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Buying vehicles to support your business operations is a decision that can make or break you company. Some business owners will simply go for the best deal instead of doing some real analysis. Whether you can buy or lease at the right price is not so important as ensuring that you have the trucks you really need to provide sufficient utility and long-term value to your organization. Here are some critical factors to consider.
The first step is to evaluate your operations to get a clear idea of what you need. You should ask yourself some basic questions, such as whether you will be doing off-road driving? Driving in the city or mainly on the highway? What kind of loads and equipment will your vehicles be carrying? How will the trucks be loaded and unloaded? Have an exact idea of what will serve you best before you even start the searching and pricing phases.
When choosing vehicles, will you need employees with a CDL, or will a regular license do? What will you expect as far as the drivers’ responsibilities and duties? Will that require special training? What about driver comfort? You don’t want unhappy or distracted drivers on the road. Safety features are also something you’ll want from your vehicles. Make sure that your fleet is properly trained based on how your business runs, and make sure you’re familiar with local laws as well as the laws of anywhere out of state your trucks go for work.
Your concerns don’t end when your trucks are put away for the night. Where and how will they be parked? They should be secured against thieves and vandals. You might want to look for models with the latest trucking security features. You’ll also need either a mechanic of your own, or contract with a local vehicle maintenance service to check over your trucks regularly and ensure they’re running safely and reliably.
Your trucks need to be able to handle the demands you put on them. For example, if you’re carrying heavy loads long distances, you might be better off with used Freightliner trucks from a company like Arrow Truck Sales than brand new cargo vans. Newer vehicles may be more reliable but will have higher upfront costs and insurance rates. Your budget is going to be an important consideration, so you want to estimate your ROI to get the best value for as long as you can.
One other element in your decision should be how those trucks represent your brand to your customers and the public. You want your vehicles to be a fleet you can be proud of.