Five ways to finance your vehicles

Businesses of all sizes across the country need fleets of vehicles to keep their goods and employees moving.

Those vehicles need to be funded – and that can be a challenge; with big implications for your workload, your balance sheet and your bottom line. Fortunately, there is a range of vehicle financing options available to suit your business’ particular needs.

Here’s a quick run-down of some of the ways you can finance your fleet:

Contract Hire

Vehicle Contract Hire is popular with personal drivers. It may also be ideal if you’re a sole trader, or a business with a small-to-large fleet of vehicles.

Vehicle Contract Hire is probably the most straightforward way to fund your vehicles. You simply decide on the vehicles you need, the length of contract you want and the number of miles you expect to cover, and then agree a fixed amount to pay each month, along with an initial payment of your choice. This avoids the need to tie up capital in your fleet, and can make budgeting easier because you know exactly how much you’ll be spending on vehicles each month. You can choose from personal or business Contract Hire, depending on whether the vehicles will be used for personal or business purposes.

The leasing provider retains ownership of the vehicles, meaning that there’s no need to worry about depreciation. You can also ask them to take care of servicing and maintaining your fleet for an added monthly cost, saving you the time, hassle and unexpected costs this can involve. What’s more, if you choose business Contract Hire, you may also be able to reclaim VAT on your monthly lease payments.

It is worth noting that excess mileage charges or wear and tear recharges may apply at the end of your lease, if you exceed your contract mileage or don’t return your vehicle in accordance with the BVRLA’s Fair Wear and Tear Guidelines.

Sale and Leaseback

Sale and Leaseback can be a good option for small businesses, specialist asset operators or large corporate fleets who are in need of a cash injection to focus on other aspects of their business, and new vehicles.

If you currently own your vehicles, a leasing company can buy them from you and lease them back to you for a fixed period of time and fixed monthly cost. This can give your business a cash injection to invest in what you need most.

Suppose an organisation is operating a fleet of vehicles that it has bought outright. Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions would buy those vehicles from the organisation and lease them back to it, with an agreement that’s designed to deliver particular service levels during that period.

However, very few Sale and Leaseback arrangements take place without some vehicles being replaced. Many fleets contain a number of vehicles that need upgrading to newer models, so a new fleet strategy exercise can be carried out. This would be based on factors such as new manufacturer technology and innovation, and would aim to improve efficiency, productivity and road safety.

Salary Sacrifice

Salary sacrifice schemes can be popular with medium or large businesses; empowering employees with the option to lease a company vehicle out of their salary.

Instead of leasing or purchasing all your vehicles as a business, you could enable your employees to lease their own through a Salary Sacrifice scheme. The employee gives up a portion of their salary in exchange for their new car. They benefit from the enhanced buying power of corporate schemes, as well as having maintenance, insurance and other costs rolled into a single, fixed monthly payment.

It used to be that the salary sacrifice was exempt from both Income Tax and employer’s National Insurance Contributions, with employees paying a lower amount in Company Car Tax instead. But the Government changed that in April 2017, so only ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) now attract those tax breaks. However, under the new rules, only the amount that goes towards financing the car itself counts for Income Tax and National Insurance purposes. Maintenance, insurance, road tax and other costs are all excluded, meaning that there are still tax savings to be made on a large number of Salary Sacrifice cars.

Employee Car Ownership

Employee Car Ownership schemes are another way for medium or large businesses to implement a car choice scheme for their employees.

An Employee Car Ownership (ECO) scheme is another way of allowing your employees to buy or lease their own cars. This is where an employee pays a monthly fee for their choice of car – usually from a selection offered by their employer.

ECO could be the most tax-efficient option for your business, depending on the precise make-up and functions of your fleet. However, the legislation around ECO schemes can be complicated, and HMRC has to approve each one individually. It’s therefore always worth getting some advice from your provider if you’re looking to set one up. It’s also worth bearing in mind that, since employees own the cars themselves, it may not be as easy to re-allocate your vehicles when your business goes through change.

Perk Schemes

Perk schemes can be worth considering for medium to large organisations who are looking to enhance their employee benefits or membership package.

Perk schemes can be a good way of providing a range of different vehicle funding options to your employees or members, all in one place. You can offer them everything from Personal Contract Hire to company cars, giving them complete control over which option to choose (subject to credit and eligibility). They can also benefit from discounted rates from the leasing company.

There are different types of schemes that will appeal to different organisations. Here are two that we offer:

Employee perk scheme

  1. A car benefits policy that helps to attract and retain the very best talent
  2. Give all your employees the option of leasing a brand new vehicle (subject to credit approval)
  3. The leasing company underwrites the individual
  4. Benefit from enhanced buying power and exclusive rates through your leasing provider
  5. Choose which options you wish to provide: Salary Sacrifice, Personal Contract Hire, ULEVs, Buy a Used Car and more

Membership scheme

  1. A member benefits policy that can help to attract and retain new members
  2. Give all your members the option to lease a brand new vehicle (subject to credit approval)
  3. Can provide an enhanced revenue stream for your organisation
  4. Benefit from enhanced buying power and exclusive rates through your leasing provider
  5. The leasing company can underwrite the individual or the organisation


We’re here to help.

These are just a few of the things that you will need to consider when deciding which financing option is right for your fleet. Every business’s situation is different, and fine-tuning the details to suit your needs is crucial. We at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions are here to offer all the information and support you need to make the best choice, at every step of the way.

Please fill out the form below if you would like to find out more about any of the above options. Together we can help drive your business forward.