Finding the right commercial vehicle supplier could literally make or break a startup, and choosing the wrong supplier can be a long-term thorn in the side of even a well-established organization. You need one who can not only supply high quality vehicles and related services at a price you can afford, but also offers the customer support you need to meet all of your own company’s client and vendor obligations.
If that sounds daunting, you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve written these five tips to help you choose the right commercial vehicles supplier for you and your business.
Determine exactly what you need
If you turn up unprepared, there is both a danger that you will have overlooked a crucial requirement, and the possibility that a skilled salesman could steer you into a package that is ore beneficial to the supplier than to your business. Talk with everyone who holds a stake in the process in your end, and craft a solid list of requirements before you begin talking to suppliers.
Research the suppliers well
After getting your requirements sorted, you’ll want to work up a short list of suppliers. You can start by Googling the potential suppliers in your area. Don’t take everything on their website at face value, of course, but if their website makes them look disorganized, unprofessional or unprepared to meet your needs, there is an excellent chance that is true.
The next thig to research is independent testimonials from their current and former clients. Finally, try to contact some of those clients and ask how the supplier’s performance stacks up to their promises.
Get quotes form every supplier on your short list, at a minimum
Give them the requirements document you developed in step 1, and ask them what it would cost. Even if you already know who you’d prefer to work with, you can often get a better price by telling them you got a better offer elsewhere, but would rather work with them if they could come down a bit.
However, do not choose based solely on price. If the supplier cannot offer the exact vehicles, support or other services you require, they aren’t a good choice even if they are the cheapest.
Ask all the questions
Now that you have a list of quotes, ask the suppliers about anything that might affect their performance or your ability to make the most of their services. Ask about support, ask what costs extra and what is included, ask if they have in-house engineers and mechanics, or if they outsource. Ask how old their fleet is generally, and how old the vehicles you’d be receiving are. Press them hard about any hidden costs.
Trust your gut
Sometimes one supplier seems like the best choice by any metric – cost, services, reliability – but you simply don’t trust them. Believe in that instinct, and make sure you select a supplier you really feel comfortable working with.