Tips for contractors choosing lease vehicles

Tips for contractors choosing lease vehicles

2 February 2016

Rail passenger satisfaction recently rose overall for the first time in three years, but with less than half of the 28,000 train travellers surveyed saying they feel ticket prices represent value for money and with delays still regularly experienced especially in London and Manchester where major upgrades are still in progress, the car certainly remains the most convenient transportation method for contractors.

Each contractor’s business is different so when weighing up the financial pros and cons of leasing a brand new vehicle on business contract hire, purchasing it outright or obtaining a business loan to finance it, Umbrella’s accountants are here to provide BIK (Benefit in Kind), P11D, CO2 and other advice based on a contractor or company’s actual figures. If a contractor has sought professional guidance and decided to lease a vehicle, the next step is to identify which car, commercial van or pickup to choose. Here are some useful tips:

Business makeup: what a contractor’s business does has a bearing on which vehicle to choose, freelancers working in information technology (IT), law, architecture or consultancy perhaps finding small, reliable superminis like the Hyundai i10 and Honda Jazz perfectly acceptable if commuting to set daily destinations. Buildings and construction contractors are often better suited to 4x4 or pickup vehicles like a Kia Sportage or Mitsubishi L200 if driving on varying terrains is a feature of their activities.

Mileage: for contractors who drive less than around 60 miles per day and for whom a car will suffice, petrol can often prove the best fuel type to choose, whereas diesel is typically more economical for contractors who cover high mileages through their work.

Image: conveying a professional, successful image may be perceived by contractors working in some fields such as law, finance, PR, marketing and architecture as important, in which case prestigious cars such as the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C Class and Audi A4 are usually first considered.

Equipment: certain professions dictate the transportation of tools, materials, generators and other equipment, in which case a contractor would be sensible considering commercial van leasing deals out there, such as for the Ford Transit or smaller Volkswagen Caddy.

Mobility: contractors suffering from restricted mobility, bad backs and other discomfort would benefit from choosing cars with elevated driving positions such as the Nissan Qashqai and Mercedes GLA, or at least avoiding ones that sit low to the ground like a Peugeot RCZ or Audi TT, which can prove more difficult to get in and out of.

Stress: roads in the UK are notoriously congested, resulting in contractors getting stuck in long, slow-moving queues of traffic on motorways or in cities, which may coax some drivers towards choosing a vehicle with an automatic gearbox.

Confidence: just because a contractor is confident in his or her business doesn’t mean that they won’t find driving to be intimidating from time to time, with speeders, HGVs, hazards, inclement weather and road signs to contend with. Less confident drivers would feel assured if they chose a car renowned for high levels of safety, such as the new Volvo XC90 or Infiniti Q30, which are highly rated by EURO NCAP.

These tips are provided by Umbrella.co.uk ’s business car leasing partner, Vehicle Consulting of Manchester, who work with contractors, SMEs and larger business fleets throughout the UK.

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