Choosing Your Fleet Cars

Any fleet manager will know that there are some fantastic deals out there for those with the budget to buy between fifteen and five…

Image of Audi Car FleetAny fleet manager will know that there are some fantastic deals out there for those with the budget to buy between fifteen and five hundred cars at any one time. Almost all the big car manufacturers offer ‘bulk buy’ packages which vary from purely sales and delivery to full fleet management. However, deciding which brand of car you’re going to go with and then determining the specific orders can be quite a challenge, particularly if you’re buying communal or pool cars. So what factors should be influencing your decision to buy?

Your Budget, Their Price

Price is critical to any fleet manager’s decision; therefore your budget calculations will be the constraining factor on what cars you can have in your fleet. A budget should be calculated based on your needs, be as long-term as possible and factor in costs such as repairs and fuel in order to properly determine what you can afford.

You should also remember that many fleet hire purchase companies can be flexible on their pricing in order to meet your needs. As their products are usually variable, it might well be that there’s some room for leeway if you really need to cut down on costs. Good negotiation is key, but remember that things can only go so far and at some point you might just need to find a different supplier.

What Type of Vehicles do you Need?

If you’re a provider of specialist building work then your decision as to what fleet vehicles you need is going to be more or less obvious: you need vehicles which can help you get your work done. However, for other businesses it’s not always so simple, as all you will generally require is vehicles which are reliable and efficient.

If this is your situation, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Almost every major car brand has a number of different vehicles on their books, which is why you’ll have to get specific. Will super-economical hatchbacks do, or do you need to be carrying four or more passengers at a time?

The Value of Prestige

If your business involves carting around clients then there is definitely something to be said for the prestige of particular brands of cars. This is especially important in the luxury markets, and obviously high-end brands such as Mercedes, BMW or Jaguar are going to hold an appeal for your clients.

However, don’t presume this value will also translate internally into your business. While the directors may enjoy taking the Jaguar out, it might not be worthwhile from a cost perspective. On the other hand, a pool of attractive cars can actually be very motivational if they’re available to all employees once in a while for a special holiday or a big business trip.

Reliability and Resale Value

On top of prestige, you’ll want to consider how reliable your brand is. Of course, this is practically impossible to predict, but it’s something that’s worth reading up on. One of the best guarantees of reliability is to take out a comprehensive warrantee, along with a good motor fleet insurance policy. This means that whatever brand you choose, you’ll always be covered if something goes wrong.

Secondly, consider the resale value of your vehicles if you’re looking at working on a hire-purchase agreement. This can drastically affect what you pay in real terms over the course of your fleet agreement, as an expensive car which holds its value can actually be cheaper than an initially cheaper one that doesn’t.

Mixed Fleets

It’s also important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to stick with just one brand, and many fleet managers work with a couple of fleet providers to build up a mixed fleet. This can be ideal if you’re just starting your fleet and want to try out a few brands before committing long-term, but it can also give you access to different grades of car. However, it’s crucial to remember that you’ll need to keep a mixed fleet more or less separate, and you may also need two or more different usage policies. This can be done by separating them by employee grades, locations or primary use.

Choosing your fleet cars can be very exciting, but remember there’s no decision which sticks forever. The beauty of a motor fleet is that you can easily adapt it should the vehicles you already have aren’t quite working out, so don’t be afraid to really bargain for what you need. It’s a buyer’s market out there in the fleet car world!

Photo by Mike Roberts / CC BY-SA 2.0