Are Your Company Vehicles Considered a Fleet?
So you own a small business with company vehicles. Since you bought your first vehicle, you’ve learned a lot about managing this part of your business. As your business grew, you added more vehicles. That’s all there is, right? Wrong. What many small business owners don’t know is that, when a company acquires enough vehicles, they qualify for fleet status with auto manufacturers. Fleet status opens up access to a host of benefits, from cost savings on new vehicle acquisitions to greater choice in vehicles to exclusive member perks.
Qualifying as a Fleet
Fleet qualifications vary by manufacturer, but they are variations on a theme: five new vehicles or 15 vehicles total. To qualify for General Motors Fleet program, your business must have purchased or leased at least five new vehicles in the last year (from any manufacturer) or currently own or lease at least 15 vehicles that are used in company service. Ford fleet eligibility requirements are similar to those at GM, though they add that qualifying vehicles must have been in use for 12 months or 20,000 miles. FCA Fleet program, which represents the brands Chrysler, Dodge, and Ram (among others), requires 15 vehicles total or that you be looking to purchase at least five new vehicles.
If your business does not qualify for fleet status yet, don’t lose hope! Some manufacturers still offer incentive programs for small businesses that do not meet their fleet threshold. FCA Fleet offers retail incentives for small businesses by brand. Browse their portal here. View GM’s small business program here.
Save Money with Fleet Status
After acquiring a fleet identification or account number, businesses immediately save on new vehicles acquisitions. First, manufacturers waive regional advertising fees that often apply to vehicles sold out of dealer stock. The fees are usually between one and two percent of the vehicle’s invoice and can mean a savings of up to 800 dollars for a 40,000-dollar vehicle.
In addition to waiving the advertising fee, fleet programs often offer exclusive incentives and rebates to their members. For their 2019 National Fleet Purchase Program, GM offers allowances ranging from 400 dollars for a Chevy Spark to 5,500 dollars for a GMC Sierra 2500HD Double Cab with 4WD. The Ford 2019 Model Year Commercial Fleet Incentive Program offers incentives in a similar range.
Other Fleet Benefits
Other benefits for business fleets include the ability to choose vehicles from manufacturer stock instead of dealer stock. Dealers stock their lots mostly for consumer preference and space limitations. That often means limited options in fleet vehicles. Depending on the fleet program you join, there are a wide variety of member benefits you may access. For example, members of the FCA BusinessLink program have access to complimentary shuttle service, loaner vehicles, priority bay service, extended service/repair hours, and a 24/7 towing service – all without membership fees or dues.
Claim Your Fleet Status
Assuming your business can readily provide documentation of all your vehicles, you could be enrolled in a manufacturer fleet program within a week. Do your due diligence by researching available fleet programs (starting with the links provided in this blog), and find the right fleet program with perks that meaningfully benefit your small business.