A well-maintained fleet can keep your business moving forward. If it’s time to start investing in new fleet vehicles, whether you’re expanding or replacing old cars with newer models, what should you look for and what should you avoid when making your purchase? There’s a lot to think about when it comes to making this important purchase. Here is a list of the most important things to consider before investing in new fleet vehicles.
The first thing to look at is the type of vehicle you would like to add to your fleet. Do you need extra towing capacity, a higher payload or extra space to carry multiple employees? This will play a large part in determining what kind of vehicles you add to your fleet.
For payload or towing, pickup trucks are usually your best option. If you need to carry multiple employees to a jobsite, an extended-cab pickup or cargo van can both meet your needs. If you need a mix of different vehicles to complete your job, you’re not usually limited to purchasing a single make and model.
Payload and Towing Capacity
A truck or van’s payload is the rating of how much weight it can carry in its bed or cargo compartment. Towing capacity, on the other hand, is how much weight the vehicle can pull on a trailer attached to a hitch on the back. If you’re hauling a lot of tools or products, or are planning to use a container to do the same, it’s essential to choose fleet vehicles that have an appropriate towing capacity.
Depending on the make, model and features available, your vehicle or van might be able to tow anywhere from 1,500 to 10,000 pounds. Keep the weight of your average load or trailer in mind when seeking new fleet vehicles.
You don’t want to invest a lot of money in a new set of fleet vehicles to have them break down the first time they leave the parking lot. Vehicle durability is another feature you need to consider when purchasing. Many newer trucks you might be considering are designed with an aluminum body instead of a more traditional steel one, making them more durable. Aluminum is naturally resistant to corrosion, making the trucks last longer. This becomes essential in places that get lots of snow because road salt and other de-icing chemicals make cars more susceptible to rust.
Trucks with aluminum bodies are also lighter than their steel counterparts.
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Trucks and cargo vans don’t have the fuel economy of smaller passenger cars, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a fleet that has gas mileage in the single digits. Newer trucks and vans are being designed to be more fuel-efficient than their predecessors. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the road, opting for vehicles that get better fuel economy can help offset some of your fuel costs in the long run.
Keep in mind that the listed fuel economy is only accurate if you’re not towing or hauling. Adding additional passengers, a bed full of tools or a trailer can lower the fuel economy.
Every vehicle on the roads, from the smallest passenger vehicle to the largest cargo van, has been tested and rated for safety by the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHSTA). While you might not want to think about your fleet drivers getting into a car accident, they do happen, so it’s essential to choose cars with high safety ratings. Depending on your vendor, this information may be readily available. If your salesperson doesn’t provide it, all the safety information for each make and model of car is available on the NHSTA’s website.
How much money do you have available to invest in new fleet vehicles? This number will play a significant role in the kind of cars you can purchase, but it isn’t necessarily the most important thing to consider. A fully equipped pickup truck can run you anywhere between $20,000 and $60,000 or more, depending on the features and accessories you choose.
Make sure you keep the previous points in mind first before considering your budget, though. It’s worth paying a little bit more to get an efficient truck or a van with a higher crash safety rating to protect your drivers.
The last thing you need to consider is your company’s image. A well-maintained and uniform fleet can improve your image, while a fleet made up of older or more worn vehicles can make your company appear haphazard and damage consumer confidence. Ideally, a fleet of identical cars would be your best choice, but if you have various needs, creating a fleet of different vehicles that are all equipped with the same signage and branding is also an option.
Your fleet vehicles are often the first thing your customer sees, and they say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Do your best to ensure your first impression is a positive one.
New Fleet Vehicles in Summary
Your fleet is good for more than simply moving your crew from place to place or delivering your products. Don’t just buy the first truck or van that crosses your path. You can afford to be picky, even if it might not seem like it. Do some research and select the cars, trucks or cargo vans that will work best for your company.