Can An Electric Car Be A Smart Business Move?

As a busy professional, when was the last time you made a decision that was able to save you both time and money?

If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve worked hard developing your business plan, raising capital, developing products, and building relationships. Working professionals in today’s 24/7 world are equally busy and stressed, where emails never stop, and client demands are always high-stakes.

Let’s be honest, it’s challenging to perform at the top of your game while still striking an optimal work-life balance. It also means squeezing more value out of each dollar spent and trying to find more time during your day, a challenge made even more difficult for companies trying to grow during COVID lockdowns.

At Steer, we feel your pain, and we want to help! A lot of small business owners and business professionals are exploring car subscriptions as an exciting, smart alternative to buying or leasing their cars. Steer offers electric and hybrid vehicles on a month-to-month basis, that will protect business owners from blowing up a budget, will give back busy professionals precious time, and is focused on saving business owners money, all while also contributing to a safer, greener planet.

Check out the top reasons for your business to ditch the dealership and embrace a subscription model today.

Let’s start with the basics.

 

What is an Electric Car Subscription?

 

As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog, Steer is an electric car subscription service that offers consumers an alternative to buying, leasing, or renting a car. Subscriptions allow you the ability to pay a flat fee in order to access a variety of vehicles without retaining ownership.

For the modern-day business professional, the ability to pay one, transparent fee that allows access to a fleet of the most modern, tech-forward electric and hybrid cars on the market, will impress clients while also providing great safety features like blind-spot sensing and adaptive cruise control (aka AutoPilot in Tesla parlance). This smart financial move also provides peace-of-mind, so you can focus on day-to-day operations. 

Steer‘s fleet includes the world’s leading brands, including Tesla, Toyota, Nissan, Porsche, Jaguar, Audi, BMW, and more. The flat subscription fee includes insurance, maintenance, repairs, unlimited miles, charging solutions (both in-home and on the road), and access to a concierge service that will deliver cars directly to you. In addition, you can swap into a different vehicle at any time, meaning you never have to commit to just one car—you can drive the entire fleet! 

But, we’ll get to that. Let’s dive into how your career or business can benefit from an EV subscription service. 

 

Benefit #1: Flexibility & Time-Saver

 

If driving is part of your regular work routine, you have to determine the best car for the job today – what size, what style, how much you should spend – based on where you think your business or career will be in 3-5 or even ten years. But what if you didn’t have to commit?  

A Steer subscription provides cars on a month-to-month basis, giving you ultimate flexibility to shift as your job or business needs change – whether means different sizes or kinds of cars (you can swap into different vehicles at-will), if you will be traveling extensively (you can pause), if you have to change pricing plans (Premier, Preferred, or Practical), or even cancel. You’re not locked into a single car for an extended period of time, and this flexibility is precious for some of our members. Two of our members, a couple who owns and operates a local fitness gym, found Steer to be a perfect solution to avoid being locked into a long term commitment. 

While we have touched on the benefits of Steer’s all-inclusive pricing structure, we believe that the value this delivers to the small business owners and professionals is unmatched. 

One of the primary benefits of Steer is its hassle-free sign-up and vehicle swap process. To reiterate: when you join Steer, you don’t commit to owning a vehicle. What you do commit to is paying a month-to-month, all-inclusive fee that gives you access to a fleet of cars and a number of additional services such as insurance, roadside assistance, charging (for EVs and hybrids), maintenance and repairs—the list goes on. Approved drivers are covered by Steer’s insurance policy and are responsible for a deductible for any major accident. You pay a one-time activation charge upon sign-up, but avoid any significant down payments and registration and titling fees. As a business professional, this puts you in control and gives you back time to focus on things that matter. 

Speaking of time, imagine qualifying for cars from the comfort of your own home or business, and having the car delivered right to your door. This is what you get with a Steer subscription. Choose the subscription plan that best fits your needs and apply for membership. There is no haggling, no time wasted at the dealership, and no script to memorize before talking to a car sales representative. The prices are already negotiated, the fuel economy is already memorized, and the car history is, well, less important since members are paying to drive the latest and greatest models. 

We also offer a personalized concierge service, which ranges in style and scope based on the subscription service provider. However, having 24/7 access to a resource to answer any and all questions that you may have about your vehicle has been a major selling point for our current Steer subscribers.

Let’s consider one of the biggest ‘time guzzlers’ that owning a car entails: maintenance and roadside assistance. Car troubles seem like one of those unavoidable hassles, making you late to meetings and events when unexpected problems arise or taking you away from work or family time when you need to take your vehicle to and from the shop. At Steer, we take this process very seriously, and came up with a simple solution – we take care of everything.

A few months ago, one of our current members was, unfortunately, the victim of a hit and run. As a founder of a software development company, she didn’t have the time for filing a police report, taking her vehicle to and from the shop for repairs, waiting for parts to arrive, and figuring out a transportation solution while her car was being repaired. With Steer, we delivered her a new car that same day and handled all the insurance and repairs, saving her time (and money), so she could get back to focusing on what’s most important to her.

