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Vasiliy Ustinov
Vasiliy Ustinov

Buying A Car For A Small Business ((FREE))

This article was co-authored by Gina D'Amore and by wikiHow staff writer, Jennifer Mueller, JD. Gina D'Amore is a Financial Accountant and the Founder of Love's Accounting. With 12 years of experience, Gina specializes in working with smaller companies in every area of accounting, including economics and human resources. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Manhattanville College and a Bookkeeping Certificate from MiraCosta College. This article has been viewed 56,375 times.

buying a car for a small business

Whether you need a single vehicle to travel and meet with clients, a work truck to transport equipment to job sites, or a fleet of vehicles for delivery, purchasing a vehicle for business is slightly different than when you buy a car for personal use. Establish your business as a separate legal entity and build credit for that entity if you plan to lease or finance vehicles. Once you make the purchase, register and insure the vehicle in your company's name and use business funds to cover all vehicle expenses.[1]XResearch source

The main advantage of buying a new vehicle is that it typically includes a warranty. Having your company car under warranty saves you the headache and financial hardship of costly repairs. New cars need very few repairs in the first few years, reducing maintenance costs.

Pro tip: Always have a mechanic inspect a used vehicle before making a purchase decision. Check if services like the Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) are available in your area, which can help vet a used vehicle and provide business owners with more peace of mind.

Always factor in the interest and taxes on lease payments. These fees add up quickly and are often hidden in the small print on lease agreements and advertisements. While you may be able to negotiate some charges associated with leasing, the interest rates are usually fixed. Other fees to keep in mind when leasing include the down payment, security deposit, and administrative fees for paying your lease off early.

A vehicle used for business can be owned by either the business, business owner, or employee. Tax breaks can vary based on the ownership status of the vehicle. Talk to your accountant to figure out which ownership option makes the most sense for you.

If anyone in the business plans to use the car for personal use, this will also impact your eligibility to deduct certain business expenses. Learn more about the tax implications of registering your business vehicle so you can make the best option for you.

So, your small business is ready to get on the road! Whether you have a business geared at delivering goods or need to use a company car for transportation to and from meetings, it might be the right time to consider buying a vehicle.

Yet, a vehicle is a large purchase. Timing can also be critical to the operations of a small business. Depending on the size of your business, too, you might have some concerns about how this would affect your business. Tax implications from the IRS could be a benefit to your business, but if you use it for personal use as well, there might be concerns about the tax and cost implications on the company. Or, there might be great perks of having a company vehicle for your small business, but there could also be a large upfront cost or maintenance cost associated with its upkeep.

One of the first questions you should ask yourself is if a business car is really necessary for your business. The key factor for deciding whether your small business should purchase a car would be the frequency with which you use something another option in the present, like a personal vehicle.

While this might make intuitive sense, some people believe that they should get a business vehicle for the write-off benefits from taxes. Actually, this is a misconceived notion, as there are also ways to get tax deductions from using your personal vehicle for business. Thus, you should consider just how frequently you use your personal vehicle for your small business before continuing to think of the pros and cons of purchasing one for your business.

Making the decision to buy a car is not the only option if you frequently use a car for your business. Instead of buying a car outright, it is possible to lease a car. The advantage of leasing a car is that you can usually keep a relatively new car for your business. The payments you will have to make on a lease are lower, which gives your business greater flexibility with the unused cash. Moreover, the amount of risk you are taking on with lower monthly payments is lowered.

At the end of the lease, you can either turn in your car or buy it from the leasing company. This will depend on the lease and the leasing company. If this option sounds appealing to you, it would be a good idea to investigate it further rather than continuing with buying a vehicle outright. In any case, some of the same pros and cons of buying a vehicle might apply to leasing a vehicle.

If you are driving your personal vehicle around and you happen to get into an accident, your personal insurance will have to cover the damages and costs. This is one of the largest disadvantages of using a personal car for your small business. However, if you have a company car and use commercial auto insurance, you will be covered by the commercial insurance, even in the event that you are driving the car and are responsible for the accident.

A large benefit to having a company car is the tax benefits that come alongside it for small business owners. If you either own a car or have a car lease, you can get the cost of the purchase or the lease deducted from your tax obligations. Yet, the advantages do not just stop there. When you need to repair, maintain, or insure the company car, all of these expenses are tax-deductible.

Another reason to consider purchasing a vehicle for your small business is the ease of use of the option. Getting a company car provides a potentially more reliable option for business transportation and travel. If your personal car has reliability issues, a newer or more improved model of a company car may be exactly what you are looking for in a car. It can give you peace of mind while traveling to business meetings and conferences without the same worries that come along with using your personal car.

Moreover, if you have a family at home and have a limited amount of cars at home, a company car may provide greater flexibility in your personal and family life. You could use the company car instead of a personal car for business, placing less of a strain on trying to organize different people using different cars at the same time. This option might create less hassle for all those involved in your business-workers and otherwise.

In a way less commonly thought of, a company car can also make for an attractive employee benefit. While there are many ways of showing appreciation for your employees, giving them a company car or having them use a company car could be a great way to provide a benefit that is also very beneficial to the business.

If you are interested in potentially increasing employee benefits at your small business, a small business vehicle could be a great option. For employees, a company car could lower the costs of their commute, car maintenance, or auto insurance when trying to get to, from, or be at work. This could make employees happier, which could contribute to increased productivity or retention at your small business. Moreover, a perk like this could increase the likelihood of potential employees being attracted to join your small business.

When you are buying a car for your small business, you have financing options for your car through your company. You can leverage your company credit to get a loan on the company car. If you are able to be good about making payments on time, then your company credit can increase. This would be helpful for buying future business assets like offices, property, heavy machinery, or other things that would require you to finance. The vehicle that you purchase from a dealership takes the place of collateral for the loan.

Some of the biggest cons of purchasing a vehicle for business use are the large business expenses it incurs. For one, the upfront cost of purchasing any type of vehicle is not small. If you purchase a vehicle with cash, there is a large opportunity cost of capital. That capital could be deployed in a way that potentially helps your business more than spending it all outright on a business vehicle, especially if your business does not frequently require its use.

Another common method of purchasing a car for your company requires the use of debt. The upfront cost of the downpayment certainly presents an opportunity cost of capital, but it also creates a substantial liability on the balance sheet of the business in the form of a car loan.

This liability is contained in the outstanding monthly payments on a car loan the small business will have to make. If the small business has seasonal revenues or varied revenue, this could become a problem for the small business to meet its debt obligations.

There is another risk to a loan for a small business vehicle as well, in that it puts your small business credit or your personal credit on the line for the loan. If you anticipate potential problems with cash flow in the future, this could be a risk that is not worth it.

While one of the advantages of buying a company car is that it shifts your liability from your personal insurance and you to the small business and the company auto insurance policy, it is also true that the liability to the small business increases, especially as that car is used more. While this liability is transferred to the business and no new liability is necessarily created, it is important to consider and evaluate this transfer of liability in the context of deciding whether to purchase a vehicle for your small business.

If you are looking into buying a vehicle for your small business, you might wonder whether you should buy a new car or a used car. Similar to life outside of your small business, buying a new or used car also has pros and cons. They are especially important to consider in order to make the best financial decision. 041b061a72


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