Believe it or not – the best time to begin thinking about remarketing a fleet of vehicles is during the model year selection process. It makes good sense to acquire new vehicles in the most popular colors, styles and with the options that will have the broadest appeal when they’re ready to sell. But it’s even more important to select the right size engine to do the job without being overloaded, which could create problems with the powertrain or other mechanical systems that would diminish resale value prematurely.
In addition, branding options can impact how easy it will be to sell the vehicle at the end of the lease. Instead of a custom paint job, choose vinyl wraps or magnetic signage that can be removed when the vehicle is ready to be remarketed. Also, spend a little extra on seat covers, cargo mats, vinyl bed liners, side panels, properly outfitted shelving and other items that will reduce wear and improve the appearance.
Working with a fleet management company that is decentralized can help maximize price and reduce costs by encouraging competition, improving access to the buying dealers and establishing strong relationships with each auction.
However, smart decisions about choosing vehicles may not be enough. It’s just as important to develop and enforce a driver policy that outlines in specific detail the company’s expectations for proper care and maintenance. Rewarding conscientious drivers should be a component of that policy. These steps can go a long way to ensure vehicles not only retain their resale value, but also continue to positively represent the company’s brand image when being driven on the road.
Another factor to consider is that holding onto older vehicles with higher mileage can end up being more expensive in the long run due to rising maintenance and fuel costs, frequent breakdowns and expired warranties. One way to better control these costs is to institute a replacement program with a professional fleet management company that is fully staffed with specially trained fleet remarketing professionals. They understand the importance of maximizing resale value and can help to acquire and replace vehicles in the most seamless, efficient and cost effective manner available.
A replacement program ensures vehicles are replaced at appropriate intervals to achieve optimum performance and the best resale value. It can include a detailed analysis that eliminates the guesswork by considering everything from the vehicle’s mileage, style, age and maintenance history to time of the year and current used car sales market. Working with a fleet management company that is decentralized can help maximize price and reduce costs by encouraging competition, improving access to the buying dealers and establishing strong relationships with each auction.
Last, but not least, any vehicle being remarketed will be more attractive if it is reconditioned. The need for larger repairs may be disclosed to the buyer, who can perform them at their discretion. However, small repairs, detailing, paintless dent removal and related services will improve a vehicle’s appearance, and the return can be more than double what is spent upfront to ensure it looks most appealing. For many businesses, a fleet of vehicles represents one of their largest costs. While saving money on vehicle acquisitions is a key way to cut costs, business owners also need to consider long-term decisions such as how to save money on the back end of a vehicle’s life cycle.
Mark Corrao is Assistant Vice President-Remarketing for Enterprise Fleet Management. Enterprise Fleet Management, a full-service fleet management company for businesses with mid-size fleets, is an affiliate of Enterprise Holdings.