Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Look at Your Options When Leasing

January 2002, by Steve Elliott, Executive Editor

If you've decided that leasing is the way to go for your company vehicles, it's time to make another important decision: choosing among the leasing options available to you.National lessors and local dealers both have their good points. And there's also an often-overlooked third option: local independent leasing companies. These local companies have been successfully serving the small fleet market for decades.Choosing a Lessor
How do you know what a particular lessor offers? Which ones offer the kinds of service you need for your company vehicles? Ask questions about how they do their business, how they do their ordering, and who takes care of the titling, tagging, and tickets. If you want a maintenance or fuel program, find out if a particular lessor has that option available.Talk to several different prospective lessors, and give them the opportunity to show what they can do. Ask for references, then follow through by talking to companies the lessor is dealing with. Are their clients happy?Experience and Expertise
A good leasing company can, in effect, serve as your fleet manager. This can be important if you don't have enough time to adequately do the job yourself - a likely scenario since many of you have multiple responsibilities in addition to managing company vehicles.The right leasing company can help you set up the specifications for your vehicles. They can help you decide when to order vehicles, and when to replace them. They can help with your selector list, and they can give you advice on income tax issues.One aspect not to be overlooked is, a good leasing company can help you avoid making bad leasing decisions. Their recommendations are based on such common-sense factors as resale value and reliability.You Need an Advocate
One sometimes overlooked function of a good lessor is acting as your advocate. If you're running into a warranty problem where, for example, a vehicle is only slightly out of warranty and something significant has gone wrong, a good leasing company will run interference for you with the manufacturer and the dealer. This can often result in warranty exceptions being made in your favor.The role of small fleet advocate can also be a very helpful trait in your lessor at lease end. A good lessor will make every effort to obtain maximum residual value on a finance or TRAC lease so that you, their customer, don't have to pay out-of-pocket on the back end of the deal.Some lessors will actually hold onto a vehicle, at their expense, if it doesn't sell at the auction for what they think it should. The lessor will, at that point, either rerun it through another auction or start calling vehicle wholesalers.Price and Value
When choosing a lessor, look beyond the monthly rates to the value offered. Of course it's important that your lessor offers competitive pricing, but the payment isn't always the real bottom line. Look carefully at the services you'll be receiving and what those services are worth to you.
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