A beginner’s guide to car leasing

family_carSupplying your workforce with a company car can be a costly business, but one way to reduce that expense is leasing. While buying a fleet of cars means tying your business to a contract or hire purchase arrangement, leasing offers more flexibility. Contract hire and finance leasing are among the options, with a different set of tax breaks to consider.

Typically a leasing policy could see a vehicle hired for the duration of the contract fall under your company’s ownership by the end of the lease period – usually three years or 60,000 miles. And although some packages come with strict terms that cover car maintenance, a maintenance contract can be added to the monthly cost of a car lease, to make caring for your car hassle-free, especially for high-mileage vehicles (check out What Car’s guide to maintenance packages here).

If you’re thinking of leasing company cars, here are the plans to consider. As The Daily Telegraph points out, you could make substantial savings.

Contract hire

Probably the most popular form of leasing company cars. A vehicle is leased with a mileage cap and for a fixed time frame, after which the car is returned. An up-front fee, usually of three months’ rental, is paid, followed by monthly payments for the duration of the lease period.

Pluses? The company sidesteps the risks of owning the vehicles, such as a lower than anticipated resale value, while maintenance costs are often taken care of. However, that could mean the company misses out if a car has a higher than predicted resale value, and that cheaper maintenance options are unavailable.

But the biggest draw is that the car is never owned. Therefore it can be claimed as a business expense in tax returns.

Finance lease

Rather like buying a car personally using a finance deal, this arrangement means you ‘buy’ the car for a set period by paying off a loan month by month. These monthly payments can be reduced should you opt to pay a larger chunk at the end of the lease period. At the end of the deal you have the option of paying a small fee to keep the vehicle on – although you still won’t technically own it.

A portion of the charges your company pays can be offset against tax.

Hire purchase

Just as if you were making a personal purchase, this is a straightforward plan that begins with a deposit and is completed by paying a certain amount each month until the car becomes your company’s property. Since the loan is secured using the vehicle, it stands to be repossessed should you fall behind on payments.

Any depreciation and the interest on the fees you pay can be claimed against tax.


Contract purchase

This is a lease combined with a service fee for maintenance, which the leasing company carries out. After a set number of the monthly payments, as well as one larger, final payment, the vehicle becomes the company’s property. It can then be sold back to the leasing company at an agreed price.

 

 

5 Tips To Improve Your Businesses Health And Safety On The Road

roadThere are two key mistakes you can make when thinking about health and safety in the workplace.

Firstly, you can allow yourself to be sucked in by the pervading myths surrounding the term. These are the surprisingly widespread views that anything from conkers to custard pies, selfie sticks and paperclips are banned under the banner of health and safety. Being sucked in by such stories will cause you to become sidetracked from what is both common sense, and indeed the law, and do little to actually boost safety.

Secondly, you can get sucked into thinking health and safety in the workplace simply refers to the confines of the office. A big chunk of businesses require their employees to travel – whether that’s to attend meetings, to perform a service ‘off site’ or to deliver goods. [Read more…]

Business airports in London: How it could affect your business

business_airportMany mums in business need to travel to exhibitions to promote their products or source supplies, and even if you don’t do this, you may take flights to go on holiday. Whether you take flights regularly or not, if you’re running a UK business then you could be affected by the London airport debate.

The issue of London’s airport capacity is one that refuses to go away. There have been various wars of words in recent years between a number of prominent figures, but what are the arguments about? What are the implications for British business of proposed action or inaction? And could restrictions at the capital’s air hubs see foreign investors transfer money abroad instead of the UK?

Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, City, Southend… London is not the only city in the world to have multiple airports bearing its name, but few have quite so many. Heathrow is regarded as the jewel in the crown (not just London’s, but the UK’s) however the well known hub has been a victim of its own success in many ways.

The problem is capacity – what started as a humble aerodrome in 1929 has grown and grown into a British icon, but beyond the much trumpeted 2008 addition of Terminal 5 space is pretty much running out. This means that the airport will struggle to increase its offerings in terms of routes and frequencies.

The slip is starting to show. In 2014 Heathrow lost its coveted position as busiest airport in the world in terms of passenger numbers. Dubai, with over 52 million such passengers in the year, took the title and while Heathrow still saw some growth in this market the rate appeared to lag behind most of the other airports in the top 10.

That top 10 includes the Euro hubs of Paris Charles de Gaulle, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Istanbul. All should give cause for concern to London’s aviation chiefs. Amsterdam and Frankfurt are one airport towns, each accommodating a huge range of airlines and therefore giving international business travellers easier connectivity. While Charles de Gaulle has some competition in greater Paris, the passenger base is spread nowhere near as thinly as it is in south east England. Istanbul meanwhile has the potential to do just as well as Dubai, as its flagship Turkish Airlines expands its route network from west to east.

On top of the commercial threats from abroad, Britain’s own regional airports are growing impatient. Birmingham Airport has been particularly proactive in seeking to establish itself as an alternative to London for long haul carriers, while airports in Scotland and the north of England are decreasing their reliance on London links by forging new routes to overseas hubs.

With London’s air supremacy being undermined on many fronts the fear now is that there could be a knock on effect in other areas of business. Will corporations invest in Frankfurt instead? Will tourists choose the Eiffel Tower over Big Ben?

To keep London thriving as a global centre for trade, currency banking, industry, tourism and much more it would appear that something needs to be done to keep the capital’s air infrastructure at the top of its game. The big question is how – by further expanding the likes of Gatwick, or by starting from scratch with a brand new London airport for the future?

 

First Business Trip? How To Conquer Homesickness

business trave smalllNo matter how many times you have to say goodbye to your loved ones, it never gets any easier. When you are in an unfamiliar environment, and especially if you are travelling on your own, loneliness can sink in quickly and put you out of spirits – which is neither good for your state of mind nor your business acumen.

If you are only going away for a couple of days, you are likely to be busy preparing for and giving presentations as well as meeting clients. While this can be stressful, it also means you will probably be too busy to realise you’re missing people at home. However, if you are travelling for longer, homesickness can be a problem.

Whether you are going on your first ever business trip or your fiftieth; whether you are leaving your partner for a few days or an entire brood of little ones for a week, here are a few tips on keeping homesickness at bay while travelling for business.

Time’s a healer

The first thing to understand is that the opening few days are going to be tough, especially if this is your first business trip far away from home. However, you’ll find as time passes that you get accustomed to your new surroundings and begin to make the most of them. [Read more…]

5 easy steps to cut the cost of driving

For many of us, driving is a necessary part of our everyday lives. But with the average car costing us around £3,000 per year, it can be a highly expensive necessity.

However, with a bit of careful driving, the right car and the right car insurance, you can ease the cost of driving considerably. So here is our easy five-point guide to cutting the cost of driving. [Read more…]

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