• 10 reasons why your business is losing money

    There’s no doubt that getting up and running with a new business can be very exciting. You are your own boss and that can give you a lot of freedom. However, if you are inexperienced with the corporate world, your enthusiasm could soon fade as the costs start stacking up. Many of those costs, you might not even have foreseen. Perhaps what had started as just a trickle of expenses has, unexpectedly quickly, ballooned into something much more serious. How you use vehicles for business purposes could be to blame – so, let’s look more closely at how you can control these costs better.

    Inefficient use of fuel

    Your vehicles are incapable of running without fuel, making it seem very necessary to spend some of your precious revenue on. However, you might not be maximising the efficiency of that fuel. Alec Lee, operations manager at small-tours firm Rabbie’s, made a major admission to The Guardian.

    He said that training in more energy-efficient driving helped his firm to save money on fuel.Workers were “also decreasing the general wear and tear on the vehicle” – which, in the longer term, could help Rabbie’s reduce its necessity of paying for costly repairs.

    Failure to regularly audit your vehicles

    Spending time carrying out this kind of audit can help you see where cash might be being haemorrhaged, advises Grant Boardman, Fleet Alliance’s regional sales director.

    Boardman, whose firm keeps SMEs supplied with fleet management services, explains: “It’s about understanding the whole-life costs of a vehicle”. That means, he adds: “Not just looking at the purchase or hire price, but other consequential factors over the next three or four years.”

    Leasing commercial vehicles from a single provider

    Does your company routinely hire commercial vehicles, like vans, from the same provider? Then you are making what Boardman has branded a “classic mistake”.

    What you should instead do, he says, is look for a combination of providers capable of offering what you need – and all at what adds up to the lowest possible overall price. He also notes that, in doing so, you should especially strongly consider lease costs and fuel consumption.

    Not paying attention to company cars’ CO2 emissions

    You might often use cars in running your business; cars put to this purpose can be succinctly referred to as company cars. If you indeed utilise cars in this manner, then check, before you decide to buy any such vehicle, how much it will produce in CO2 emissions on the road.

    This is crucial as, for discerning how much tax should be payable on different cars, the government puts these cars into different “emission bands”. The less CO2 emissions a car is responsible for, the better its CO2 rating can be and so the less tax you could need to pay on this vehicle.

    Improper management of your fleet

    If you have an entire fleet of vehicles at your company’s disposal, how is that fleet being managed? If the company is directly handling those affairs, you might want to rethink that strategy.

    John Hargreaves, Kia’s head of fleet and remarketing, has noted that a vehicle fleet poses a “significant overhead” for many businesses. That fleet “should be managed professionally, whether by a dedicated person within the company or by outsourcing to a specialist vehicle management company,” headded.

    Not taking advantage of telematics for cost-cutting

    You might have seen or heard the word “telematics” occasionally popping up in discussions about how money can be saved on corporate vehicles. However, what does it actually mean?

    It is commonly used as shorthand for “vehicle tracking systems”, as they are more formally called. Jenny Powley, who has worked at the RAC as a sales director for corporate partnerships, has recommended such systems that “collect data on the vehicle and give business owners a much better picture of wear and tear, enabling them to take cost-effective preventative measures.”

    Not using fuel cards

    These payment cards are available from various firms, the RAC included, and can help you lower your fuel bills. Furthermore, as Powley points out, when a business owner uses them, they receive “regular reports and can see exactly what is spent, rather than having drivers submit receipts”.

    Taking out vehicle insurance for longer than is necessary

    Your company’s vehicle needs might actually be very low. For instance, they could be limited to requiring simply a van for use in transporting items to a new office or an even more modest car for occasional times that you want to attend a trade show or team bonding event.

    That’s fine, but it doesn’t take away from the need to check that you have insurance for a vehicle before you use it. In the UK, driving without insurance can lead to you incurring a massive fine and other penalties. However, a standard insurance policy lasting a year or more can be much costlier than short term car insurance which you could source through UK broker Call Wiser.

    Trying to meet vehicle costs by pricing products too highly

    You might reason that you need to price your company’s products at a particular – probably relatively high – level because you have hefty costs to pay in keeping vehicles running.

    However, advice posted by Forbes insists on the need to strike a middle ground when pricing products. Set prices excessively high and too many people could be put off. Nonetheless, on the other hand, keeping prices overly low could see you struggling to achieve a profit.

