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Using Your Vehicle to Advertise Your Small Business

vehicle-small-business-marketingWhen it comes to marketing your small business, it pays to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. One such opportunity may be sitting in your driveway. Using your car as a marketing tool can be a very effective way to increase brand awareness, and it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to do.

Mild or Wild?

When using your car to advertise, you have several options. If you want something subtle, impermanent and inexpensive, you can opt for a simple magnetic sign that can be easily affixed to the outside of your vehicle and removed when you want to be incognito. Other subtle options include vinyl panels and window decals. If you do most of your driving in the city, and your vehicle is often parked in high-traffic areas, these smaller graphics can increase your business’s exposure substantially. Just make sure they’re memorable, simple, and easy to read at a glance.

If you’re aiming to make a bolder impression on your potential clients, or you do most of your driving on the freeway, you’ll need something a little flashier. You could spring for a custom paint job, but full vinyl wraps are often a better option. If they start to look dingy or need to be updated, they can be replaced in sections, and if one section is damaged, there’s no need to repaint the entire vehicle.

Turning your whole vehicle into a mobile billboard is sure to attract attention. If you hire a designer to create a clever graphic, it’s also more memorable than a simple sign. Of course, it might not be the best choice for taking a date to a tony restaurant, but if the vehicle is used chiefly for business, that won’t really be a concern.

Does Your Vehicle Fit Your Business’s Image?

When using your vehicle to advertise your business, it’s worth considering the type of impression it will make. If you’re a real estate agent specializing in luxury homes, then you should make sure your vehicle projects an upscale image. If you own an outdoor outfitting company, then it’s probably best to advertise your brand on a vehicle with an air of rugged capability. If your vehicle is a poor fit for your brand image, using it for marketing purposes may not be the best idea.

Are There Tax Benefits?

Some small-business owners believe that if they use their vehicle for marketing purposes, they can deduct their car expenses on their taxes. This is not necessarily the case. Just because a vehicle is emblazoned with a brand name does not mean personal use can be categorized as a business expense. Only trips made primarily for business purposes can be deducted at the standard mileage rate. As a marketing expense, the cost of the sign, vinyl wrap, or paint job can be deducted.


John R. Klaras is a serial entrepreneur and small business professional, a writer, and an educator by trade. With nearly a decade of experience in the telecommunications industry, he is currently in the process of building a burgeoning new microbusiness. He has written for leading companies in a wide variety of verticals, including travel, finance, motorsports, and real estate.