As a fleet business owner, you have to upgrade your vehicles on a regular basis. This could be because you want to move on to using larger vehicles, you have taken on more clients or because you want to upgrade your fleet to look more modern and professional. Whatever the case, you will need to know what to look for in your new vehicle.
When you apply at a financial institution for any transport financing options, such as finance for trucks, buses or trailers or even aviation finance, you will need to have a vehicle in mind to discuss with the bank or lender. This way, they can provide an accurate interest rate and repayment amount. And you will be able to budget your finance accordingly. If you are looking to buy a new fleet vehicle, read on below for tips on what to look for.
What will it be used for?
An important aspect to consider is what the vehicle will be used for. Now, this might sound simple, but it is an aspect that is often overlooked by many fleet owners. You need to have an idea in mind about what the vehicle will be used for before you can go to a dealership.
Look at what types of supplies you will be carrying, the volume of supplies you will be carrying, and the types of terrains you will be driving over. For example, if you are a boutique courier agency, a medium-sized van is perfect for moving packages from one province to another. But if you are going to be moving large objects, such as furniture or equipment, you will need to find a truck with a large trailer to fit the load.
Keep your budget in mind
Having a budget to stick to is important for any large financial purchase, especially a fleet vehicle. If you only have the budget for a medium-sized van, you will be less tempted to look at larger trucks. But you also need to take into account what you will be transporting, as this will dictate the size of your vehicle.
You can draw up your own budget or you can speak to a financial adviser for help. Start by looking at your income after deductions, as well as regular expenses such as petrol, maintenance and services. Once you have created a budget, you can send in your finance application. You should account for sales taxes and other fees as well as include VAT so that you are not caught unawares and come up short.
Consider all specification options
You might have a very definite picture in your mind about what you want in a fleet vehicle. And while this is great, it can be difficult to find the exact vehicle when using transport financing options. You will need to look at all viable alternatives to find the right vehicle.
You should avoid only looking for brand-name specific vehicles, as these can be costly and could be limiting with their features. Instead, have a list of needs and wants for the vehicle, such as safety features, comfort, a body that is in excellent condition and the ability to brand it easily. Being open to different vehicles is the key to a successful fleet vehicle purchase.
Ask for a test drive
Test driving the vehicles is important for any vehicle purchase. You need to know how they handle different situations such as heavy traffic, bumpy roads and even highways. You could speak to the dealer and ask them to allow you to bring your drivers along for a test drive.
If your drivers find any issues in the vehicle, such as a lack of comfort in the driver’s seat, noises in the engine or a lack of visibility in the rearview and side mirrors, you will need to consider a different vehicle. It is important not to simply choose a vehicle based on name brand or how it looks. You need to know how it drives and if there are any issues that could affect it in the future.
Think about customisation
Once you have gone for a test drive and decided on the vehicle, you will need to think about customising it. After all, branding is vital to any fleet or transport company. It is how your brand is seen by the world, and it needs to be done right. And the type of vehicle can affect this.
First of all, you will need to be sure that your employees are given the right vehicle for the job. Seeing someone driving a small van to deliver a huge load will make your company look unprofessional, as will using large bus trailers to carry minimal cargo. You will need to be sure that the vehicle can be customised without voiding the warranty, so be sure to discuss this with your lender before you go ahead and order your vinyl stickers.
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