THE small fleet needs for more information via online management reporting and flexibility of invoicing has grown since the end of 2007, reports apd’s Paul Turner.
SMALL businesses increasingly want flexibility of invoicing and online management reporting from leasing companies.
These are similar in nature to those services required by larger companies.
Until recently, the ability of leasing companies to meet these needs was much lower on a list of nine key attributes small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) required from a leasing company.
These findings are taken from our rolling ‘Landmark’ survey of business users during 2007 and Q1 2008.
The biggest mover for SMEs was the ability of a lease company to provide flexible and accurate invoicing, up six places from last year.
This was followed by the SME requirement for greater levels of management reporting, up three places from 2007.
What factors are influencing these changes?
Owners of small businesses place an increasing premium on the accuracy of invoicing. Influencing this opinion were: wrongly calculated rental agreements; inaccurate refurbishment charges; excess mileage and incidental charges for parking fines and congestion charging.
The importance placed on getting invoicing right explains why leasing companies, who have online reporting suites available to small, as well as large fleets, are having an effect on the criteria set by SMEs.
The ability to track and identify costs earlier during the lifetime of a contract has become a key requirement of smaller companies. They need to control overheads in these challenging times.
One factor heading in the other direction was the importance of brand in influencing the choice of a supplier, down three places.
It follows a trend among 50–200 size fleets polled in the same survey.
With this group, brand rated slightly higher than SMEs but was also down three places – a clear signal that factors such as good service rather than high media visibility are seen as more important.
The table below shows the factors by rank wanted by SMEs – with figures in brackets showing the ranking of the same factor by larger companies in the same survey.
What do SMEs look for in a leasing company?
1 (2) Speed of response to quotation requests
2 (6) Flexibility and accuracy of invoicing
3 (3) Order and delivery updates
4 (5) Management reporting
5 (7) Online services
6 (1) Knowledge and competency of staff
7 (4) Proactive account management
8 (8) Brand image
9 (9) International coverage
Source apd Landmark CSI 2007 rolling survey of fleet decision makers, sample 11,500
- For more information on the survey visit www.apd-rd.com