What Is a Fleet Vehicle?
A fleet vehicle is a car that is owned by a commercial business or organization, like a government agency or rental company. Though they may be driven by many people, fleet vehicles tend to be well-maintained. After a fleet vehicle reaches a certain mileage or age, the company that owns it may sell it off to a private buyer.
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What is a fleet vehicle?
To provide employees with adequate transportation, some companies, government agencies and other types of organizations will keep fleet vehicles on site for staff to use for work-related tasks. Rental cars — like those sold by Enterprise — can also be considered a type of fleet vehicle, though not all fleet vehicles are rental cars.
Eventually, once a fleet vehicle hits a certain age or mileage, the business or organization will sell the car. Once this happens, these cars will be available to consumers to purchase.
Is it a good idea to buy a fleet vehicle?
For some consumers, buying a fleet vehicle may be a good idea. Fleet vehicles are typically well-maintained, have a clean vehicle history and are well cleaned before being sold. When buying a used car from a private seller, you won’t necessarily have these benefits.
If you need to get a car loan to back your purchase, then buying a fleet vehicle may be best for those with good credit. Auto loan lenders lean heavily on your credit score when deciding whether to approve you and what rates to offer you. Those with poor credit may have a difficult time qualifying for a loan and, if they do, may get stuck with high interest. However, there are bad credit car loans available on the market.
Pros and cons of buying a fleet vehicle
While buying a fleet vehicle may be a good fit for some consumers, it doesn’t mean it’s a perfect solution for everyone. Before buying a fleet vehicle, consider these benefits and drawbacks.
Comes with a comprehensive vehicle history
Typically well-maintained by mechanics
Car may last a long time, since it’s received regular maintenance
Cars are likely base models, so may not come with latest technology
Car warranty may have already expired or is close to it
May come with high mileage
May not be able to haggle on price
When you purchase a fleet vehicle, it often comes with a comprehensive history that can make it easier to track how the vehicle was maintained. On top of that, fleet vehicles often have regular checkups to ensure they’re running well, something a private party seller may not do.
On the other hand, fleet vehicles typically come as base models, meaning they may not come with the latest tech. And since the vehicle may also have considerable mileage on it, the car warranty may be almost up. You’ll also likely not be able to negotiate the car price which some consumers may prefer to do in order to save money.
Where do you find fleet vehicles for sale?
There are various websites and businesses you can visit to shop around to buy a fleet vehicle. In some cases, you may be able to find an option that’s listed well below its car value.
The following are some of the best places to buy used cars:
- Auctions: Some websites offer consumers the option to bid on used rental and municipal fleet vehicles either completely online or in-person. A bonus of using one of these services is that some auction brokers may connect you to auto loan lenders or mechanics to help in the car-purchasing process.
- Rental car companies: While car auctions may allow you to bid on price, rental car companies offer straightforward, no-haggle services. Common companies include Avis, Enterprise and Hertz. To streamline the process, some rental vehicle companies can connect you with financing options and allow you to trade in your vehicle.
- Websites specializing in government vehicles: Some websites — such as GovPlanet and Municibid — specifically cater to consumers interested in former government vehicles, ranging from cruisers to pickup trucks. You may be able to even find equipment like trailers and car parts. Some of these websites have auction-like approaches where you can bid on vehicles.
How to buy fleet vehicles
Depending on your auto loan lender and where you decide to buy your vehicle, the application process may look a little different. These are the general steps you may need to take when you buy a fleet vehicle:
- Check your credit score. This can give you a good idea of what lenders you may qualify with and what kind of auto loan rates you may expect. When you check your credit score, it shouldn’t be negatively impacted. You may also want to check your credit reports for any negative or incorrect activity that could be bringing it down.
- Create a budget. Once you’ve figured out your credit score, use a car affordability calculator to determine how much you can afford to pay for your car. You’ll need to figure out your desired monthly payment and estimated down payment or trade-in value. You’ll also need to know your credit score, how much you still owe and estimate your interest rate and potential loan terms.
- Get preapproved for a loan. Try to get preapproved for a car loan with at least three lenders to compare rates, terms and amounts. While a preapproval isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get a car loan, it can give you a good idea of what to expect.
- Choose a vehicle. Be sure to stick to your budget. Consider a used car inspection with a trusted mechanic to make sure the vehicle is in good working condition. You can also research a used vehicle’s history report. Once you find your dream car and commit to a loan — your final step — it’ll be yours.
- Close on your loan. Once you’re ready to officially buy a car, it’s time to verify the information you provided to your preferred auto lender and submit to a hard credit pull. This can cause your credit score to go down by a few points, but will allow your lender to judge your credit reports and officially approve your application. At the end of the process, you’ll need to close on your loan by signing a loan contract.