The acquisition of fleet vehicles is the first step in building a delivery fleet. The vehicles you choose are determined by the products you’re transporting and where they’ll be delivered. If you’re a local business that delivers small items, such as a florist or restaurant, you’ll almost certainly need a fleet of cargo vans. A fleet of box trucks might make more sense if you’re delivering larger items like kitchen cabinets or appliances. You’ll need a fleet of semi-trucks if you’re shipping large pallets across the country.
You need to find the right fleet dealership to help you with your needs, whether you’re starting from scratch or replacing older vehicles as they wear out. Where can you find the best prices, the best selection, and the best service? You’ll have to do some research and heed the advice given here.
Table of Contents
- Do you Qualify for Fleet Sales?
- Choosing the Best Vehicles for Your Company’s Fleet
- Finding the Best Fleet Dealership for You
- How to Get the Best Deal on Your Fleet
- Buying vs. Leasing – Which Option is Best for You?
- Choosing a Fleet Vehicle Dealership is Just the First Step
Do you Qualify for Fleet Sales?
It would be advantageous if you had a large enough fleet to qualify for fleet sales. The specific requirements vary by manufacturer and dealer, but in general, you must have a minimum of 15 vehicles registered in your company’s name to qualify. You might also be eligible if you’ve bought five or more new cars in the last year. Fleet dealers prefer to do business in bulk rather than selling individual vehicles.
Your company is given a fleet number once you’ve qualified for fleet sales. This number can be used to purchase vehicles from any of the brand’s dealerships.
Choosing the Best Vehicles for Your Company’s Fleet
It’s critical that you stock your fleet with the right vehicles for your company. It’s best if you think about what you’ll be delivering, how much cargo space and weight capacity you’ll need, and whether you’ll need special shelving or other options for your delivery items.
You should also think about the vehicle’s cost – but not just the initial purchase price. You should calculate the total cost of ownership over the vehicle’s lifetime, which includes maintenance and fuel costs. As a result, you might want to think about hybrid, electric, or alternative fuel vehicles. You might want to spend a little more money up front to save money in the long run.
After you’ve figured out what kinds of vehicles you’ll need, you can start looking for specific brands and models. Make your comparisons online, on the websites of the manufacturers, and narrow it down to a few similar options from various brands.
You must go to a fleet dealer with a list of pre-selected vehicles and options. You’re not shopping when you work with a fleet dealership; you’re negotiating. You should, however, arrange for test drives with some of your company’s drivers for the vehicles you’re considering. They’ll give you honest feedback on a vehicle’s suitability for the job.
Finding the Best Fleet Dealership for You
Automobile manufacturers depend heavily on fleet sales. Fleet sales accounted for nearly 20% of all new vehicle sales in 2019, according to Edmunds. As a result, most manufacturers place a premium on fleet sales and dealerships.
What are the best places to look for fleet dealerships? The manufacturer’s website is the first place to look. Look for a page or section called “programs,” then a connection to “fleets.” Pick the program that best suits your company from the manufacturer’s offerings – General Motors, for example, has services for small fleets, government fleets, law enforcement fleets, and others. This should bring you to a fleet page with a lot of useful details, such as a contact form and a list of fleet dealerships.
You may reach out to a fleet dealer or a manufacturer’s fleet representative in your region. The representative may provide additional details on the manufacturer’s fleet programs as well as recommend suitable dealers.
The Automotive Fleet Directory is another good place to start. More than 150 fleet dealers are listed in this online database, which you can search by dealer category and location.
Be aware that not all dealerships with fleet departments are equally informed about fleet sales and operation, and that not all are familiar with your company’s specific requirements. When you’ve found a dealer who sells the fleet vehicles you need, get to know a representative from that company. You want to make sure they understand the requirements and can provide the requisite after-sales support. The dealer isn’t for you if you can’t build a good working relationship with them.
How to Get the Best Deal on Your Fleet
Fleet salespeople are qualified to deal with the needs of companies that buy several vehicles each year, such as yours. They’re paid on a different commission scheme, so they’re not as focused on closing the deal right away as they are on establishing a long-term working relationship.
Fleet vehicles are usually sold at or above the wholesale price set by the dealer. Since the cars you want are unlikely to be on the dealer’s lot, you’ll have to order them from the factory or from other dealers. (Keep this in mind when making your plans; getting the vehicles you want can take several months.)
Consider the following factors when negotiating the final price:
- Many manufacturers have special pricing and support packages for fleets.
- You will always persuade the dealer to waive the dealer’s regional advertisement fees (typically 1.5 percent -2 percent of invoice cost)
- You may be able to persuade the dealer to waive the dealer fee (which normally ranges from $100 to $600 per vehicle).
- Manufacturer rebates and sales bonuses are often available.
Make sure you concentrate on the invoice price rather than the sticker price while negotiating with a dealership. Make certain you receive all rebates and sales rewards that are available. Before you start talking about trade-ins, make sure your fleet purchase price is set.
Buying vs. Leasing – Which Option is Best for You?
The last decision you’ll have to make is whether to buy or lease your fleet vehicles. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.
The following are some of the advantages of buying a vehicle:
- There are no mileage or consumption limitations.
- There are no penalties for getting rid of a car.
- Depreciation tax incentives
- The equity in your cars is yours to keep.
The following are some of the advantages of leasing your fleet:
- Vehicle replacement is easier and more frequent.
- Keeps your money safe.
- Purchases have lower monthly payments.
- In the balance sheet, it’s seen as a cost rather than a capital investment.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your accountant about the best strategy for your business.
Choosing a Fleet Vehicle Dealership is Just the First Step
As a delivery company, your fleet is the most important asset, so you should learn everything you can about it, from selecting the best fleet vehicle dealership to proper maintenance and even route management, to ensure you aren’t putting needless wear and tear on it.