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What to look for when leasing a car for business

beautiful couple in car dealership chooses car 2022 02 02 22 05 45 utc
beautiful couple in car dealership chooses car 2022 02 02 22 05 45 utc


24 October 2023

Leasing a car for your business can make a lot of financial sense. But to make sure you pick the right lease, there’s some key stuff you have to look at closely. Here is a breakdown of 20 factors to look out for:

  1. Lease Term: Settle on the length of lease you need. Options usually range from 2 years to 5 years according to First Vehicle Leasing. Know if you want to be driving this vehicle long term or switch rides more often.
  2. Monthly Payments: Then pay attention to the monthly cost. That monthly payment has to fit your business budget. Look at it extra close if your cash flow varies season to season.
  3. Mileage Allowance: Mileage limits matter too. Leases only allow so many miles per year typically, and going over means big penalties. Know how many miles you realistically need so you pick a realistic limit.
  4. Residual Value: Understand residual value – that’s what the leasing company thinks the car will be worth when your lease ends. It determines the monthly cost, so know how they calculate it.
  5. Upfront Payment: Upfront fees like down payments might come into play. Save and plan for them.
  6. Maintenance Package: See if routine maintenance like oil changes is included or if that’s on you. Bundle it if you can to make life easier.
  7. Early Termination Fees: Also be crystal clear on what happens if you need to end the lease early. Don’t get stuck with monster termination fees!
  8. Gap Insurance: Think about protection like gap insurance in case the car gets totaled. You don’t want to get left owing money.
  9. End of Lease Options: When the lease wraps up, you’ll likely have options to buy it, return it, or lease another. Map out your game plan.
  10. Wear and Tear Standards: And you better believe they’ve got rules on wear and tear – so understand what damages you’ll get dinged for when you turn the car back in.
  11. Lease Type: Different lease types like open-end or closed-end have pros and cons too – talk to the leasing agent about what’s best for your situation.
  12. Transferability: See if you can transfer the lease to another person if needed. This gives you flexibility.
  13. Tax Implications: Also understand any tax implications where you operate. Leasing can impact deductions so do your homework.
  14. Purchase Option: Take a look at whether you’ve got the option to buy the wheels when the lease ends. Some leases let you purchase at the residual value, and others don’t give you that choice. Figure out what’ll work best for your situation.
  15. Total Lease Cost: Be sure you calculate the total cost over the entire lease term too. Tally up monthly payments, fees, down payment – the whole enchilada. That full number is critical to understand before signing.
  16. Excess Wear Fees: Here’s another big one – know what excess wear and tear will cost you. Let’s say you return the car with big scratches, stains on the carpet or car mats, or worn tires. You better believe the lease company can ding you with fat fees for that damage. Ask for specifics so you aren’t surprised later.
  17. Security Deposit: While we’re talking money, find out if you need to put down a security deposit and whether you get it back. One more potential cost to factor in.
  18. Additional Fees: You’ll also want to account for miscellaneous fees – documentation fees when signing, acquisition charges, turn-in fees when the lease ends. Those extras add up.
  19. Insurance Requirements: On the insurance front, the leasing company may require you carry certain minimum coverage. Make sure your policy meets the levels they mandate.
  20. Restrictions: Last but not least, peek for any restrictions on customizing your ride or how you can use it. Like if ridesharing is prohibited. Don’t get saddled with limitations you can’t live with!

Bottom line – read ALL the fine print and get any questions answered before signing. Don’t rush into a lease or let a sales guy pressure you. Making the right choice for your business is too important!


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Business Motoring is the motoring resource for small businesses and SME small fleets running company cars and business cars.

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