From the October 2011 issue of Entrepreneur

Nearly every vehicle manufacturer will give a discount to businesses that buy cars, vans or trucks in bulk. These so-called fleet sales are available through almost every dealership and offer new and used cars for hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars less than the manufacturer's suggested retail price. Preferred pricing, as it's known, is open in many cases to business owners who purchase or lease as few as five vehicles.

Specific policies vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but getting a fleet vehicle on the cheap usually starts with a phone call to the dealership offering the specific car a business owner wants. Be sure to ask for the name of the fleet vehicle manager first to avoid being routed to a regular salesperson.

The fleet vehicle manager can guide potential buyers through the process, helping determine if they're qualified to establish a fleet identification number that will give them access to better pricing on leased or purchased vehicles.

Some dealerships require proof that a business is a legitimate legal entity. Others are more concerned with the quantity of vehicles that will be purchased. General Motors requires businesses to buy or lease five or more new vehicles in a 12-month period. Toyota asks that a company operate or plan to operate 10 or more, but those 10 can be a mix of vehicles from different manufacturers. Honda's fleet sales have no quantity restrictions.

In many cases, fleet vehicles can be arranged with open-ended leases, prepaid maintenance, consolidated billing plans and other financially flexible perks.

Like regular consumers in the market for personal cars, fleet vehicle buyers should shop around; sales prices will vary from dealership to dealership based on available inventory. Always ask for a written bid. And call during weekday business hours. Fleet salesmen sell directly to businesses and tend to work 9 to 5.