Sam Sterry's blog: Is 2019 the year to change the thinking on mobility?
10 December 2018
Europcar Mobility Group's head of SME looks at the options for businesses who want to keep staff on the road, without making long-term commitments.
As we head towards 2019 - and wonder about the impact of political decisions that are way beyond our 'pay grade' - businesses need to find ways to keep motoring. And right now it seems that many businesses are stuck between a rock and a hard place. How do they keep people and goods on the road - but without making long term commitments to new vehicles?
Accessing the latest car isn't that different from getting hold of a mobile phone, these days. People are less likely to buy a car and run it into the ground. Instead, modern consumers update their car like they might their mobile because they want the latest model with the latest technology. And savvy businesses are doing the same - turning away from ownership.
Long-term rental can deliver real advantages for small businesses. We all know that company cars are a key benefit for firms wanting to attract and retain talent, but they are also a potential drain on resources, putting pressure on business budgets. Rather than tying up finances in three- to four-year finance agreements for company cars, long term rental offers businesses a flexible alternative that also tackles the bottom-line impact of higher VED charges and increases in benefit in kind (BIK) taxes expected for early 2019.
Long-term rental offers SMEs increased flexibility. Without the pressure of upfront costs and a choice of contract lengths, smaller firms get all the benefits they need to offer staff access to the latest models and stay in control of their costs, when it comes to mileage and tax changes. Crucially, long-term rental means staff are driving well-maintained vehicles, lifting some of the burden of duty of care off the shoulders of fleet managers. In addition, with the choice of the latest makes and models, through long-term hire businesses can harness the latest motoring technology to enhance the efficiency of their fleet without any of the costs and burdens of ownership.
But long-term rental isn't the only solution SMEs should be considering. They should also be challenging convention on mobility as a whole. Is a vehicle driven by one employee always the best solution? If a business considers patterns of behaviour as a whole, they can ensure the optimal solution is being deployed - from personal car ownership (grey fleet), to public transport, company fleet, rental, car-pooling, car club or taxi. And they should be looking for a partner that can deliver all those options from one platform.
The mantra for SMEs in 2019 has to be 'flexible, cost-effective and no strings' and they need to find partners that will help them achieve that when it comes to staying on the road.