Boss Lady

Ways to save money on your business vehicle


Whether you need cars for you and your staff to visit clients, SUVs for a delivery service or luxury vehicles to transport your customers through the city in style, having the proper approach to company-owned cars can be both a critical part of your business plan — and one of your biggest expenses on the business balance sheet. If you follow some easy strategies, you can save money. As with any other vehicle purchase, leasing and looking after ongoing costs, knowing what you want and having the flexibility of the best choice can be crucial to making it affordable.

Ask the right questions

The wider the network in terms of potential vehicles, the easier you can find an acceptable deal. But just as important as the price is whether the car or cars meet your needs. Think about what your must-have has in each vehicle, and then try out every option to get a first look at the driving experience. Consider how the cars are used and who uses them. Comfort can be crucial if, for example, long distances are to be driven, while when moving furniture, the cargo space is of the utmost importance.

Compare deals from different fleet managers

If you are going to need more than one vehicle, it is useful to negotiate with fleet managers. Most car dealers have a fleet manager who supports the sale or leasing of multiple vehicles for a company. If you use the fleet manager, you get a better deal than you could secure when you walk off the road, because car manufacturers often offer discounts to those who shop in large quantities. Some also require minimum order quantities, so make sure this is part of your decision-making process. If you only need six vehicles for your delivery service, you’ll lose some of your potential savings if you focus on a manufacturer for which a company needs to buy or rent 10 cars to qualify. Don’t just make a deal with the first fleet manager you talk to. Compare offers from several, and work out which will be the best one to suit your business.

Consider the ongoing costs

When choosing the vehicle, take into account the servicing costs — and see if there are special capped-service deals available. Also consider the level of insurance and liability cost you will need. And don’t forget one of the biggest ongoing costs of all: the fuel. Further, keeping track of fuel usage itself can be a nightmare… who wants to end up with a fistful of receipts from fuel stations, or have to go through the credit card statement at tax time? This is where business fuel cards can save you money and problems — and you can shop around for the right fuel card with comparison sites such as

Know your options

Running a business vehicle — or even a whole fleet of business vehicles — is in some ways like buying a personal car: there are many additional options to consider with the car. You may be able to enter into a prepaid maintenance contract, sign an open-ended lease, or pay through an individual billing plan. Similar to buying a car, there is also a need to buy something. Different dealers can present different prices and packages, even for the same vehicle model. A few phone calls and a bit of leg work can save hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Taxes and insurance

The allocation of business vehicles can lead to headaches at tax times if your documents are not in order. In order for the vehicle to be considered to be the company’s own property, it must bear the name of the company. In order to separate business use from personal use, drivers must keep logbooks, which management often needs to remind, as personal miles are booked as ancillary benefits and personal taxation to lose. Don’t forget that you also need to take out car insurance. If you use your vehicle for business purposes, an insurance company may refuse a claim against your personal car insurance for double use.

About Karli Cowan'

Karli Cowan has for decades been one of the all-too-few women in the automotive industry, and is committed to helping women better negotiate the male-dominated industry.

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