Are you wasting time managing your business vehicles?

When you’re running a small business, every dollar counts and every minute matters. But you’re probably wasting a few hours a week^ on unnecessary admin you don’t need to do – things bigger businesses already know is much simpler (and more cost-effective) to outsource.

Fleet management is just one example. When you think of fleet, you might think of hundreds of service vehicles or utes. But the truth is, even one car for business use can be your ‘fleet’, and that means you could get the same benefits as your larger competitors.

“Fleet management basically means outsourcing the acquisition and running of the vehicle that you use in your business. It’s a way to save time and money, and reduce risk,” said Mark Muller, Sales Manager of ORIX Australia’s new fleet solution for small and medium businesses, VOOM®, powered by ORIX Australia.

“The idea is to put you back in control of your business vehicles, including the ongoing running costs. Everything from insurance and maintenance to fuel and re-registration can be bundled into one monthly itemised invoice, which means no more chasing receipts at BAS time.”

Larger organisations know it makes sense to outsource the complexities of their fleet, rather than pay an in-house team to take care of the admin. They also get all the buying power benefits of their fleet manager, saving not just on the cost of the vehicles, but on fuel, tyres and maintenance too. And while it also helps them manage the potential risk of staff misuse of company vehicles or fuel, it also shifts the financial risk of a fast-depreciating asset back to the fleet company.

In the driver’s seat

Australian small businesses are always keen to adopt ideas that will save them time and money while reducing risk. But until recently, most fleet companies couldn’t support a fleet of less than 10 cars.

“It’s simply not cost-effective for them to manage the relationship,” Muller said.

“But now we’ve come up with an online platform that puts small business owners in the driver’s seat. You’re in control; you can choose from any make or model, add any extras, see exactly how much you’d pay each month and roll in as many operating costs as you like.”

When Muller’s team at ORIX first started testing these benefits with small business owners, they had an enthusiastic response.

“They told us their biggest challenge is finding the best deal on a new vehicle for their business, because the dealer can see them coming and won’t always be transparent on discounts and financing,” Muller said.

“So they’ve got to be able to shop around and then negotiate with their bank, and that takes time, which takes them out of their business and away from their customers.”

Muller said is also seeing the impact of the big bank’s tighter lending rules for small businesses.

“If you want to borrow from your bank for a new business vehicle, it can put pressure on your other lines of credit. But we’re an independent finance company, so we can provide an alternative source of funding.”

And for small business owners who prefer to eventually own the asset outright – rather than hand it back when the lease ends – VOOM provides all the benefits of fleet in a business vehicle loan.

“Instead of rolling all your running costs into one lease payment, we’ll give you a VOOM card that can be used for fuel, maintenance, emergency tyre repair, even parking,” Muller said.

“You’ll still get one itemised statement each month. You’re in control of how the card is used and you can use that data to make smarter decisions about your ongoing expenses.”

And with no more receipts or expense reports at BAS time, that means one less painful job on your to do list as a business owner. Plus, a lot more certainty about the total operating cost of the vehicles that keep your business moving – whether it’s one car, five or more.

^http://www.sage.com/au/resources/insights-and-trends/2017/sweating-the-small-stuff