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5 Tips for Your First Fleet-Vehicle Purchase

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This story appears in the October 2013 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

1. Don't skimp on payload or towing capacity when choosing a vehicle. As your business grows, you can quickly overload a truck with workers, gear and materials, according to Business Fleet's Chris Brown. This wears out the truck faster or, worse, makes it dangerous to drive.

2. Bid out the job. Send out a proposal to multiple fleet managers outlining the exact model you want, trade-in vehicle you might offer and terms you're looking for, suggests broker Isaac Bouchard.

3. Bouchard recommends asking the fleet manager, "How much of ‘holdback' can I have?" He notes, "This is the amount of profit a manufacturer builds into the invoice price. It's an insider term that cuts to the chase and can save you maybe a couple hundred bucks."

4. Consider a service contract/warranty that includes the cost of a rental vehicle. And if you can, buy the warranty from the manufacturer, not the dealer, which may shut down its commercial service department at any time, Bouchard warns.

5. If leasing, make sure you sign a commercial lease, not a retail lease, Brown advises. "Unlike retail leases that you and I would sign, commercial leases have much more leeway on wear-and-tear clauses and mileage caps."

Edition: May 2017

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