April 14, 2023
We know that with rising costs affecting businesses of all kinds and sizes finding ways to save money on their fleet is becoming more important than ever before.
There are a few strategies that you might be considering:
- Reducing your fleet size
- Changing fleet funding methods
- Ways of improving fuel economy, including using more EVs, reducing fuel usage and improving fuel economy
- Revaluating and renegotiating associated costs like insurance, maintenance and driver training
In this article, we are going to focus on the cost of vehicle maintenance and how you can reduce this, in particular maintenance that is required as a result of damage or neglect.
Ten Tips to Reduce Damage Costs in Your Fleet
1. Put Drivers in the Right Vehicles
One of the most underrated and effective ways to minimise damage in your fleet is to make sure that drivers are in appropriate vehicles.
For example, if you’ve got a driver who often needs to transport heavy loads then you want to make sure they’re in a vehicle that can handle the weight without causing excess strain on the suspension or a vehicle capable of towing so that they can use a trailer instead of loading up the car.
2. Have a Clear Method for Drivers to Report Vehicle Issues
Getting smaller issues addressed earlier on will prevent them from becoming larger, more costly problems. But in order to get these issues looked at you need to ensure there is a straightforward process for drivers to report any issues with their vehicle and to have these repaired.
Not only do you need a process in place but you also need to make sure that all drivers know what this process is. We recommend that as well as providing information when a new employee is hired that you send regular reminders to existing employees.
3. Conduct Regular Vehicle Inspections
One way in which you can help these smaller problems be picked up earlier on is with regular inspections of the vehicle. We would recommend having the driver conduct these as they will be the person most familiar with the vehicle and so most likely to notice any changes in its condition. Additionally, having the driver complete the checks helps promote a greater sense of responsibility for the vehicle.
These inspections do not have to be time-consuming and can take as little as ten minutes once a month but can have a significant impact on your fleet’s condition.
4. Keep Drivers Informed
We know that when you’re managing a fleet of drivers there will be different levels of understanding but it’s important that you make sure drivers understand their vehicles and any limitations on them.
A few key facts you should make sure drivers are aware of for their vehicles are:
- Fuel type
- Engine size
- Vehicle weight limit
- Recommended tyre pressure
- Towing capacity (if able to tow)
- Any features or functions that may be new to them
- Insurance details (if covered by company policy)
5. Increase Driver Training
Another way to reduce damage is to reduce the risk of accidents, and you can do this by making sure your drivers receive training that helps them be the best drivers they can be.
We think driver training is a key component of fleet management, not just because it can reduce your fleet costs, but helps you with your duty of care responsibilities towards drivers, helps improve driver safety and supports your team in being better drivers.
6. Utilise Telematics
Telematics have come a long way in recent years and they can now be used to give insight into driver habits and driving styles. There are some driving traits, such as harsh braking or accelerating too quickly that will cause excessive wear to the vehicle and in doing so mean they need maintenance more regularly to repair and replace parts. Reporting on these areas of driver behaviour can highlight drivers who might need additional support or training to improve these habits.
7. Keep Up with Scheduled Maintenance
We know it can be hard to arrange maintenance, especially when you have a larger fleet and drivers who might be resistant to scheduling it but keeping on top of servicing and regular maintenance tasks will help reduce your maintenance spending in two ways. Firstly, it will prevent issues from developing that might if you don’t keep on top of vehicle maintenance. Secondly, any issues should be detected which can reduce the risk of them becoming greater issues further down the line.
8. Look at Additional Insurance Policies
If you’re leasing your fleet vehicles then damage can be particularly problematic as you need to return the vehicle in line with the BVRLA’s fair wear and tear guidelines, and while these will take into account the expected wear during the contract time period any excess damage will be recharged to you. There are additional insurance products that you can take out that will cover you for damage like scratched paintwork or alloys that you otherwise would get the bill for. It is worth considering whether such policies would be beneficial for your fleet, especially if you rely on leasing as a primary funding method.
9. Plan Your Routes
It might not be one of the first benefits you think of when you plan routes, but if you know there’s a road that’s particularly dangerous (this could be because of a blind spot, speed limit changes or any other feature), has a lot of potholes or similar surface damage that can damage your vehicles or any other condition that could lead to excess wear or damage to your vehicle then you can plan to avoid this as part of the route planning.
10. Think About Parking
Vehicle vandalism most commonly happens when a car is parked and unattended, so it’s important to consider where your fleet is parked to help tackle this aspect of fleet damage. We recommend advising your drivers of safe parking practises for overnight and whilst out and about as part of this. Additionally, you should make sure that any workplace parking that you offer is as safe as you can make it.
Enjoyed this article? Read more of our latest blogs below:
- Know the Difference - Hybrid Edition
- How to Make Your Fleet More Sustainable
- Travelling in a Company Car
- Electric Fleet FAQs
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