You’ve heard all those country songs. Other than a can of beer and his guitar, nothing stands between a man and his truck. Many people find that buying and owning a vehicle is a personal matter, and therefore take a different approach to acquiring one than when the view is professional.
If you are going to be purchasing a vehicle for your business, don’t let your heart or your ego lead the way. Use rational reasoning and your brain to make the best decision you can, besides, that’s what you use for business anyway, right?
What Can You Afford?
You should have a business budget, and therefore should know how much you can spend on this vehicle. Depending on your line of business and your budget, it can mean acquiring anything from a small, used sedan to a full-sized bus. Remember that vehicles are quick to depreciate and expensive to maintain, so look for an option that you are comfortable with paying for while giving you the full range of utilities you need.
You might know it or you might not, but versatility is worth a lot when it comes to business investments. Even with the business you have today, the direction might vary slightly in the next little bit, along with changes in technology, etc. Having a vehicle that you can easily reconfigure and use for multiple purposes means that you won’t have to purchase a secondary vehicle or additional one if your business scope changes slightly. For professions that work out of their vehicles, finding a dealer or supplier that has a wide variety of truck bodies and truck equipment means that you can capitalize on the modularity to give you the custom utility that you need.
Though routine maintenance might have been a cost that you factored in when assessing affordability, was insurance there too? Car insurance can be a budget-breaking expense if the vehicle you are driving is not “liked” by the insurance companies. Before you make any purchases, call your insurance company and ask what the premiums would be like on the makes and models you are interested in buying. They should be able to give you accurate information regarding what it would cost to insure each specific vehicle.
Tracking Your Use
We all like a little joyride now and again, but if you want to be able to write off your vehicle use as a business expense, you’re going to have to start tracking. You are using this vehicle in a professional capacity, and it’s important to make that clear through tracking your kilometers. Whether you use an app or a notebook, you need to make a note of the date, the time, the distance from point A to B, and your expenses like fuel and maintenance. At the end of the year you’ll be able to write this off as an expense and ultimately save money. However, if you think that you can just chalk everything up to your business use, especially when it’s a personal style vehicle, you’re wrong. The logs are records that you can use to defend your case if you were ever audited.
Though your vehicle can say a lot about you, remember that your work car should be seen ultimately as a work car. When shopping around, look for something that you can afford, fulfills your present and future needs, and is easily insurable. And if you want to get some additional benefits from its use, remember to use a driving log that will prove your business expenses associated with the vehicle to your accountant or auditor, if ever necessary.