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A key aspect of every successful business is the efficiency of your operations, including your vehicle management practices. Statistics show that about 80% of registered vehicles fall under the small business category, indicating that transport is essential to small business operations. However, effectively managing a fleet of cars for your business can be challenging, especially if you don’t have the right skills and knowledge.
If your business has a fleet or is thinking of purchasing or leasing vehicles, here are some of the best ways to manage your fleet to increase productivity and keep your expenses under control:
1. Hire a Fleet Manager
The first step to effectively managing your company’s fleet of vehicles is to hire a fleet manager. This person would ensure that your business’s vehicles are well taken care of and adopt the best measures to manage your vehicles properly. Fleet managers also handle other tasks like vehicle procurement, fuel management, driver management, and maintenance management.
While hiring a fleet manager will increase your expenses, it might benefit you and your business in the long run. A good fleet manager will help improve business operations and, as a result, can increase your revenue. Hiring one would also allow you to redirect your focus and attention to other aspects of your business, especially areas you’re familiar with.
2. Automate Fleet Processes
Many small businesses with fleets struggle with tracking processes. Fleet managers that use traditional or manual tracking methods are often behind as they’re often bogged down with several other duties. When there are too many things for you or your fleet manager to do, manual data entry can be a waste of time.
A fleet management software program is the best solution for tracking your car fleet. This program collects all the important data that concerns all aspects of your fleet, from maintenance to costs. You can automate processes ahead of time to allow you to focus on other equally important tasks, such as planning for future vehicle purchases and working on your business plans.
3. Create a Maintenance Schedule
Successfully managing your business’s fleet of cars involves taking maintenance and inspections seriously. Your assets must be in good form and shape if your business operates optimally. When you fail to develop a proactive maintenance schedule, you’ll have worn down and expensive vehicles to repair.
If you haven’t created a maintenance schedule, now is the best time. These schedules are fairly easy to create. If you can automate processes, you can receive alerts whenever one of the vehicles is due for a routine checkup. You can either conduct your maintenance in-house or outsource to a third-party business. Whatever option you choose, you must ensure that professionals conduct the inspections.
Since maintenance is one of the regular expenses in your cash flow, getting your fleet of vehicles in shape will ensure you reduce your repair costs and prevent those unexpected breakdowns.
4. Manage Fuel Consumption
With rising fuel costs, it’s become more crucial for small businesses to handle their fleet’s fuel economy and get the best fuel mileage as much as possible. Luckily, there are some simple solutions to help you.
One of the first things you can introduce is the small business fuel cards. These cards offer businesses discounts on fuel, oil, and lubrication purchases at select stations. The more you use these cards, the more your business saves.
It would be best to also educate your drivers on using the most efficient routes while on the road. You can use directional and routing software to reach destinations in record time and use less fuel. Additionally, your drivers must learn not to drive aggressively. Instead, teach them to follow speed limits, reduce idling, brake smoothly, and use more efficient shifting techniques.
5. Communicate Company Policies with Drivers
Having a set of policies written down doesn’t mean all your workers, especially your drivers, would read and understand them. That’s why you must communicate all policies with your employees to ensure that you are all on the same page and understand each other’s duties.
You can choose to organize training or update sessions with your team to help them get a clearer understanding of the policies concerning your fleet. These sessions should also include lessons on best practices if they’re involved in accidents or when a vehicle breaks down.
6. Know Your Fleet’s Operating Costs
The most important thing for your small business is its bottom line. Knowing your fleet’s actual cost of ownership helps you control your expenses and make more data-driven decisions for your fleet.
Your fleet’s cost of ownership is placed in two sets: fixed and variable expenses. Fixed expenses, such as your registration or insurance, tend to stay the same for long periods. Nonetheless, you must include them in your budget. On the other hand, your fleet’s variable costs change depending on various factors, including its efficiency, type, and size.
7. Keep Your Fleet Clean
It would be best if you kept your fleet of cars clean. It’s a great way to keep your vehicles in good condition, but it also communicates your business’s professionalism to customers. Pressure washing is one of the best ways to clean your fleet vehicles. This method is a good cleaning option as it removes your car’s dirty and hardened dirt particles. Depending on how many vehicles you have, most pressure washing companies can offer your business discounts.
Apart from pressure washing, it would help if you also washed your fleet’s exterior like a traditional car wash. Your car’s interior must also be in good shape, especially since it’s most susceptible to litter and stains. Ensuring your cars are regularly cleaned is a great way to lengthen their lifespan and boost your company’s reputation.
If your business has a fleet of cars, you must care for it. Not only will it help improve business operations, but it can also help you manage your business expenses better. Try adopting some of these tips to see major changes in your business operations.
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