.
When we talk about a fleet for small businesses, we mean a set of cars which you and your employees can use to get around and get things done. Of course, not every business needs a fleet, so ask yourself the following questions first:
- Do I do a lot of driving as part of my business?
- Do I need specific things from my vehicle, other than just getting me from A to B?
- Am I thinking of hiring more people to help me do my job in the future?
If you’ve answered yes to those three questions, you should consider the benefits of a fleet. Motor dealers offer significant discounts on fleet car purchases (it’s like buying in bulk at your supermarket) and you’ll also get a fair number of other perks including tax deductions for repairs and fuel. Having a fleet also acts as an incentive for new employees, since they won’t have to use their own car to do their job. And it means you can standardise what model your employees use, which not only helps the professional image but also cuts back on management and maintenance costs.
If you do need a fleet, what next? First, decide what model you want to go with. That’ll depend on everything from what your business does to where you and your employees live. A business doing consulting in the Melbourne CBD would probably not want a fleet of SUVs, for example. Things to keep in mind include fuel efficiency, size, and capacity.
Next is financing the fleet. That entails a pretty significant expense, so you may want to consider taking a loan on some or all of the vehicles. You can use the interest on this loan to claim back on your business tax return, so it’s not as risky as taking a loan on your personal vehicle. If you want car loans, WA and NSW are going to be pretty much the same, although interstate businesses may be able to “shop around” for slightly more competitive deals.
Finally, make sure your fleet has a solid insurance policy and maintenance options to back it up. Chances are you’ll need them at some point or another, and you don’t want your fleet going offline due to a lack of paperwork. That way, business as usual can stay on the road.
Sarah Paige is a car enthusiast and a self-proclaimed expert in the motoring field. If you’re in the market for vehicles for your small business, consider shopping around for car loans. WA has plenty of experts to help finance your new vehicle.