    Whatever prices you settle on, consider that trimming those vehicle costs – by, for instance, using remedies listed in this article –could be a better strategy than keeping your prices high.

    Reluctance to invest in vehicles necessary for growth

    One reason why we are eager to provide advice on how to cut costs of running vehicles is that paying those costs could, ultimately, be necessary for cultivating your company’s growth.

    Therefore, if you have so far resisted drawing extensively on automotive assistance for your own company, this could help explain why it is financially struggling. Avoid the false economy!

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  • The Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT

    Fancy something a bit different. How about also stylish and retro. But more practical at the same time? Then maybe you need the Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT.

    Rather than the typical cafe racer, Wunderlich have used the BMW bikes entered by the factory in the late 1970s for the International Six Days Trial events. And it’s a good choice, judging by how the finished motorcycle looks.Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT

    There’s quite a shopping list of bits added. Starting with the ‘TT’ headlight surround and short, yellow fly screen which definitely give the R nineT a more vintage look. With the green paint, it almost looks like a World War 2 military motorcycle. Then there are the Wunderlich Six Days Handlebars, which can be adjusted for height. And the Clear Protect Hand Guards which are definitely important for off-road riding. And being clear, they don’t spoil the lines of the BMW in the way modern, solid plastic hand guards would. Plus fully-adjustable brake and clutch levers to finish switching the controls to something which can be tailored to any rider.

    Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT Side

    But the front is just the start. The traditional Spoked Wheels are now covered with shorter Brushed Aluminium Mudguards to stop stones and dirt being flung at you quite so much. There’s also a new vintage-style Tubular Steel Sub-frame at the bike, which has an integrated brake light. And a brushed, aluminium Number Plate Holder.

    You can also fit the side-mounted Aluminium Number Plate, Monza Fuel Filler Cap and three-piece Tank Pad Set to give even more of a competition vibe.

    But there are more than cosmetic changes. There’s a fully-adjustable Rear Suspension Kit, Fork Upgrade Kit and adjustable Paralever Strut. So you can properly tweak your BMW R nineT to cope with whatever terrain you plan on tackling.

    Don’t put the shopping list down yet though. For added crash protection, there are Engine Crash Bars, Dakar Engine Protection plate, Header Pipe Protector and the Oil Cooler Guard. And there are LED Auxiliary Lights for more illumination, and Sidebags available in black or brown to carry your essentials.

    The good news is that you can buy everything separately. Or just pay for the full conversion with the whole Wunderlich Green Hell ISDT Scrambler Kit for the BMW R nineT in one go.

    About the only bit I’m not entirely sure about is the header pipe protector. It’s useful and practical. But perhaps a little bit ornate to be sat on top of the exhaust pipes like some bronze jewellery. The rest of it looks pretty awesome though.

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  • QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING: BEST OF THE BEST!

    Cool temperatures fail to lower motorcycle fever at the Quail and keep Jim Palam from delivering this photo report.

    Low temperatures, brisk winds and overcast skies did nothing to dampen the spirits of over 3,000 visitors to the 2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering on May 6 at the beautiful Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, CA.

    Gordon McCall, motorsports director for the Quail Lodge, was once again the perfect ringleader for this 9th Annual gathering. It featured over 300 rare and historic bikes, as well as a generous sampling of custom and modified rides from some of the rising stars in the motorcycle enthusiast’s expanding universe. GEICO Motorcycles presented the event.

    Jim Palam, our man (and Triumph rider) on the West Coast was up and out early to capture the action. The show was so good that he forgot to eat his complimentary gourmet lunch – but he did take a big bite of The Gathering’s tasty essence – yours now to enjoy.

    Taking the Design and Style Award was Simon Waterfall’s super-clean and serious ‘75 Moto Guzzi 850T, Top, rebadged as Supernaturale. Designed and built by Hugo Eccler of Untitled Motorcycles of San Francisco (pictured) the bike features a custom aluminum tank, advanced electronics and fingertip controls. Its overall brushed satin finish will intentionally age gracefully, developing an individualized patina from the way the rider handles the bike.

    What do you do if you have a beautiful old Triumph race tank? If you’re Californian Bryan Thompson you build the quintessential ‘58 Triumph Tiger from ground up, around the tank. So good is this build that this Black Beauty has been racking up a bounty of awards – including First Place in the Quail’s Custom/Modified category. Well-done Bryan!

