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How to choose the perfect vehicle for your fleet

Don’t make your decision on price alone as cheaper may not always be better. These are the things to consider before you make the decision.

The most important thing to ask your self is “Will it suit my purpose?” It is easy to pick a vehicle based on its monthly cost, but what is the additional cost if it does not completely meet your needs? Recently we helped the owner of a company which had taken delivery of several Connect vans.

These vans were specified to meet user requirements, air conditioning, racking and ply added. Unfortunately, the additional specification had an impact on the weight the vehicles could carry making it impossible for the workforce to use them without make several trips as the vehicles were overladen.

The decision to take the original vans was made from a financial standpoint. Less cost would equal less exposure, right? Unfortunately, our client did not consider the actual laden weight required to meet the needs of the business. The moral is to consider is to consider what vehicles are required to be fit for purpose.When you are looking at vans you need to consider payloads, access to the load space and the size/shape of typical goods to be transported.You may find you spend a lot more then you need to, when in reality you only use a particular feature once or twice a year. It may be better to hire a vehicle for those situations.

Where will the vehicle be driven?
Mainly motorways? town centres or maybe a combination? As a general rule, Diesel vehicles are better suited to motorways, but hybrid vehicles are much better suited to urban stop-start driving environments. Does the vehicle need to go off-road? If it does what is the terrain. Many vehicles are adequate for farm tracks and fields, but for remote harsh environments proper off-road vehicles such as the Ford Ranger or Land Rover Discovery may be required.

What do the drivers want?
It is imperative need to speak with the end user of the vehicles.
The day to day drivers will have crucial information on how the vehicle is used, and what will be most appropriate. Keeping your staff happy by ensuring they find the vehicles comfortable and suitable for their needs can lead to increased productivity and staff retention.

Experience has shown that often where drivers have a great disliking for their vehicles they will at best neglect the vehicles resulting in remedial costs and constantly remind the fleet manager that they would like to change their vehicle in the hope of early replacement.

When looking at costs contract hire rentals are a good barometer as they include depreciation and interest costs as well as VED renewal. In addition to the contract hire finance rentals look at the maintenance contracts as this will give you a good idea of the service and maintenance costs which you could you for budget purposes if you elect for a non-maintained contract.

 Of course, the cost of ownership does not end with the contract hire rentals and you need to factor in insurance and MPG for fuel costs. Look at P11d and Co2 for cars as you should be aware of the Benefit in Kind implication for staff. Lastly choose your Leasing Company wisely, look at the vehicles they offer and the administration charges associated with Parking, Congestion charges and Motoring offences.
Check there are no administration charges for re-contracting and that you have pooled mileage. Ask them what their procedure is for end of contract charges.

If you choose the correct leasing company you may find that choosing the right vehicle becomes a lot easier.

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Posted on 28th March 2017 at 4:56 PM

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