From the Driver’s Seat; Five Years in a Company Vehicle

One afternoon I’m diligently typing away on the keyboard inside my office when my boss stopped by to discuss the latest issue we were having on a large multimillion dollar project and converse about the request for a pay raise.

The issue dealt with we began discussing renumeration and he informed we were denied for an increase in salary but alternatively they were willing to provide as compensation a company vehicle. The rules of having a company vehicle were all costs would be covered by the company; fuel, insurance, and maintenance costs.

List of Vehicles Driven 

Ages 41 to 45

For about two weeks the conversation with my boss rolled around inside my cranium as I spoke with a few colleagues whom were given a company vehicle and a few mentors outside of work to hear their opinions and insights into being given the vehicle.

After hearing the words of wisdom, I decided to draft a short Pros vs Cons list for having my personal car sitting in the garage during the week and using it only on the weekends.

  • PROS
    • Personal fuel costs would be less
    • Less kilometres per week driven
    • Less maintenance costs
    • Better resale value
    • 65,129 kilometres
  • CONS
    • Car will be sitting in garage
    • Still making payments

One afternoon the VP of Operations stopped by my office to see how things were progressing on a particularly difficult project and asked if I had made a decision on the company vehicle yet? I went through the Pros, Cons and Advise that I had heard from others when he nodded then said, “you can always return the company vehicle in the future and we can look at raising your salary at that time when things around here get better.”

The following day, May 7th 2015, I accepted the company vehicle as my pay raise and the fleet manager entered my office sliding a company vehicle policy form across the desk, along with a set of keys and a company fuel card. She explained how it was now my responsibility to look after the truck and any maintenance required would be completed by the dealership through a fleet management card.

The day after that, I think it was a Friday, my wife dropped me off at work and that evening I drove home in a 2014 GMC Sierra 1500. That night I flipped through the owner’s manual learning about it. The odometer read 38,759 kilometres.

As anticipated the Corolla went from a daily driver incurring 75-kilometres or more a day, down to a Sunday cruiser in a short few months. After paying it off in February 2016, I decided to place an advertisement and sell it. The car sold a few months later for $9,500.00 CAD.

The Sierra was now my daily driver and we took it all over Alberta, down into British Columbia and to a few lakes in northern Saskatchewan. The Sierra rolled on and on without any issues as I pushed it passed 18,135 kilometres in the first year. A few months into 2017, I was informed by the fleet manager the Sierra was going to be given to a new technician as he was to be stationed in a remote northern Alberta town and require a reliable truck.

With the Sierra going to the tech I was given a choice between a 2016 GMC Terrain SLT or a 2010 Ford F150 XLT. Both vehicles had higher kilometres and basic creature comforts.

I took each for a spin around the area during work hours and decided to take the F150. Around October 2018 another situation arose with another truck in the fleet which stranded one of our younger technicians about an hour and a half north of the city. In the upcoming week the fleet manager would learn his truck required an expensive repair and the company felt the truck was ready for the auction block.

The technician was supposed to be onsite the following week with a few other techs installing a new system that was on one of my projects. I knew the tech outside of work and opted to lend him my company truck so he’d be able to access the site.

Lesson learned, if you like your company vehicle do not offer it up as a temporary vehicle to someone else. Before I knew it, the truck was given to the tech and I was again choosing from a few company vehicles that were sitting in the yard covered in a foot of snow.

The fleet manager and I took a look through the remaining vehicles and it came down to either a 2016 GMC Terrain SLT or a 2014 GMC Acadia SLT.

Unsure what an “Acadia” was, we went to take a look at this sport utility vehicle. As it turned out the Acadia SLT was one model shy of the top of the line: Denali. The only difference was the wood grain interior and 8-inch touchscreen with navigation.

On October 6th 2018, the Acadia became my third company vehicle in three years. I drove this SUV for another 12 months before it began to have mechanical problems and I opted to turn in the company vehicle for a pay raise. The VP of Operations and I discussed the turnover details as I started my search for a new personal vehicle. It would take approximately five months before I finally made a decision on a new vehicle and on February 22, 2020 I stood in the doorway of a dealership in Calgary, Alberta with the keys to a new to me, 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport!

~ Aaron JacksonCrabb