So much business is conducted by email or telephone these days, but sometimes, you need a personal and in-person touch to close a deal or convince a prospect to work with you. Planes and trains do most of the travel, but automobiles still have their place, enabling you to get where you want, when you want, and providing an on-the-road office during the course of your trip. If you have a big road trip in your future, be sure your vehicle is ready to handle whatever the road throws at you. Here’s how to prepare your car for a business trip.
Bring It in for a Check-Up
You should already be bringing in your car for periodic inspections and maintenance. If you’re not, make this the first in a series of visits to the garage to keep your car running smoothly, extend its life, and ensure its eventual resale value. Plus, if it’s a company car, your boss will appreciate your diligence. The tires should all be inspected, inflated, and may be due for a rotation to ensure even wear. Top off or change any car fluids, and ensure the brakes and wipers are updated and working perfectly. You can’t make that sale if you don’t arrive on time and in one piece!
Create an Itinerary Binder
Before you drive that first mile, make sure you’ve planned for the next hundred or so. Chart your route, which means going beyond a search on Google Maps and printing out the result. If you’re being compensated for gas and other travel expenses, figure out your car’s mileage and how many miles per gallon it gets, then compare it to your projected route. Adhere to that itinerary as closely as possible and maintain a folder of itemized receipts for any expenses incurred along the way. This folder is also a suitable place to keep contact info, addresses, meeting schedules, and car documents, as well as your business cards and the ones you receive on the trip.
Prepare for the Worst
Whether you’re traveling cross-country or just making a stop at the local coffee shop, prepare for any automobile eventuality. Keep your car and health insurance information with you. Join an automobile association that provides mechanical or towing services. Make sure your spare tire is inflated and undamaged and is accompanied by a car jack and lug wrench. Pack a car emergency kit with jumper cables, road flares, a first aid kit, containers for gas and water, and an emergency blanket.
An Office on Wheels
When figuring out how to prepare your car for a business trip, turn your vehicle into an on-the-road office. Pack light and purchase a trunk organizer to hold important papers, files, stationery, pens and pencils, and a lockable briefcase safe for important materials. Set up your passenger seat with an extendible laptop desk, an adapter to charge your laptop and smartphone from the car battery, and Wi-Fi capabilities. But be sure to only do business while parked. Safety first!