If your business requires you to always be on the go, you may have considered buying a company vehicle. With costs such as insurance, fuel and repairs to cover, it’s clearly not a purchase that you should be doing on a whim. However, as much as it can be expensive, a company vehicle can also come with a lot of perks. Here are some of the major examples.
Whether you lease or buy a company vehicle, you will be entitled to a tax deduction. Any associated vehicle running costs can be put through as expenses, including even fuel and repairs. The amount you can deduct depends on various variables depending on whether you’re buying or leasing, and in the latter case whether or not the lease is a Finance Lease or an Operating Lease. This can all be complex stuff, and it’s worth asking a financial advisor or someone at the rental company to clear it up.
Having a company car that is also your everyday car can make this process a little more difficult – when declaring tax you’ll have to keep clear records of your business and non-business vehicle costs in case the tax inspector comes knocking by. This means collecting receipts of every gas payment and parking expense (if you haven’t got an accountant already, hiring one could save a bit of headache. If you’re an employee, your boss will handle all this for you).
Transporting goods around can be an inconvenience. Hiring a delivery company to cart around these belonging could be a solution if you don’t own a car or your current vehicle is too small, however it will quickly rack up costs. The alternative therefore is to get a company vehicle such as a van or a bigger car and do those deliveries themselves.
If you’re a delivery person by trade or a handyman that has to carry their tools around, this might seem like an obvious transition. However, there are other trades where it might seem like less of an obvious option, but actually be quite cost-effective. For example, if you run your own independent café or retail outlet, you might be able to transport your own stock with a company vehicle. It can also be ideal for taxi-ing staff and clients around if you work in the events trade.
A portable workstation
A company vehicle – in particular a van – can make a great portable workstation. There are now companies such as Taller Movil that specialise in converting cars and vans for commercial use, allowing room to store tools, fitting workbenches, gutting out extra seating and adding useful extensions such as ladder racks and tow bars.
Companies such as EE meanwhile have created devices that can turn your vehicle into a permanent wi-fi hotspot. This can allow you to complete card transactions, electronic document signatures and send emails from even the most remote locations.
Some people may even use a vehicle as an extra storage space for tools as an alternative to cluttering the home or buying storage space for it. It should be noted however that storing valuable items in your car when parked could increase its insurance rates (unless you’ve got a garage to keep it safe in).
Branding on the move
A company vehicle also gives you a chance to market yourself on the move. There are many companies such as Motor Mode that can print branding such as logos and contact details on the side of your vehicle allowing it to act as a moving billboard. With most people always connected to the internet on their smartphones, a potential client may see your vehicle on the road and be able to quickly look up your site online.
Even if you can’t afford to print on the side of your vehicle or want a less permanent form of advertising, car bumper stickers can do the job, advertising your business to cars behind. Designers will be able to help you come up with something bold and clear that’s likely to grip passers-by without being too distracting to fellow road users.
Having your own company vehicle fit for business definitely makes you seem more professional and credible. More people will trust a handyman in a branded van, than one turning up in his own small hatchback. This is largely because being able to afford a company car shows you’ve got money, and having money shows that your business is successful and therefore trustworthy.
You may also find certain perks to turning up in a company vehicle such as being more easily able to get into private car parks and being more easily identifiable by clients.
For those companies with a little more money to play with, being able to offer your employees a company car can be one of the greatest incentives you can offer. By offering someone their own vehicle through the company, you can improve the quality of not just their work but their personal life. This can attract employees as well as encouraging them to stay.
Such an incentive programme is popular in trades that require a lot of vehicle usage such as deliveries, estate agents and taxi firms. However, it can also be introduced into other companies, simply for helping staff members commute.
When providing a business vehicle, you get to choose who pays which expenses such as insurance and fuel. Many companies with multiple vehicles will offer insurance themselves by opting for a special business insurance package. Fuel cost can often be left up to the employee, however you may still want to ask them to keep onto receipts so that you can take these running costs off their taxes. All this requires extra admin, so make sure that you have an accountant you can call upon or someone that is financially savvy that can work out these deductions for you.
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