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Andy Brown's blog - 18 September: Could you get more when you sell your fleet?

Date: 18 September 2015

Andy Brown is managing director of CD Fleet Services

Recently a friend was telling me about his experience of returning his company car at the end of its contract.

On a wet and windy afternoon a driver come inspector arrived at to the office to examine the car for dents, scratches and bumps.

It must have been a hapless task, visually inspecting an unwashed car with a wet hand-held device ticking off a checklist and trying to get it done before driving off to the auction house to get the car sold the next week.

It got me wondering how much money is lost not getting accurate condition reports and poorly preparing vehicles before selling them.

End-of-lease charges reflect the loss of value in the vehicle to the leasing company when it is returned in a poorer condition than originally contracted (BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines) and invariably this leads to the owner of the vehicle suffering a decrease in value of the vehicle against guide prices for the vehicle as a result of a failure by the driver to use, maintain and look after the vehicle and its equipment.

As an online auction business providing high quality and accurate vehicle information to remarket vehicles for our vendor's condition becomes even more important. We know from speaking to our customers that often they are not getting accurate condition reports when vehicles come to the end of their contract. Damage is being missed, vehicle values are being affected. It is costing fleets money and leading to disputes with drivers and fleet managers.

Whether the driver is penalised for the undue damage over fair wear and tear or not, it is still a cost to a business, whether it be for the contract hire or leasing company or for a business running their own fleet. And at a time of when businesses are struggling to rein in the cost of company cars it's a cost fleet managers can ill afford to ignore.

We've been encouraging our customers to insist on using fully-trained and experienced vehicle inspectors, getting accurate condition reports, which enables them to make sensible, costed decisions.

I've seen close at hand the value of working with specialist inspectors  who are experienced, ex-body shop managers, who carry out thorough, unhurried inspections supported by a swift collection service, rather than working with drivers who have received some damage inspection training and really want to get on with their core role of moving the vehicle.

As a leading provider of online remarketing services, we recognise the importance of accurate inspections to the fleet and leasing industry, which is why we developed our own Inspect & Collect service. In today's market it's essential to know what condition fleet vehicles are in for a number of very good reasons but ultimately, end of life cars returned in poor condition equals reduced sales proceeds.