In Australia, especially Victoria, your use of the vehicle for business purposes makes it a business workplace. What does this mean? Well I am glad that you asked.
As a workplace it means that you need to comply with;
- no smoking while in your vehicle
- a first aid kit must be inside
- if you take other people in it, they are your responsibility and insurances need to cover them at all times
- your vehicle must be maintained at all times and in safe working order
- a vehicle checklist must be used to audit the condition of your vehicle
On top of these requirements you also need to include detailed budgets to really manage the costs involved.
Budgeting for vehicle expenses
Petrol is a standard expense and will often already be managed by using receipts and log books. What is not included in most budgets is the fact that running a business vehicle will cost at least $5,000 per year for a 4-cylinder car and more if larger capacity.
Some of the additional costs include;
- Full comprehensive insurance incase you hit or damage property or people. If not, they can seek compensation from your business assets instead of just your personal assets.
- Total road assistance cover to prevent you losing days worth of business if the vehicle breaks down.
- Service costs will be required, and to minimise problems with your insurance it is wise to use qualified mechanics, or you will risk something being blamed on your lack of expertise.
- Driving a car for business use will double or triple your road travel meaning that your tyres will need replacing more often.
Carrying products in the vehicle
Depending on what products you carry, you will be required to install shields or restraints to prevent objects from moving around and hitting the driver. In some extreme cases I have seen painters driving along with a 12′ ladder hanging out the passenger window risking a hit on a pedestrian as the car made its way to the job.
In addition, the different chemicals in products need to be stored separately needing enclosed containers for travel. You cannot just throw tins of paint in the boot for example, without some form of container or box to limit the chance of breakage causing some problems on the road.
Security systems may be needed
If you carry tools or expensive equipment and your vehicle is marked as a business tradesman or similar use, it will become a target for thieves.
You will need more than just locking the doors. You will need to consider a security alarm and immoboliser to prevent others from taking your business asset.
This is because most insurers will not pay if you haven’t done the minimum needed to protect your assets. If your business use increases the risks of theft and you have failed to notify your insurer of the business use, they do not have to pay you for your loss.