As your business begins to grow, you may find that your vehicle fleet grows. Whether you have five vehicles or fifty vehicles, ensuring that you have full control is essential if you want your drivers and goods to be safe, and your reputation and bottom line to be protected.
Adding just one more vehicle can make things seem so much bigger, so here, we look at how to manage a small business fleet effectively – both in terms of your time and your financial resources.
A fleet is generally defined as five or more vehicles belonging to a business, so you already have experience of managing a number of vehicles. However, when it comes to a fleet, more things come into play.
You have to think about the following things:
- Vehicle acquisition
- Safety and accident training and management
- Breakdown management
- Fuel management
- Route planning
The first thing that you need to think about is how you are going to acquire your vehicles. Generally, you have two options; lease or buy outright.
Both of these options have their pros and cons. When leasing, you never truly own the vehicle but can usually upgrade every three years or so, before maintenance becomes a real problem. With outright purchase, you own the vehicle and can do what you like with it, but it can be a huge outlay of money.
Talk to your local dealership about what they can offer you. Many will have discounts available for fleets of vehicles or will be able to work with you to help you find the best vehicle acquisition method for your business.
Safety and Accident Training
If your drivers or fleet vehicles are involved in an accident, the most obvious worry is whether someone is injured – or worse. You will also be worried about the harm it does to your reputation, the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle and the money that you will lose while the vehicle is off the road. For this reason, making sure your drivers have up to date driving and know what to do in the event of an accident.
It is also a wise idea to have a dashcam fitted in each vehicle, such as the ones from FleetOptix. These can drastically reduce poor driving habits from your drivers, but if an accident was to happen, you could see exactly who was at fault to take the most appropriate course of action. Having a dashcam may lower your insurance premiums – and some may insist on it to give you cover in the first place.
Again, there are multiple options available to you. Some businesses like to have a maintenance plan, where they pay a regular fixed fee each month, and this covers any maintenance or repairs. Others prefer to wait until there is a problem and find the money to get it resolved then. There is no right or wrong answer for this, but weigh up your options carefully.
Managing a fleet can be a challenge, but put the appropriate steps into place, and you will soon find that with just a small bit of input, it runs itself.