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Should you buy or rent your next promotional vehicle?

By James Weber on Jan 23, 2023 4:32:34 PM

6 min read
Klarna Smooth Shopping pink orange double decker bus London

If you’re reading this article, you know enough about promotional vehicles to know they can be a real asset to your marketing deck.

However, what you might not have nailed down is whether you should commission and purchase a vehicle outright, or commission and rent.

In this article I will break down both options, helping you to make the decision that best suits you.


Is a promotional vehicle purchase right for me?

It’s understandable why you want to purchase a vehicle, it’s your project and you want to own it. You’re thinking, well why would I keep paying someone for something I could just buy? It must be more expensive!

Well… no, renting is by far the cheaper option, especially if you opt for long-term hire. But before we delve too deep into costing, let’s talk about cost justification.


Do you have an established long-term need for a promotional vehicle?

Have you established beyond reasonable doubt that you will have a permanent need for a promotional vehicle?

Sometimes clients buy promotional vehicles without a clear plan of what they are going to use them for, beyond the next couple of months. This can lead to vehicles sitting idle, and inevitably becoming an irritation that you then have to sell. Selling is not easy, as modification always devalues vehicles.

This is why we recommend a trial period, whereby you rent the vehicle for the first couple of months to make absolutely certain you have a long-term need. When your lease period is up, you will then have the option to purchase, if you have decided the vehicle is for you.


Do you know how long it takes to source, purchase and build a promotional vehicle?

Quite often clients come to us with grandiose plans about building a vehicle, but they never quite become real, because of the time-scales involved. It typically takes about 6 months to build a promotional vehicle, far longer than the 3 month quarters most marketeers work to.

Add to that the fact that many clients take an entire quarter to finalise a build plan, and you have an 8-9 month lead time.

That means if you come to us with ideas for a build in January and take 3 months to finalise those plans, you won’t get your vehicle till October, and the year will have almost disappeared.

If you are really serious about a long term purchase, you therefore need to reconcile those timescales with your long-term marketing plans. You need to be thinking years, not months.


Do you know how much it costs?

Finally we come to price, everyone’s bottom line. The cost of commissioning and purchasing a promotional vehicle can be off-putting, in some cases reaching as high as £100,000. Yikes!

Generally, renting for about a year costs barely a third of the price of purchase, much easier on the marketing budget!

We offer flexible payment options, but when we are talking about large sums of capital it’s best to make sure everyone is on board before you enter into any long-term agreement. If you are happy to proceed we would arrange for you to pay off your bill via monthly direct debit.


How a previous client made the decision to buyApetito-Roadshow_Airstream-at-Orchard-House

Our client Apetito is a perfect example of ‘try before you buy’.

Apetito were interested in commissioning an Airstream as a permanent marketing asset, but were also a little unsure as to the long-term value such a vehicle might have.

They decided instead to rent the Airstream for a 3 month campaign as a test of value.

Satisfied with the results of their experiment, they then made the decision to buy the vehicle, adding a proven asset to their marketing deck.


Is a promotional vehicle hire right for me?

There is definitely an established need for permanent marketing assets, but we like clients to be 100% sure before they make the investment.

If you have even the slightest doubt that a purchase might not be in your best interests, then we would recommend a trial period where we rent you the vehicle instead.

This allows you to figure out how the vehicle will fit into your wider marketing efforts, how often you will actually need it, and ultimately whether it would be better to rent or buy.


Short-term hire

Short-term hire is our most popular option at Promohire. It’s a great option if you aren’t sure whether you will have a long-term need for a vehicle and the cost of purchase isn’t feasible.

Turnaround on a short-term hire is usually much faster, taking just under 3 months from initial enquiry on average, meaning if you come to us in in January you will have your vehicle by Q2.


Long-term hire

Long-term hire is a great Goldilocks option. If you tried short-term hire to help you decide on a permanent purchase, you may find that whilst you do have a long-term need for the vehicle, that need might not be permanent. 

We offer very favourable rates for clients looking to rent on an annual basis, and we will of course service and MOT the vehicle for you. It’s hard to forecast the exact cost of a long-term rental but it is typically 3 times cheaper than buying the vehicle outright.

If you think your vehicle is likely to sit idle between campaigns, we can also store and maintain it for you, although this will cost a little bit more.

At the end of each rental period you will have the option to rent again, purchase or give the vehicle back.


How a previous client made the decision to rentBlue Barebells Landrover Defender

Current client Barebells came to us with a plan for a Pop-up Land Rover Defender they could use as part of their marketing efforts.

Like Apetito they opted for a trial period to test the value of the vehicle.

They loved the Land Rover and could see the value the vehicle brought them, but were unsure as to their marketing focus long-term.

For this reason they chose to rent the vehicle on an annual basis, and have been doing so for several years.


What are my next steps?

Your next step should be to sit down and evaluate the factors presented in this article that influence the need to buy or rent a vehicle, as those needs pertain to you.

To learn more about factors that affect price, I would recommend checking out our Budget Calculator for ballpark expenses and our Costs and Services Guide for more information on every service we offer.

Whether you want to rent or buy your vehicle, we will stick with you all the way, we just want to make sure you get the best value for your money, and you make the decision that best fits with your goal.

James Weber

Written by James Weber

Content Manager