Are your employees begging you to buy them orange Beetles with buffalo bars as their business cars? While the hot new Volkswagen may win their hearts, it could send the wrong message to customers...unless you're in the clown or safari business.
Definitely consult employees regarding their needs with business-specific utility or service-type vehicles that may require shelving or extra cargo capacity. But with sales fleets, the company car is more than a tool; it's also likely to be the employee's primary vehicle. Almost 90 percent of company cars are used by employees as their personal cars, according to Greg Corrigan at Peterson, Howell & Heather Vehicle Management Services in Hunt Valley, Maryland. This is where you should be flexible regarding employees' transportation, especially if they have families.
Although company cars are no longer considered perks but rather necessities, giving employees too much latitude in picking their vehicles can hurt your business in the long run with resale problems. However, if employees seek a reasonable amount of input in the process and retention is an issue, giving them a choice of model or color can boost morale.
To avoid requests for slick sports cars or luxury sedans your budget won't allow, follow these steps:
Set up company-car guidelines after determining your employees' needs, and
short-list preselected model lineups and specific options, stating that additional options or equipment must be approved by the company and paid for by the employee.
Jill Amadio has reported on the automotive industry for 23 years as an editor and consultant.
- PHH Vehicle Management Services, (800) ONLY-PHH, www.phh.com