Considering getting a company car? Find out if getting one or two makes sense for your business, and find out when it really doesn't.
The American dream used to be a corner office, with a company car and your own home. Today that dream is changing.
The “gig-economy” has outpaced traditional job growth and the things that get the attention of potential employees are things like telecommuting, generous vacation policies and the flexibility to work on their terms, but could a company car still make sense for your company?
We explore the question below.
Start-Ups and Company Cars
For a start-up, a company vehicle almost never makes sense. If you’re a lean, mean market fighting machine, why would you want to add the expense of a vehicle onto your balance sheet?
After all, the point of starting up and growing market share is to keep costs low so that you can avoid passing additional costs onto your customers.
There’s one exception to this general rule. If you need to make local deliveries, or you’ve done the math and having a vehicle wrapped with your company’s branding makes sense from a guerrilla marketing standpoint, a company vehicle for a startup might make sense.
But you really need to crunch the numbers to be sure that it makes dollars and sense.
One of the ways that many companies effectively brand their vehicles is with wraps that include information about their services, along with an easily identifiable logo.
In addition, I’ve seen some companies become incredibly creative with custom, branded license plates that they order at sites like CarReg.
Using Technology to Manage a Corporate Fleet
If your company is larger, or deals primarily in logistics for other organizations, purchasing company vehicles may be unavoidable. You’ve done the math and company cars or vans make sense.
Now what? Well, how are you going to manage those vehicles and make sure they’re only being utilized for company business?
Sure, you could trust your employees, but come on, chances are extra trips are going to be made and your company is going to be stuck with the bill for gas, maintenance and wear and tear.
So avoid the hassle of extra operating expenses and use a GPS tracking system to stay on top of your vehicles. Review the data from time to time and make sure that your vehicles are only being used for approved purposes.
Related Article: Boom or Bust? The Impact of an Economy Driven by Startups
The worst thing that could happen to your company is the PR nightmare of a major accident caused by one of your drivers.
While self-driving cars aren’t too far off in the distance, today you’re stuck with basic prevention as your first line of defense against accidents.
To start off, have your company’s drivers attend a vehicle safety course. This will show that your company takes safety seriously, and hopefully your drivers will learn a thing or two.
This will come in handy in case, God forbid, one of your vehicles ends up in an accident and someone else gets hurt.
The logo on the side of your vehicle can be a legal target for those looking for a quick buck using the judicial system.
There are technological advances that can also minimize your risks and lower your fleet’s operating costs. Beyond the tracking systems I mentioned earlier, there are engine regulators that will keep your vehicle from exceeding a safe speed.
In the U.S., most of these systems stop company vehicles from exceeding 55 miles per hour. Similar technology is in use in Europe and abroad. You can configure these systems based off the needs of your company to help compensate for your driver’s lead foot.
Aerodynamic Fuel-Saving Technology
If you’ve spent any time on the highways and byways, a funny shaped truck or two probably caught your eye. No, that 18 wheeler isn’t wearing a superman cape.
The extra fins and aerodynamic ramps, commonly referred to as, “TrailerTails”, actually help companies maximize their miles per gallon.
The way the air is impacted and then sliced through by both the truck and trailer have a direct impact on the amount of work an engine has to do to keep moving forward at a high rate of speed.
Depending on the distance and speed travelled, these aerodynamic after-market systems can save your company thousands of dollars.
Related Article: The Curious Case Of Startups: How to Spot the Failures and Successes
Automotive Technology Meets Intelligent Accounting
For startups, a vehicle probably doesn’t make sense. Keep those extra costs off your books and pass on the savings to your future clients.
A vehicle can help with marketing, but only in high-density markets that allow a company vehicle to serve multiple purposes.
If you do decide to go all-in and pick up a company vehicle or two, take advantage of modern technology to keep track of your assets on the road.