7 Tips to Navigate the Complexities of Business Car Financing

Buying a business vehicle can be a costly endeavour, regardless of whether it’s a sedan, a utility van, or a box truck.

Fortunately, you don’t have to pay for a car upfront to secure it for your business. There are several ways you can secure a business vehicle even with a lack of capital, whether it’s through obtaining immediate capital or undergoing a long-term agreement with a lender.

Car finance deals

That said, before you go about knocking on various lenders’ doors and requesting a loan, you need to formulate a strategy in your approach. You should keep your financial health and cash flow in mind before picking one of the many ways to secure business car financing.

Furthermore, you should also put your best foot forward before you apply for a loan. This means preparing all the necessary things before you engage with one financier and securing a deal with them.

If you need a nudge in the right direction, this article will give you seven helpful tips for navigating the complex world of business car financing. 

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1. Consider Your Business’s Financial Health

Before you seek out money for your vehicle purchase, it’s important to assess your business’s financial health first. A good way to see how well it is doing is by taking a glance at your financial statements.

Your income and cash flow statement gives you a cursory glimpse of how much money is flowing into your business. It can give you the figures and month-by-month information to help you make relevant decisions, such as whether you can afford to take in more debt.

If your business’s cash outflow is more than its inflow, it may be a sign that you should postpone vehicle acquisition in the meantime. However, if these statements show healthy figures, then you can go ahead and proceed with loan or leasing applications for a vehicle.

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2. Know The Car Type You Want

Business vehicles can come in all makes and models. You should first figure out your car’s projected usage patterns and choose a car that has the capabilities to fit these prerequisites.

For example, if you’re planning to use a car on mountain roads often, you’d want to get a car that’s fuel-efficient and has a strong engine. If you don’t plan on using the business car often,  then you can get away with a more affordable vehicle with less heavy-duty capabilities.

Furthermore, it’s also important to bear your industry in mind before selecting your business vehicle. 

Some businesses may just need a simple sedan for their clients to use on occasion. Other businesses like cleaning companies would need a refurbished truck for their daily operations. A few businesses may require an entire fleet of cars, but only for a one-time occasion.

Having said that, it’s important that you’re aware of the type of car you want and how long you want to have it. These two variables significantly influence the total cost of the acquisition as well as the best financing option to opt for.

3. Look Into Different Car Financing Options

There are a tonne of ways to secure financing for your business car. Not all of them may be suitable for every business type, so it’s important to do due diligence and compare them against your industry.

Listed below are the most popular ones available.

  • Bank loans: These loans are provided by banks and have either fixed or variable interest rates as well as adjusted monthly repayment terms based on your credit profile.
  • Other loan arrangements: Credit unions and online lenders may offer more attractive interest rates and better terms overall. 
  • Dealership financing: Some dealerships may arrange special incentives like rebates or 0% downpayment for convenience. However, this often comes with higher interest rates.
  • Angel investors: You can acquire capital from venture capitalists who find promise in your company and are willing to shoulder your car costs for a share of ownership.
  • Leasing: Instalment-based payment for car use, but never for ownership. Offers lower monthly repayment terms compared to traditional loans. However, you’re not granted ownership unless you get into a new contract with the leaser. 
  • Hire purchase: Rent-to-own arrangement that uses the vehicle’s retail price during the start of the contract. Payments are made on an instalment basis until the end of the term; typically, a balloon payment is made by the end if there’s still an outstanding amount. This Westpac guide differentiates hire purchase and leasing in more detail.
  • Novated leasing: An agreement involving three parties wherein the employer deducts an employee’s monthly pre-tax salary to make recurring payments to pay off a car, providing tax benefits to the employee.

In short, you have two primary options when acquiring a car: renting or owning. But should you want to break it down further, the list above provides the different car financing types to help you better scrutinise your options. 

4. Improve Your Credit Score

Ideally, you should work on increasing your credit score before you apply for loans. 

A low credit score not only lowers your chance of loan approval; it also leaves you susceptible to getting worse terms, like high-interest rates or unfavourable term lengths.

If you want to improve your odds of securing a car without causing financial ruin, then you should be proactive in improving your credit score.

Credit score factors

For starters, you should be timely when submitting your credit report. Said credit report should also be as error-free as possible. You should also maintain a low credit utilisation ratio.

By following good practices over time, you’ll gradually improve and maintain your credit score, which can lead to better financing terms and thus better chances of securing your business car more favourably.

5. Factor in Depreciation

Cars lose their value relatively quickly. By the first year, a new car’s value can go down by 20% of its initial price.

So while owning a car gives you the liberty to do whatever you want with it, it can be a money sink.

Depending on your loan, your car may be depreciating faster than the principal balance of the loan. This, in turn, makes you owe more money than your car’s actual worth.

As such, if you plan to sell or liquidate your car, then you should be aware of the current going rates of the car. It’s fair to assume that secondhand buyers have done their research and know the value of the car before they buy it and call that car their own

An alternative to selling a secondhand car is trading the vehicle in for a new loan for another car. This way, you can enjoy a new car while paying a relatively marginal amount for it.