    Chris Carter has become almost as famous as the spectacular motorcycles in his amazing All Things Two Wheels collection. So thanks Chris for bringing your gorgeous ‘14 Jefferson Board Track Racer to The Gathering. It took 2nd Place in the American category.

    Considered one of the most innovative motorcycles ever created, only 10 hand-crafted Britten V1000 superbikes were ever built. This Britten, #10, resides in the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, just a few blocks from my home. It belongs to the museum’s owner Virgil Elings and he proudly displayed it at The Gathering. Virgil’s son Jeff rode it up onto the winner’s ramp to accept the Significance in Racing Award.

    I met Richard Mitchell as he was rolling this meticulously customized BSA A65 Thunderbolt up to the Entrant’s Window late Friday afternoon. When Richard is not designing for Tesla, his passion is motorcycles. His beautiful creation went on to win 2nd Place in the Custom/Modified category.

    Ole #38 didn’t look like much when from a distance when I spotted owner Gary Landeen trying to kick-start her for a bevy of patient judges. On what was surely his last kick she fired up – and like the menacing roar of a Coliseum lion she fired up the crowd as well! This bike is the legendary Ed “Iron Man” Kretz’s Pre-War Big Base Indian Scout FDB 381 that competed successfully on a national level from 1941 through 1967. What a thrill to see and hear #38 roar at The Gathering!

    Two For The Road! If you’re a Motorhead you find beauty in design, function and performance. So forgive me if my heart beats a little faster when I take in the sexy symmetry of John Stein’s ‘70 Twin Motor BSA drag bike – bared for all to see in the Competition On Road Class.

    The 750 Sport was essentially a racier version of Ducati’s first big V-Twin, the 750GT. Its Goldenrod Yellow and black paint scheme and lean, aggressive styling made this Italian beauty really stand out from the crowd. Robert Jordon owns this stunning and pristine example.

    Wake Me Up Before You Goggo! The Hans Glas GMBH Company of Germany produced the Goggo Motorscooter in the 1950s. They were dependable and offered better performance than their Italian counterparts. They were however a bit pricier and few ever made it to the States. Harley and Deb Welch brought this nifty ‘55 Goggo 150 to The Gathering.

    And now for something different: The ‘76 Hercules W2000. Powered by an air-cooled, single-rotor Sachs-designed Wankel engine, it was manufactured in Germany. Innovative for sure, but criticized for its high cost, insufficient ground clearance and low performance. And of course, now, in high-demand by collectors! Congratulations to Stephan Haddad for the bike’s 2nd Place win in the Other European category.

    Words & photos by Jim Palam, http://www.jimpalam.com/

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  • Valuing Your Car

    Selling Your Car? Here’s How to Get the Best Idea of What It’s Worth.

    If you’re in the market to sell off your old car you have a few different options when it comes to a valuation, even without leaving the comfort of your own home. These vary both in terms of how involved they are, and how precise the results are, so here are your options, and our verdict on which to go with.

    The Old Fashioned Way

    We say old fashioned, but you’d most likely use the internet for this method in this day and age. This is the quick and dirty method to get a very rough idea of what you can expect your wheels to go for.

    It basically entails looking up the prices of other cars of the same or similar make and model that are currently on the market to get a ballpark figure and that’s kind of it. This might be the first method that comes to mind for some people but we honestly can’t recommend it.

    It probably takes more effort than either of the other popular methods, and gives less accurate results, so it really has nothing going for it.
    Of course, there’s also the really old fashioned way—just drive the car to a dealership and ask them how much they’ll give you for it.

    Free Valuation Tools

    There is a wide array of online car valuation tools that are free to use and easy to find — they’re literally the first thing that will come up if you type ‘car valuation’ into a search engine. They’re typically found on car selling sites, but you’re under no obligation to use those sites — you can even use two different tools to double check any figure you get.

    These tools ask for your various details about your car like make, model, mileage, and license plate number and perform a simple search to pull up a reasonable price, but they can’t account for everything so this will always be an approximation.

    HPI Check

    Car valuations are one of the many uses for a car history check. Unlike the other options you’ll have to pay a fee, but the cost is negligible, and the valuation will be based on a much more complete picture of your car, including its service history, optional extras and so forth.

    This means it will be much more accurate, and all the information will be pulled from databases meaning that the input you have to provide is a lot less than the other options on this list. This one is our recommendation if you want to get the best price for your car.

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