Putting together a fleet of vehicles that your company will use to service customers/clients and carry out essential tasks can be quite the challenge, particularly if you have no experience in this area of business operation. Between the cost of vehicle purchases, repairs, maintenance, fuel, and driver payroll, there are plenty of ways to spend an absurd amount of money just to keep your fleet afloat. If you only have one or two company cars, this might not be a major concern for you yet. However, if you’re in the process of scaling up and are looking to use your investment capital wisely, consider the following seven tips you can use to create a more cost-effective corporate vehicle fleet:
1. Find the Right Auto Financing Deals
According to one of the leading providers of San Diego auto loans, the difference between a good financing deal and a bad one can add up to thousands of dollars lost annually when you’re talking about a fleet-wide impact. Thus, it’s best to take your time comparing multiple loan providers to find one that will give you the best deal. Of course, leveraging credit to obtain vehicles is going to create less of a fiscal burden than buying vehicles out-of-pocket.
2. Opt for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles
If you’re going to be operating a fleet of more than 3-4 vehicles, the money lost on fuel mileage can wind up being significant if you’re using inefficient vehicles. Of course, your options are limited if your fleet consists of big trucks, but for car fleets it would be best to opt for electric or hybrid vehicles where possible. Likewise, you may want to invest in an EV charger installation at your place of business to keep your fleet drivers from having to charge up at public stations.
3. Use Tracking Systems to Discover and Prevent Unauthorized Employee Driving
If you’re not already keeping track of the location of company vehicles, this is definitely something you should start doing for security and efficiency purposes. Chances are you’ll already have some sort of Lo-Jack or other GPS-based theft prevention app installed. However, you may want to take it a step further and use real-time monitoring to keep track of each of your vehicles within a convenient app interface, which brings us to our next tip.
4. Use a Fleet Management App or Platform
Fleet management apps are ideal for companies that have more than three vehicles on the road at all times. These tools make it easy to see where your drivers are, where they’ve been, and where they’re headed, while also providing integrated communication and route management features. Most major trucking companies use apps like this, so take a page out of their book to maximize the efficiency of your own fleet.
5. Consider Partnering with a Local Auto Shop
The cost of vehicle maintenance is another expense that can eat into your overall fleet budget. Relying on third-party auto shops to diagnose and repair your vehicles as needed might not be the best approach, as you never know what kind of service you’re going to get if you haven’t yet vetted your mechanics. If you’re going to be operating a fleet of more than 7-10 vehicles, consider the benefits of establishing an ongoing special arrangement with a local shop in order to obtain discounted rates as a repeat customer.
6. Fuel Up Strategically
Choosing when and where your vehicles are filled up can also make a difference in your annual expenditure. Have your drivers use gas price apps to find nearby gas stations that have the lowest price for fuel. Tools like Gasbuddy can help you plan out your route in a way that has you fueling up in the most cost-efficient manner throughout your route. Often times you can save as much as $50-$100 on a cross country trip simply by choosing the gas stations that have the lowest prices.
7. Practice Detailed Accounting and Budgeting
Keeping a thorough record of all expenses related to your company vehicles is an essential step to take for any large company that has set aside an exuberant fleet budget. You need to be reviewing the numbers to be sure that your money is being put to good use and also look for weaknesses that need to be addressed going forward.
Hire a Fleet Manager
If you’re really serious about keeping tabs on a large fleet of more than 10-20 vehicles, it might be best to allocate fleet management duties to a specific employee on a full-time basis. That way, you won’t be overburdened with the responsibility of keeping track of all of those vehicles yourself.