Buying Used Vehicles
If you don't want to use a vehicle you already own for your business, there
are numerous advantages to purchasing a used vehicle instead of a new one. The
main advantage is this: as soon as you drive a new vehicle off of a dealer's
lot, it immediately becomes worth much less than the price you paid for it. In
fact, it is not unusual for a vehicle with just 10,000 miles on it to be worth
several thousand dollars less than a new car of the same model.
We strongly discourage you from buying a brand new vehicle, especially if you
are just starting out in business.
Here are some tips that our
auto experts offer about purchasing used vehicles:
- When you find a vehicle that you are thinking about buying, research its
value in a "blue book." Be wary if you are being charged
significantly above book value. "Book value" is the amount that an
auto dealer's guide says that a vehicle of a given make, model, and year is
worth. Book values are usually compiled by polling a number of dealers to
find out what prices they have been getting for vehicles they have recently
- Have any vehicle inspected by a mechanic you trust before buying it.
- Use any "defects" that your mechanic finds in the vehicle to
negotiate a lower price.
- Get any warranty information — especially guarantees that the vehicle
will pass emission and safety inspections — up front and in writing. Most
dealers are required to provide this under state and federal laws.
If you are concerned about whether a used vehicle that you
purchase will be reliable, you should consider downloading a
copy of the checklist
for evaluating used vehicles from the Business Tools
Many items on this checklist are self-explanatory and you can
carry the list with you when you visit dealer lots or explore
advertisements in the newspaper.
For those items on the list that you don't understand, you
may wish to consult the opinion of a mechanic whom you trust.