Everything Small Businesses Need To Know About Fleet Management
Most businesses will have a fleet of some kind; whether they know it or not. If your company owns a vehicle, or has an employee that uses their own, it’s there. Which is why even small companies need to understand the ins and outs of fleet management…
Duty of Care
Under employment law, you’re “vicariously liable” for the actions of your employees. In effect, you’re liable for negligent death and harm that befalls them or members of the public through them. Fleets come with a series of unique challenges when it comes to providing duty of care. You need to ensure that anyone driving on behalf of the company (that is, miles that don’t constitute a commute) is fit to do so; that means license and insurance checks. These will need to be on-going, to insure penalty points don’t exceed the maximum and that policies are still in effect.
But it’s not just a question of checking a few documents. You also need to ensure that employees’ vehicles are properly maintained (whether they’re the company’s property or not). That means checking tyres, brakes, regular servicing and maintenance. Driver health checks are also becoming increasingly important, with some fleets employing random spot and drug tests.
Servicing and Maintenace
Servicing and maintenance plays a crucial role in providing duty of care; after all, an unsafe vehicle can be an enormous liability. But they’re also important in of themselves. After all, immobile vehicles mean immobile employees; which means lost business. You need to accurately monitor your vehicle’s servicing history and ensure that they receive the appropriate care. You’ll also need to locate appropriate garages and secure cost-effective labour rates.
Some issues will fall out of the servicing cycle, too. The likes of tyre pressures and tread depth need to be actively monitored. You’ll also potentially need to arrange for the vehicles to be collected and redelivered.
Even small fleets can prove to be a major source of expenditure. On top of maintenance costs, fuel is a major thorn in the side of most fleets. Whilst you may operate within a relatively small radius, a lack of route planning and poor driving behaviours can burn through your budget. This is why you need to record a vast field of data, and over a long period of time, to get the most out of your funds.
Many fleets are now making use of telematics technologies. Whilst these can be pricey in of themselves, they allow for accurate monitoring of fleet variables; which is invaluable when it comes to saving money. Of course, ensuring good driver behaviour is also a good way of avoiding accidents, scrapes and dents. But that involves training and clearly defined (and communicated) policies.
The vehicles that your fleet uses, or makes available to employees, are enormously important. First of all, you need to select vehicles that are appropriate for the demands of the business and your staff; there’s no point supplying a London-based team with diesel-guzzling Land Rovers! Conversely, it’d be unwise to use Fiat 500s in the Scottish Highlands. You need to think about mile per gallon rating (mpgs), emissions (thanks to the rise of low emission zones and benefit in kind rates) and safety scores; many of which are allocated by Euro NCAP.
A crucial aspect of vehicle selection is also whole life costs. That is to say, how expensive the vehicle will prove over the course of its ‘career’ within your fleet. This will include the likes of repair and maintenance costs, insurance, depreciation and fuel consumption. You then need to think about how you’re procuring the vehicle, whether via lease, finance or outright purchase. You need to consider how long is appropriate to keep hold of the vehicle; many fleets keep vehicles on to the point of negation, when they simply become a burden.
Of course, doing all of this means discerning the company’s interests and the interests of your employees; who will always want the ‘best’ vehicle on the market. You need to find a balance between the two.
To make matters more complicated, most small businesses will probably have a ‘grey’ fleet. This is the sum total of all the vehicles your employees use that aren’t affiliated with the company itself. It’ll include vehicles they own, rent or lease and use for business purposes. It makes sense for very small businesses to have grey fleets; there’s little reason for them to own a pool of vehicles, unless it’s a part of the industry (such as van drivers). But for slightly larger companies, who use a larger pool of staff, it can cause problems. These are usually compliance based, as it’s harder to monitor the likes of vehicle maintenance, fuel costs and accidents.
Fundamentally, grey fleets make it hard to monitor costs, usually entail higher fuel costs and are less efficient than the alternatives. Grey fleet vehicles tend to be older, too, which means they’re usually not as safe as standard fleet vehicles; they’re also typically more polluting.
Autoserve Can Manage Your Fleet For You
Let’s face it, fleet management is a challenge for small businesses. It consists of so many responsibilities that it can be difficult to figure out where to start. Fundamentally, it can distract you and your staff from their primary duties; the things that keep your business alive and, hopefully, profitable. That’s why so many SMEs rely on fleet management companies to address their needs for them.
Autoserve is a rapidly growing vehicle management company. Our Fleet Card is suitable whether you have one vehicle or a 100. Thanks to our network of 16,000-approved garages (both independent and main dealer), we can guarantee reliable servicing and maintenance at a discounted rate and much more. With Autoserve, one call does it all.
The Autoserve Fleet Card covers…
– 24 Hour Assistance / Driver Helpline
– Free Vehicle Collection and Delivery
– 16,000 approved garages across the UK
– Discounts on Servicing and Maintenance Costs
– Warranty Claim Handling
– Duty of Care
– Accident Management
– Discounted Fuel Card
– Dedicated Account Manager for bookings
– Invoice Vetting
– Account Billing
– Online reporting
Learn more about our fleet card here: http://autoserve.co.uk/our-products/
Learn more about duty of care here: https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/services/vehicle-health-safety-duty-of-care/