Having a fleet of vehicles for your construction or general contracting business gives you more control over your work crews. You know that they are in dependable vehicles equipped with everything they need to complete a job, as opposed to depending upon their personal vehicles. You also have more control over expenses, instead of paying per mileage bonuses on personal trucks. Yet, there are some key things you need to consider to ensure that your fleet management is cost effective. The following three ideas may help you save on your fleet expenses.
#1: Manage the fleet size
Be realistic when determining the size of your fleet, especially if you are entering a leasing contract. When first starting out it is often more cost effective to err on the side of a smaller fleet. You do not want an "extra" vehicle sitting at your office location – all fleet vehicles should be dispatched daily to job sites. If you have extras just sitting around, you have vehicles wasting money. It's easy to fall into the trap of too many vehicles since many fleet leasing companies will offer you discounts to increase the size of your fleet. Don't give in unless you actually need to add more vehicles.
#2: Manage fleet fuel discounts
It's vital that you invest the time in negotiating a fleet price on fuel, since this will likely be your largest expenditure after the vehicles themselves. When choosing a fuel station look for the one that has both the best price and is readily accessible by your staff. A station that is located near your main office and also has several stations scattered around your primary service area is best. Then, enforce the use of this station. Provide every driver with a fleet fuel card and require that they must get preapproval before getting fuel at any other station, such as if they become low on fuel when outside of your normal service area.
#3: Look into onsite maintenance
Repair needs are often low for leased fleet vehicles since they are traded in every few years. Only routine maintenance, such as oil changes and tire pressure checks, is usually needed. It's possible to have this maintenance done onsite by a traveling fleet mechanic. In some cases the company you lease from may even offer the service. While it may come with an additional service charge, it will safe you cash on lost labor since your staff won't be spending long hours sitting at a repair shop. Keeping up with maintenance may also be a lease requirement, which will help you avoid penalties.
Consider hiring a fleet management company to help you navigate the different aspects of keeping a fleet and staying on budget.