Whether you’re running a trucking business or a taxi firm, you need to be sure that your fleet of vehicles is being managed properly. This includes maintaining your vehicles and managing the costs. Below are a few ways to look after your fleet effectively.
Funding your fleet
The way in which you fund your fleet can have an impact on the running costs in the long run. Most company owners cannot buy a fleet of vehicles outright and so rely on buying on finance or leasing. Both have their pros and cons:
Buying on finance tends to be more expensive upfront – you’ll likely need to make a deposit. It can however be less costly in the long run, providing you find a lender that doesn’t charge high interest rates. You may even pay off the cost of your vehicle.
Leasing tends to be cheaper upfront, but can be more costly in the long run. At the end of a lease, you may have the option to upgrade your vehicles. A disadvantage is that you’ll never actually own the vehicle and so may be restricted when it comes to modifications.
Work out which funding option is likely to be better for you. Other costs to consider include insurance, fuel and maintenance. These costs are all likely to vary depending on the type of vehicle you acquire (newer vehicles are likely to be more fuel-efficient and require less repairs).
Keeping your vehicles secure
Your vehicles could be targeted by thieves if they are not kept in a secure place. It could be important to own premises with locked gates or a large garage that you can keep your vehicles locked in. Burglar alarms, security lighting and security cameras can serve as an added incentive not to steal your vehicles. Meanwhile, make sure that keys to vehicles are stored somewhere safe out of sight.
Maintaining your vehicles
A maintenance schedule is important for ensuring that vehicles are constantly checked for faults. A maintenance schedule could also be important for keeping fluids topped up and keeping vehicles clean (a dirty vehicle won’t be good for your brand). If you have a large fleet, it could be worth having dedicated staff to carry out this maintenance and cleaning.
If you need to make repairs, make sure to get these done in good time. Spend time shopping around for the right specialist – for instance, you’ll want to look for a truck repair specialist when getting a truck fixed. Don’t resort to hiring cheap, inexperienced labor.
Using technology to make vehicles more efficient
There are many types of technology that can be used nowadays to make commercial vehicles more efficient. For instance, GPS route tracking tools can calculate the fastest and most fuel-efficient routes, as well as helping you to keep an eye on the location of your drivers and vehicles. Cameras can also be used to monitor your drivers (to make sure they’re not using the phone or engaging in distracting behaviour while driving) and to record footage of the road in front (which could be useful if you get in an accident and need to work out who was at fault).
Hiring the right drivers
Your vehicles are only as efficient and as safe as the people that drive them. When recruiting staff, have a screening process in place that involves checking the criminal background and health of each applicant. Make sure that they’re licensed to drive the vehicle within your fleet and be prepared to offer any additional training if needed.
It’s important to continuously look out for your drivers. Make sure that they’re not driving long distances without breaks and carry out regular tests to ensure they’re not using substances which could inhibit their driving. You should also encourage regular eye tests and carry out other regular health checks to ensure that drivers are fit for work.
All your drivers will need to be insured. If an accident occurs, you will then be covered. Fleet insurance can cover a whole team of drivers and is much cheaper and easier than insuring drivers individually. Make sure to shop around to find the best rates. In some cases, you may be able to bundle fleet insurance with other types of business insurance to reduce costs. Having good security and safety measures in place will also reduce your insurance rates.