Buying a business car is a process that it is vital to get right. For many enterprises they are an expensive but often essential overhead, and it’s important to choose a business car which helps drive your business forward rather than leave it close to a breakdown. But where do you start? With a myriad of makes, models and means of purchasing, it might be a little bewildering particularly when an entrepreneurs’ mind is likely to be preoccupied more with running their business than running a car. But the same principles apply as if you were buying a vehicle for personal use, you need plenty of research, and spend time weighing up of the options available to you. One of the first choices to make is whether to buy brand new business car or go for the used car option because there are a number of advantages and disadvantages with both. Most obviously a new vehicle is going to cost you more, but is also likely to depreciate in value quickly and you may have to wait before driving it away.
Alternatively, going for a car straight off the production line means you’ve got the security of a manufacturers warranty, support from the dealer and you can pick exactly what you want in terms of specifications, colour and optional extras. Choosing your business car
Whichever route you choose to go down you also need to consider which make and model will suit you best and again there is a bewildering array of options. For example if you are going to be travelling alone to visit clients and rather than lugging about huge boxes of equipment or products then it makes sense to think small and go for a hatchback for example. On the other hand if you’re going to be zooming up and down the country, maybe you would prefer to travel in a bit more style, a saloon model might be preferable. But be careful if you find yourself being tempted to go too executive. Whilst it might be true that a salesman shouldn’t turn up on a bike, driving around in a business car that is too flash is not always going to impress, and instead could leave your clients thinking they’re paying you too much. And of course personal preference also comes into play as there’s no point buying you business a mini if your sales rep is six foot seven! Research
The key to coping with all the choice available is research. The worst thing you can do when buying a new business car is be influenced by a pushy salesperson, or a desperate private seller, or buy a car simply because you like the music in the advert!
There is a wealth of information out there through magazines, the internet and on TV, and manufacturers will mail out brochures complete with specifications, so there’s no excuse for not having the facts at your fingertips. For business purposes the most important things to be looking at, apart from the overall price, is going to be miles to the gallon and insurance group not how quickly it accelerates from 0 to 60mph. Real cost of motoring
Aside from the initial purchase the biggest cost of a car, and particularly a new one, will be depreciation – the amount of value your car loses as it get older. The depreciation rate will be the steepest during the first year of ownership and cars lose pounds literally as soon as they leave the showroom. The depreciation rates do differ from car to car, with the value of mass-produced models dropping quicker than more prestigious makes. As a general rule, first year depreciation is halved for the second and third years, so a car could lose 30 per cent of its value in the first year, then 15 per cent and then 15 per cent again. After three years the rate does tend to level out.
Before you make a purchase it’s also worth working out things such as fuel costs and how much servicing repair and MoT tests are likely to set you back on a yearly basis.