Whether you run an Uber-like company or a 3-vehicle delivery service business, your prowess in managing your fleet of business vehicles will impact your bottom line, and your overall business growth, eventually.
Just like in any fields of business operation, fleet management is all about making sure that everything is done in the most effective and efficient manner.
If you are looking for some basic tips for managing your (upcoming) fleet of business vehicles, I have these four at your disposal:
1. Get the right fleet management software
Seriously, even a basic spreadsheet is adequate – for a start. However, if you want full control on what’s going on with your fleet, I recommend for you to take the specialty software option.
Look for fleet management software that can cater your business’ needs. It doesn’t have to be cutting-edge, but it must have easy-to-use log systems and reporting functions.
So, what do you need to log? Quite simple, really – everything. Record your driver information and daily activities: Name, date, vehicle number, time (in and out.) You also need to record vehicle mileage and condition, including mechanical issues, as well as bumps and scratches.
Using software helps eliminating costs by identifying the bottleneck – i.e. Excessive overtime pay, unnecessary fuel consumptions, etc. – so that you can solve the problem as soon as you can.
2. Use GPS tracking devices
Even better than using software alone, GPS tracking devices allow you to track the whereabout of your business vehicles in real time. A typically reliable GPS tracking can show you where your vehicles are, without the need for your drivers to report on a regular basis, allowing them to do their daily work with minimal interruptions.
There are plenty op GPS tracking devices available on the market today, but when you are considering your options, make sure that you choose the one that has an app enabling you to track your fleet easily, preferably on your mobile device – in real time.
Similar to the fleet management software mentioned above, GPS tracking allows you cut excessive costs.
3. Get the right fleet insurance
This is a no-brainer: No insurance, no protection. And we all know that with your vehicles on the road, there are situations and incidents that can expose your business to potential loss – accidents, stolen vehicle, and so on.
Partnering with a local insurance specialist can offer you cover that is tailored to your situation. Panda Insurance, for instance, lets UK fleet owner to choose the cover that is suited to her needs and situation, which can help you eliminating unneeded insurance coverage and reducing insurance expenses in the process.
4. Consider outsourcing/partnership
Let’s take an extreme example: Uber. The service works because of partnership. They launched Fleet Partner Program, which allows Uber to partner with individuals who own more than one vehicle on the Uber system. Uber also launched Craiglist-like marketplace, Uber NYC Marketplace, which connect both vehicle owners and Uber drivers. Those initiatives let Uber leverages third-party resources to grow.
On a (much) smaller scale, you can adopt a similar outsourcing/partnership model. For instance, instead of buying a vehicle, you can opt for leasing it. On a more creative initiative, you can lease your own / someone else’s vehicle for business purpose (and get tax returns in the process.)
Another benefit of partnership is the fact that you don’t have to deal with the vehicle maintenance headaches. For instance, if your fleet consists of caravans, you don’t have to take care of the spares; if you need any static caravan spares at all, you can just contact your partner, or simply purchase them at your partner’s recommended shops. Less headache, definitely!
If you are just starting to use a fleet of vehicles, it’s best for you to start small, and see how you can keep the costs manageable. Once you have discovered the most efficient and effective ways to manage it, then you may add more vehicles to your fleet – depending on your business growth, of course.
As always, do your due diligence: As around for recommendations and best practices and adopt the best solution for your business.