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6. Compare Financing Offers

Once you’ve narrowed down your financing options, explore the gathered offers and take some time to compare them. Don’t just look at their face value—scrutinise the interest rate, length of the loan, down payment requirements, and any additional fees.

Factor in what you find most valuable and make your own weighted grade on each factor. For instance, if you care more about having a shorter term, then consider that first before looking into other points.

Ultimately, you want to choose a financing offer that strikes the best balance of realistic and beneficial. If you can negotiate terms with the lender, all the better to help you make a conclusive decision.

7. Consult with a Financial Professional

Choosing the best business car financing option can be a tricky endeavour. Besides depreciation and maintaining creditworthiness, you also have to factor in nuanced topics like business tax deductions.

If you want to ensure you’re doing things right, get advice from a financial professional

They are the best people for assessing your business’s financial situation and breaking down tax implications. They can also make strategies to help you make better financing arrangements and tax deductions.

Navigating the complexities of business car financing requires a strategic approach, attention to detail, and an understanding of the financial landscape.

If you want to secure an investment in business vehicles, consider options such as leasing, loans or other financial instruments.

The right type of car financing can bring about significant cost savings, improved cash flow and better financial health for the company.

Ultimately, the right financing choice will depend on careful evaluation of terms, interest rates and the potential for financial growth so it’s important to find and work with a financial professional.

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Customer Success Story

Why Car Transport Services Exists Today!

When I had to move my car from Melbourne to Perth, the journey of finding the right transportation service felt almost as daunting as the 3,400 km drive itself. Through trial and error, a bit of luck, and a few missteps, I learned a great deal about how to select the best service for such a task. Here’s my experience, and I hope it can guide you smoothly through your own process.

Start with Research

The first thing I learned was the importance of research. Initially, I made the rookie mistake of choosing the first service that popped up in my Google search results. Big mistake. The company had hidden fees I hadn’t anticipated, and the service was far from satisfactory. What I learned was to dig deeper. Read reviews on multiple platforms, ask for recommendations from friends or family who’ve undertaken similar moves, and don’t skip on checking the forums where real customers discuss their experiences.

Check for Licensing and Insurance

One good decision I made was ensuring the company was licensed and insured. Insurance is important. Transporting a vehicle across such a long distance has its risks, and you want to ensure that your car is covered in case of any mishaps. Verify the transporter's accreditation with transport authorities and ensure they have valid insurance that covers your vehicle during the transit. This gave me peace of mind, knowing my car was in safe hands.

Compare Quotes

Getting multiple quotes was another area where I initially faltered. I assumed all prices would be roughly the same and didn’t bother shopping around. However, after a pricey quote from the first company, I decided to get several more. The price differences were significant, and some companies offered more comprehensive services at lower costs. Always compare quotes from at least three to five companies. This not only gives you a better idea of the price range but also allows you to negotiate better terms.

Understand the Service Types

I wasn’t aware initially, but there are different types of car transport services: door-to-door, terminal-to-terminal, open carrier, and enclosed carrier. Each has its pros and cons. I chose an open carrier for its cost-effectiveness, but in retrospect, considering the long journey across Australia, an enclosed carrier would have been better to protect my car from the elements. Understanding these options beforehand helps in making a more informed decision based on your needs and budget.

Communication is Key

One of the best decisions I made was selecting a company that had excellent communication practices. They provided updates at every major juncture of the journey, which eased my anxiety. Ensure that the company you choose has a point of contact who is reachable and willing to update you throughout the process. This is vital for peace of mind and to ensure that any issues are quickly addressed.

Timing and Flexibility

I learned the hard way that flexibility is key when transporting a car such a long distance. The initial service I chose promised a delivery within a week, but it ended up taking more than two weeks, which disrupted my plans significantly. Ask about the expected delivery times and check if the company can offer guarantees or compensation if they exceed the estimated delivery times.

Avoid Rush Decisions

A bad decision I made was rushing into booking without fully understanding the terms and conditions. This led to unexpected charges for additional services I wasn’t aware I had agreed to. Take your time to read the fine print or have someone else review it. Make sure you understand every aspect of the service contract.

What I Wish I Knew

If I knew then what I know now, I would have placed more emphasis on checking customer feedback about their post-service experience, especially regarding how companies handle damage claims and disputes. Knowing a company's track record in these areas can save you from potential headaches if something goes wrong.

Open vs Enclosed Car Transport

Open car carrier with new vehicles

Open Car Transport

Open car transport involves shipping vehicles in an open-air trailer, exposing them to weather and road conditions.

This method is cost-effective and widely available, making it a popular choice for transporting vehicles quickly and economically.

The main benefits include lower costs due to multiple vehicles being transported simultaneously and quicker delivery times. However, the downside is the potential risk of damage from environmental elements and road debris.

moving cars in an enclosed car carrier

Enclosed Car Transport

Enclosed car transport uses fully enclosed trailers to provide maximum protection for vehicles against weather, theft, and damage during transit.

This method is preferable for high-value, classic, or luxury vehicles requiring extra security. Enclosed transport is more expensive and less readily available but offers higher insurance coverage and peace of mind.

Specialised services include GPS tracking and expert handling, ensuring vehicles are delivered safely and discretely.

Find out more