It’s a decision most small business owners must come to eventually. Does it make sense to purchase a vehicle or vehicles with a dedicated purpose for the company? Or, is reimbursing employees for using their own vehicles to take care of company business, when possible, make the most sense? Work fleets, depending on the nature of the business, can include trucks, vans, cars and trailers and come with a lot of management requirements dictated by the size of the fleet.

As a business owner, you’re probably always looking for ways to cut overhead costs. You might not intuitively think saving money could be part of purchasing fleet vehicles, but it can be. Research is a critical first step in making that happen. A great start is to head over to Cars.com to read about potential fleet vehicles. With various tools on the site, you can estimate the cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle, explore the gas mileage and other specifications of potential fleet vehicles and find dealers near you that might work with you on pricing.

You should identify at least three dealerships to work with providing you with some leverage when it comes to negotiating. It stands to reason that if you’re shopping for multiple fleet vehicles, you stand to get a better deal from the dealership. And if you have an existing relationship with them and can call out your loyalty, you should expect a great deal. Once you’ve hammered down your price and finalized your transaction, it’s time to bring the new vehicles into the work fold.

Fleet management can be easy and very detailed depending on the nature of your business. You will need to keep clear records of maintenance schedules, work performed, fuel consumption and driver information. All of your employees that will drive the fleet vehicles will need to be listed on your company’s insurance policy. They also need to have a valid driver’s license. If you have an employee with a less than stellar driving record, it might benefit them, and you, in the long run to get them into a safe driving course before allowing them behind the wheel. Providing vehicles with which employees conduct business on your behalf comes with enormous responsibility. But, in the growth pattern of most small businesses, it becomes a necessity. Adding assets that increase your value, service and bottom line is never a bad move in business.

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