  
Benefit #2: Reduced Fuel, Mileage & Depreciation

 

Driving an awesome car does not have to come as an expensive hit to your business. One of our members, a sales rep for K-12 schools in Virginia, recently upgraded his Ford Fusion to a Tesla 3 with Steer and saw minimal changes to his monthly expenses (while his wife “sleeps better at night” knowing he has the latest safety features driving 200 miles a day).

By pricing on a month to month basis, subscribers are never forced to pay any major down payments, allowing more financial flexibility for any potential business or personal expenses. Every little bit counts, and going electric is an excellent value for anyone, particularly small business owners. 

Did you know that on a national average, it costs less than half as much to travel the same distance in an EV than a conventional vehicle? This is a game-changer for the entrepreneur who heavily relies on private transportation to network and grow their business. In addition, some utilities offer even cheaper rates to charge at night, which can further reduce your electricity costs.

Another fun tip: The Federal mileage reimbursement rate is a guideline for mobile worker reimbursement that every small business owner and business professional should consider. As long as the driver’s allowance or cents-per-mile reimbursements are not above this rate, the reimbursement is not taxable.

As of 2019, the reimbursement rate is 58 cents per mile. If you are in a sales or client-facing business that requires you to hit the road on a daily basis, this can be a real game-changer for you and your networking opportunities. Not to mention, you may be able to offset your subscription cost through the mileage reimbursement program—it’s a win-win!  

Check out this simple table below to see how much of an offset you could put towards your monthly Steer subscription. If you drive 100 miles per day, for example, you could offset up to $1,160 of costs, meaning two-thirds of your Steer subscription in the Premier plan (Tesla, Audis, Porsches, and more) would be covered. Besides the financials, if you drive this much on the daily, you definitely need the most advanced safety features – like adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping and blind-spot sensing – which come with most of Steer’s Premier plan vehicles.

It is important to note that only business use is deductible as a business expense, so driving records will need to be kept in order to prove business vs. personal use. Many of the current Steer members who take advantage of these incentives are in industries such as real estate, construction and military contracting, software sales, and more.

To search all laws and regulations relevant to EVs, including businesses, visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s Laws and Incentives database.  In addition, the 2020 IRS Standard Mileage Rates have not been published. This blog will be updated as soon as the IRS releases the updated reimbursement numbers.

And then there is the issue of depreciation.

It’s safe to say that anyone who has purchased or leased a vehicle is aware of the scary effects of depreciation. You buy a beautiful new car, and within minutes of driving it off the lot, it is significantly less valuable. In fact, according to CarFax, the value of a new vehicle can drop by more than 20% in the first 12-months of ownership. For EV’s, the depreciation rate can be even higher due to rapidly changing technology. 

As a business professional, there are many risks that you may be willing to take. However, if you have an opportunity to avoid investing in a vehicle that will most certainly depreciate, and instead subscribe to a no-commitment, month-to-month car service that takes care of your insurance, maintenance, and repairs, you are saving yourself precious time, energy and money that you can instead invest into your work. It’s a win-win!

 

Benefit #3: A Sustainable Corporate Image

 

In a world where technology is changing rapidly, and consumers care about your mission statement almost as much as your product or services, it’s more important than ever to be thoughtful in how you invest in your business and build your own personal brand. Whether or not you are a “car guy” (or gal!), your vehicle choice can be a statement to customers.  

How is your brand currently perceived? If you want to showcase a tech-forward, eco-friendly brand, then driving an EV would be a great option for you. One of our members, a real estate agent, told us she never gave out more cards than the first week she had a Tesla X from Steer!

It’s no secret that EV’s feature attractive, cutting-edge designs–and it’s a big draw for their customer base. In a recent survey of EV vehicle drivers, more than 57% cited that “attractive design for my vehicle” to be important. As a representative of your company’s personal brand, it is important to consider all aspects of your day-to-day (yes, your vehicle included) as an extension of your value proposition.

Finally, having a sustainability agenda that you can market to prospective customers while advocating through your own daily choices can often be the quality that sets you apart from the competition. We live in an age where consumers are increasingly aware of and supportive of companies that support social and environmental issues. In fact, according to Nielsen’s 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report, 66% of consumers would spend more on a product purchased from a brand that is considered sustainable. While an EV subscription is only one of many ways to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, it is important to consider the impact that integrating sustainable branding and messaging will have on your current and future business operations. 

 

Is an Electric Car Subscription right for me?

 

By now, we’ve talked through a wealth of benefits to a car subscription with Steer.

Steer’s pricing model allows you more cash flow flexibility and can save you money when compared to a traditional lease. These savings are compounded even further when using an EV for business.

Steer can save you a ton of time, eliminating the time and energy spent negotiating at a dealership, and our concierge service ensures you always have a working vehicle and don’t need to worry about insurance or repairs.

Steer’s fleet of high-end cars can even help your (and your businesses) image – both from a sustainability perspective, and, let’s be honest, these are just plain cool cars.

So is it right for you? Only you can make that decision for sure, but we’re here and always happy to help answer any questions.

 

Disclaimer: This article is simplified in order to provide you with general information. It is not tax or legal advice. Please check with your tax and financial advisors for questions related to incentives for your business.