As companies grow, employees shouldn’t be expected to take their personal vehicles on company business. It takes a specific type of business that usually thrives on independence and high experience, and most businesses are better off organizing their own transportation.
Investing in a car fleet is easier now that it’s an industry in its own right, but it’s not a single cost that you can spend once and enjoy forever. Here are a few issues, benefits, and special circumstances to keep in mind before investing in a company vehicle.
Personal vehicle costs are easy to forget as repairs come and go. Tune-ups, oil changes, tire rotations, and other issues are handled before big trips, when the sticker on your windshield reminds you, or when something breaks.
A company vehicle’s costs stand out like a sore thumb. The amount of money you spend on a vehicle is a report on your business decision and can make you think differently about your favorite brands.
Here are a few regular maintenance points that will become company costs:
- Air filter cleaning/replacement
- Vehicle/road tax inspections
- Suspension checks
- Battery testing
- Heating/air conditioning maintenance
The regular maintenance needs of your favorite street cruiser may be terrible compared to the generic, but trustworthy, company fleet vehicles that everyone else uses. Figure out which vehicles your peers and competitors are using. For companies that aren’t competing with you, it’s easy to politely ask about their vehicles, maintenance costs, and suggestions. Competitors may be less friendly with their information, but researching the make and model can give you a few online repair costs and common complaints.
Repercussions of an Accident
An accident in a company car isn’t limited to the people in the accident. As the owner of a company vehicle, there are a few liability trails that lead to you.
The first responsibility is liability insurance. Car insurance companies have specific packages and rates for company vehicles with the biggest concern being the number and qualifications of employees who could drive the vehicle.
Personal insurance is about you and potentially family members or close friends on the policy. Insurance companies need to think about licensed members of the company, new hires, and unknown backgrounds.
Beyond insurance needs, what caused the accident? Was the accident caused by negligence that had nothing to do with your business, or can your employee say that he or she was speeding or driving recklessly because you said to?
There could be a myriad of reasons for the car accident, and finding out what happened is important, especially if your employee was at fault. The job needs to be accomplished, but it’s not uncommon for business drivers to be reckless to meet deadlines or to use the idea of a deadline as a convenient excuse for speeding. Insurance can shield you from those situations as well, but you need company policies, employee automobile training, and contract language that sets a tone of safety in the company.
Protecting Yourself and Your Team with Technology
Dash cameras (dash cams), mobile recording, and other forms of surveillance are on the rise. While there’s a fine line between spying and protection, you can protect your vehicles and employees with modern tech without overreaching.
Dash cams are helpful because they can record the moments before, during, and after an accident without needing to pull out a camera or smartphone. This can be helpful in court, or to stop the situation from getting to court, and may lower your insurance depending on your insurance company’s policies.
In addition to showing your employee’s side of the accident, you can protect your company car fleet if you use 24/7 recording options. Cameras that are always on or that have motion detection are mobile surveillance units, allowing you to view and to possibly track car thieves.
If you want to know more about insuring and protecting your company car investments, contact a transportation expert. Discuss your employees, usual travel needs, and vehicle preference to find a meeting ground between your ideals and industry best practices.
Every business owner needs someone they can turn to for guidance. For more great business advice, let Framework 4 Freedom help!