When your business becomes successful enough, a fleet of vehicles can allow you to expand your areas of service and increase revenue. There are many types of fleets that could benefit your business, whether you offer food delivery, cleaning services, repair services, or moving services. Of course, managing a fleet can also drain your resources and create an administrative headache. Here are some tips for making fleet management easier and more affordable.
1. Decide Whether Leasing or Buying Makes Sense
One of the biggest decisions you need to make is whether you will buy or lease a fleet. Many small business owners prefer leasing, as it comes with fewer upfront costs, better cash flow, and the ability to upgrade vehicles occasionally without the hassle of selling an outdated or unneeded fleet. There may be benefits to buying your fleet as long as you have the cash flow. Buying comes with better flexibility in terms of mileage with the freedom to brand your vehicles. Primary drawbacks include higher upfront costs and greater administrative expenses.
2. Get the Right Insurance
In San Diego, commercial auto insurance allows you to insure all of your vehicles with a single policy, even if you have different models. Many management steps you take can reduce the cost of insurance, including using a specialized fleet management system and an employee training program.
3. Choose a Fleet Tracking System
A GPS fleet tracking system ensures you know where your vehicles and drivers are located at all times. These systems can also be used to monitor metrics like driver downtime, idling time, and routes. This data can be used to make changes in routes and scheduling to put your resources and employees to best use. You can even set a maximum speed limit and receive an alert when a driver exceeds the limit. Because a tracking system can track mileage, you can schedule maintenance based on usage rather than a time interval, which can help you stay on top of preventative maintenance to extend the life of your fleet and reduce repairs.
4. Identify the Most Efficient Routes
One of the greatest challenges of managing a small fleet is finding the best routes for technicians or drivers. While this may involve some trial and error, the data you receive from a fleet tracking system can be invaluable. Your software can help you find continuous movement opportunities or routes that minimize idle time to keep drivers working. You will need to use this data to match the right-sized vehicles to each route based on capacity and fuel economy.
5. Stay on Top of Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is the greatest thing you can do to keep your fleet operational and protect your drivers. Maintenance can include tire rotations, oil changes, and general safety checks. Train drivers to report any vehicle issues right away to reduce breakdowns. Use the information provided by your fleet management system to schedule maintenance based on the actual load and mileage of each vehicle rather than for all vehicles in your fleet at the same time.
Much like you need your fleet of vehicles covered by commercial auto insurance, you should also take your other business insurance needs into consideration. American Tri-Star Insurance is a leading provider of workers’ compensation, employment practices liability, and general liability insurance in San Diego. Give us a call today at 619-272-2100 for a free quote.