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Kevin O'Keeffe's blog: Long-term rental can be a good alternative to vehicle ownership

Date: 20 March 2017

Long-term car and van hire doesn't have to act simply as a stop-gap when company vehicles are off the road. Businesses could be reaping cost savings, along with added flexibility, by switching from vehicle ownership as a whole.

Depreciation is the bane of any fleet manager's life, with good resale values dependent on condition and mileage, never mind the additional hassle of having to find the right buyer.  Instead, long-term vehicle hire allows businesses to free up cash they may otherwise have spent outright on vehicle purchase, delivering real savings from day one.  And it means a depreciating asset can be removed from the company's books, enabling that cash to be turned into working capital at any point.

With Brexit looming and the uncertainty that could bring, SMEs and businesses running smaller fleets want the flexibility to cut back on some costs. And they need to be agile enough to change the shape of their business to service the changing needs of their clients, ideally without incurring more costs.

Crucially, opting for long-term vehicle hire allows companies to increase or decrease the size of their fleet and change the type of vehicles they have access to, as their needs change.

And some vehicle hire providers, like Europcar, are even going a step further by making highly specialised vehicles available at short notice for long term requirements.   As a result, smaller firms can gain access to a wide range of specialised vehicles to keep on fleet, rather than have the hassle of sending them back after every job.

And when it comes to financial commitment, long-term rental offers important benefits for small firms.  Understandably, it's easy to think that long-term rental means signing up for a long-term financial commitment, but the most flexible providers offer a set monthly fee with no early termination charges.

And that means, with access to the latest technology in young vehicles, businesses can focus on the efficiency of their fleet to reduce their carbon footprint and take control of running costs.