Getting a company car is a rewarding experience. If you’re the boss, it’s a sign that you’ve reached a certain level of success — and if you just happen to be covering a lot of ground for your job, it’s a practical investment and proof that you’re trusted with a major expense. But there’s no shortage of vehicle options on the market. What should you choose?
Whatever you pick may well be a big part of your life for years to come, so you need to mull it over and make the right call. You certainly shouldn’t be going for the first shiny car you see and crossing your fingers that it happens to work out. Being smart will lead you to a company car that makes your working life significantly easier. Here are some tips for doing just that.
Take fuel and maintenance expenses into account
Any fleet-based business worth its salt makes every effort to keep fuel-related costs down, handing out fuel cards (see iCompario) to access reduced corporate rates and using software to plan efficient journeys. There’s simply never any point in spending business money when it can be avoided, regardless of how much profit you’re making.
You need to do the same when choosing a company car. Fuel economy isn’t something to take lightly, and it varies wildly from car to car, being affected by fuel type, engine type, engine power, and many other design factors. And then there’s the thorny matter of maintenance costs. Getting a company car with an air-conditioning system known to break down semi-regularly is going to be both impractical and expensive.
Consider how your reputation might be affected
If you’re the head honcho and you really want that glossy sports car with ludicrous horsepower, stop to consider how it’ll look. Maybe you want to look indulgent, in which case that’s fine, but it’s more likely that you want to look professional and respectable — in which case taking the cliched route of buying a sports car is likely to undermine you.
And if you’re just a team member given a particular budget, think about the respect of your colleagues. It won’t look good to them (or to management) if you opt for something flashy instead of something practical. Do you really want to turn your professional network against you simply so you can have the modest thrill of driving around in an eye-catching car?
Think about the journeys you’ll be taking
Where are you going to be driving? If you’re set to cover a lot of stretches of smooth road, you won’t need a rugged all-terrain vehicle — but if you’re going to be passing through mountainous stretches, it might be a good idea to opt for something robust. You may not be able to fully predict where you’ll be going, but do your best with the information available to you.
Versatility is always good, so choose flexibility if you’re unsure. Will you need to be moving any cargo around? Will you be driving by yourself or taking others with you? You’d plan for hiking, no doubt, so you should plan for this. Cars with modular designs tend to make great company cars because they can be adjusted to suit your needs, so look around to see what you can find.
Brush up on the latest relevant tax rules
Taxation is a matter that every business needs to think about, and the existence of various regulations and incentives pertaining to company cars makes it a vital factor here. If you can majorly cut costs by going for an electric car, for instance, it’ll be an easy choice provided it can offer the performance you need. This isn’t something to obsess over, of course. Just keep an eye on governmental updates (here’s a PwC guide from 2020) and tweak your decision-making process accordingly.
If you can do each of these things, you’ll be able to pick out a company car that keeps your costs down and delivers practical performance for years to come. And if you can find something suitable in a shade you love, that’ll just be an added bonus.