Businesses that manage their own transportation can often avoid supply chain challenges and offer more security and reliability to their customers. However, keeping your fleet of vehicles in order will take more attention, and building your fleet will take time.
Get Your Insurance in Order
Every vehicle you add to your fleet will be cheaper to insure. That being said, the employees in your organization who drive will need to be vetted and tracked to keep your insurance costs low. Make sure that any employee who will be driving your vehicles regularly is fully aware that their ability to hang onto their license may impact their ability to keep their job.
Once you have your fleet purchased, be ready to shop around to get a better package deal. A quality insurance rep will be able to help you meet the best industry price without having to find new coverage, but if you have to move, do so. Talk to an insurance broker who can help you locate the most cost-effective coverage for your business needs overall.
Be Ready to Relocate the Vehicles
New cars rapidly depreciate; adding the right used vehicles to your fleet can be very good for your bottom line. However, if your business is in the northern United States, adding used vehicles to your fleet can be worrying due to the risk of hidden rust damage. Consider working with car shipping companies in New Jersey or other major US states to look for vehicles from the desert southwest, in particular, to keep costs low and get vehicles with sturdy frames.
If you find a good source of vehicles in another state, make sure you find a good mechanic in that region to go through the vehicle before you buy and ship the fleet vehicle. The money you spend inspecting the vehicle that you choose not to buy can be one of the best investments you make.
Finally, get the codes off the tires of any vehicle bought in the south. Rubber breaks down over time and sunlight speeds this bio-degradation. Old tires with little wear are weak tires. Avoid blow-outs and other hazards once the vehicle is delivered by getting tires replaced in a timely fashion.
Avoid the Cookie-Cutter Approach
Consider investing in a variety of vehicles. Yes, you will have to haul some heavy things. However, it may be possible to save on fuel by managing trips more effectively and by having some smaller vehicles that you can use to move smaller loads.
You may be able to get a great price on a basic work van for a lot of your working needs. You may also want to use a smaller vehicle, or even a small fuel-efficient car with a hatchback, for some product and equipment runs.
Train Your Employees
Train your employees to track their
- drive time
Staying on top of the number of hours your fleet vehicles are on the road is critical to avoiding a lot of budget bleeding that can happen if routes are not properly planned. Staying on top of the mileage and driving conditions can also help you keep your fleet vehicles properly maintained.
Be Vigilant About Maintenance
Depending on the miles you put on your fleet, you may need to do seasonal oil changes, or you may be able to focus on mileage alone. A lot of driving during one hot summer can quickly kill a vehicle battery. Train your employees to listen for slow starts and other signs of a battery that needs replacing.
When possible, drive your fleet vehicles. If you’re not mechanically inclined, get an employee who is knowledgeable about larger vehicles to drive your latest fleet purchase for a time. They can keep an ear out for things that can lead to major repairs, such as
- the whine of a failing water pump
- the moan of a dying power steering pump
- the squeal of a bearing that’s about to go out
One employee stuck out in the field with a fleet vehicle that doesn’t start or won’t run can lead to a lot of wasted time and expensive repairs that didn’t have to happen. Maintenance is always cheaper than an emergency repair.