Do you use your car for work? Is your small business reliant on a vehicle to perform your tasks? For most of us home workers I would say the answer is no, but for tradespeople like my partner who is a chimney sweep a vehicle is imperative to get him and his equipment from one client to the next.
Things To Consider When You Rely On Your Car For Work:
What Insurances Do You Need?: You will need road tax and an MOT as per normal use of a vehicle but you also need a few other insurances, to use your van/car for work.
- Commercial Van Insurance, normal personal van insurance won’t cover you if you have an accident, your van is stolen or tool theft if the van hasn’t been insured for business purposes.
- GAP insurance. What is GAP insurance? It’s insurance that covers the shortfall between what you paid for your vehicle and the insurance payout should you be unfortunate enough to make a total loss claim.
- Public Liability Insurance. It covers you if a client or member of the public claims they have been injured, or their property damaged, because of your small business activities.
What Business Expenses Can You Claim?: You are able to claim allowable expenses against using your van/car for work purposes including;
- Vehicle Insurance
- Repairs and Servicing
Remember this is only for business use not personal use of the vehicle. This list isn’t exhaustive, do ensure you check out the HMRC website for further details.
Vehicle Security: Van break-ins and tool theft are on the rise in 2016, tool theft cost the UK’s tradespeople just under £100m. Tradespeople rely on these tools to get the job done, the theft of tools can mean days or weeks out of work and pocket, but there is also the added stress, anxiety and overall wellbeing of the tradesman to take into consideration. Here are 4 ways to reduce tool theft and protect your vehicle;
- Store Tools elsewhere. If possible bring your tools into your home or store them in a secure garage/lockup.
- Parking. If you are unable to store your van or tools in a garage, consider parking in a well-lit area as this will deter thieves. Also, back your doors against walls reducing entry points into your vehicle.
- Visual Deterrents. Secure locks and bolts on van doors alongside steering and handbrake locks. Whilst they may seem a little old school they can be effective at making your vehicle look less appealing to thieves.
Maintenance: Emmert Wolf wrote over a century ago, that “a man is only as good as his tools”, and never a truer word was spoken. Invest time, money and resources into ensuring your tools, car/van and self are in tip-top condition. This stops you from having to take time away from your business and fix things because we all know if you ignore a small thing it suddenly becomes a huge thing!
You always think these things will never happen to you – buying cheap insurance, not protecting your tools adequately but these things always have a way of snowballing out of control.
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