3 Shopping Tips for Choosing a New Work Vehicle
When you’re choosing a vehicle for work, you have more factors to consider than you would if you were buying a car for personal use. How much use will this work vehicle see? Does the vehicle need to hold any equipment? What specifications will the work vehicle need to function properly? How does your particular profession impact what you’re looking for? The search can seem overwhelming, but these three tips are a way to narrow down your choices.
1. New or Used?
This is the first question that most people have to answer in any kind of vehicle purchase. Do you want a new vehicle, or do you want one that’s been pre-owned? These are a few criteria to consider:
- Pre-owned vehicles cost significantly less money
- Older pre-owned vehicles will not last as long as a new vehicle
- New vehicles have more in-depth technological features and safety protocols
If you’re going to be using the vehicle extensively — oftentimes, this scenario occurs when your work requires a significant amount of travel — you might want to invest in a new vehicle. But if the vehicle is only going to be used a few times a month, it’s a better fiscal decision to go with a pre-owned model. Which choice is best for you depends on the reasons that you’re getting the vehicle to begin with.
2. Size and Fitting Matter
You should make sure that the vehicles you consider are the right size for your work-related purposes. If your work involves transporting bulky or heavy objects from one area to another, you’ll want to get a larger vehicle. But if your vehicle will only be used to transport people from one place to another, a smaller vehicle will get you better gas mileage. Bottom line: The vehicle should be able to hold you, any crew members, and the usual equipment you use on jobs. If you ever engage in special projects, it should also be large enough to hold potential project equipment.
Similarly, you should find a vehicle that can be upfitted for the potential future needs of your business. You should check out vehicles that have a roof rack or a tow package; these mean you won’t need to install these features later, when your business has grown to the point that you need them.
3. Consider Long-Term Financial Factors
The initial price tag of a vehicle isn’t the end of the vehicle’s cost. When you’re looking at price, you should also consider how long-term costs will affect your business. Consider these aspects of the purchase:
- What are the long-term maintenance costs?
- What is the cost of operation?
- Should you invest in a hybrid or a diesel engine to get better gas mileage?
- Will there be any expenses related to upfitting the vehicle?
“Cost of operation” should include your car payments, car insurance, and the price of gas. You can significantly cut the price of gas if you invest in a hybrid vehicle; that said, hybrids tend to be more expensive. When you buy a vehicle that’s already been upfitted, you avoid the cost of upfitting yourself. A used vehicle might require more maintenance than a new vehicle, especially if it’s an older vehicle. If the seller can’t provide a reliable history of maintenance, this may work in your favor regarding the purchase price — but it may come back to haunt you after you bring the vehicle home.
All in all, most of the guidelines for buying a new work vehicle are simple common sense. You should make a decision that makes sense with the finances of your business, making sure to factor in long-term finances as well as short-term ones. You should make sure the vehicle fits your needs, and you should incorporate your marketing strategies into the way you brand the vehicle.
When all of this is accomplished, it’s hard to make a wrong decision. The right vehicle is waiting for you. Just narrow down your options until you find it.