So now you know the basics of fleet management. You have a basic understanding of the ins and outs and have a good idea of what kind of lease best fits your needs. Now you need to put that out to bid. The problem is different fleet management companies have different quoting standards. Some are incredibly meticulous and others write their quotes on a napkin. To compare quotes with any amount of confidence, the best scenario is to have apples-to-apples comparisons. Easier said than done. This is a Catch-22. You want to have solid numbers you can manipulate in a spreadsheet for a clean comparison, but you also don’t want to stifle the creativity of the fleet management company. What’s a sourcer to do? There are certain bits of information you should request that will make a comparison of quotes easier and will not tie the hands of the fleet management provider.

MSRP vs. Invoice Price: This is as basic as it gets. You want to be able to see the discount available by buying from the factory, not the dealer. Although this sounds simplistic, it can expose discrepancies in quotes. If you’re asking for a vehicle quote and one provider comes in a grand or two below everyone else, you want to dig in to that. Is that provider not being honest or is everyone else gouging you? Having those hard numbers gives you the best market information and can provide you with solid leveraging fire power.

Depreciation Factor: This is a dynamic element. You’re not beholden to the fleet provider on this one. You can determine based on the anticipated use of the vehicle what the depreciation percent is. This gets technical beyond what I can post in a five-minute blog, but be sure to ask for this percent and don’t be shy about negotiating it.

Interest: Be sure you get the interest percentage in any quote. Also, know whether or not the interest is factored into the principal on a monthly basis or is calculated on the lump sum of the amount financed.

Monthly Schedule of Payments: This is the best way to figure out the lifecycle cost of a vehicle. This is not an unreasonable request either. Going back to the interest factor, some companies will put the interest cost upfront and will make the monthly payment a consistent amount. Others will have the interest on a sliding scale monthly or annually. This makes for more migraines than a bottle of black label can handle. Knowing the interest factor and how it’s assessed will make spreadsheeting everything much easier. At the end of the day, you want the lifecycle cost of the vehicle. Put the onus on the fleet manager as much as you possibly can.

Insurance: Few fleet managers provide insurance. Most will refer your fleet to a broker. There are pros and cons to this. The pro is this approach utilizes regional variations. If your fleet is mostly suburban, it makes more sense to insure all vehicles based on their local municipality. Insurance rates can be drastically cheaper in the burbs. If your fleet is mainly metropolitan or a mix, it can be better to pool the amount of insurance across the fleet and get a better price that way. Do what you can to nail down a quote from a fleet provider who won’t insure your fleet in house.

Extras: Fleet management providers will throw in a bunch of value-ads to entice you. This is fairly standard. The usual suspects are fuel management, maintenance, auto vehicle registration renewal, yada yada yada. These offerings are more of a convenience than anything else. Make sure your quote breaks all of this out. This is more of a minor detail, but it can make the difference between apples-to-apples and apples-to-oranges.
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Jazzy Sourcer

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