Managing a working vehicle fleet comes with many tasks. For a small business, one of the most important is keeping on top of your fleet maintenance costs, as failing to do so could lead your business to leak cash unnecessarily.
This guide explains the key tasks you need to undertake to maintain your fleet economically, from servicing your vehicles to managing your fuel spending.
We’ve given you insight into how these costs are calculated and included links to helpful resources that will make your job easier.
Fleet maintenance means managing your vehicles to ensure they’re safe, efficient and durable. Your business must have a process in place to maintain its vehicles.
If you don’t then you will not only lose money from underperforming vehicles but you could also leave your company open to legal threats, as unsafe vehicles can lead to accidents.
Servicing your vehicles is the most important part of your fleet maintenance. They’re part of the backbone of your business, as without safe and efficient vehicles your jobs won’t get completed on time and journeys may result in costly accidents.
You must schedule regular services and these are the things you need to inspect and check:
Some of these things will be covered off as part of your MOT checks. However, the thing to keep in mind is that these are professional vehicles.
This means they are put under greater strain than private vehicles, as they’re driven more frequently and often over longer distances –particularly for global transport businesses. It also means your business is liable if any of these vehicle parts fall into disrepair, aren’t operating at full capacity or become unsafe.
The cost of your vehicle service depends on the frequency with which it’s carried out and whether the work is done in-house or by an external contractor. It also depends on the depth of the service you have, as you may choose to go beyond the basic maintenance highlighted in the 25 things we’ve above highlighted as needing to be checked and inspected.
These are some of the average costings you can expect for a basic service:
HGV: Varies enormously — you can get an idea from the UK Government’s guidance on HGV and trailer test fees.
Your drivers are vital to your fleet business. Without them, your work doesn’t get done and your company is unable to bring in revenue and make a profit.
Your drivers are also a key part of your fleet maintenance, as they’re the ones who drive your vehicles and cause wear and tear.
This is why you need to review their driving standards regularly. The cost of failing to do so is having vehicles that need more repairs, need to be replaced sooner and are less safe to be on the road.
You can maintain the standards you demand of your drivers by investing in a telematics system. This is vehicle tracking software that records data about driver behaviour. This includes how fast they drive, how hard they brake, and a range of other information that impacts on your cars, vans and lorries.
You can get a telematics system with iCompario. All you need to do is use our “Compare vehicle tracking” tool. Just enter your requirements and you’ll be given the best quotes to match your needs.
The cost of your telematics software depends on the number of features you request, with journey history, real-time tracking and fuel efficiency among the many options available.
Tax is an unavoidable part of all companies, including fleet businesses. There are a number of taxes specific to running transportation companies. Ensuring you pay the correct ones and amounts is key to your fleet maintenance.
The UK government operates a free scheme to help fleet managers and owners deal with the administrative burden that comes with running their business. It’s called the DVLA fleet scheme and it provides assistance in the following areas:
It has a helpdesk too, so if you have any queries about your business taxes you can speak to a government representative and get accurate information.
Joining the DVLA fleet scheme is totally free but paying your taxes does come with a cost. This will either be from the money you pay an outsourced accounting firm, or to the person(s) within your business that looks after taxes — even if it’s you.
It’s a legal requirement for every vehicle to be insured, unless it’s SORN and off-road. This means you have to insure all the vehicles used by your fleet.
Insurance is, therefore, one of the costs that your business must bear but it needn’t pay more than it has to.
Reviewing your insurance premiums regularly can save your business serious money. It might not be that you save a huge amount for each vehicle. However, every little saving helps and if your fleet operates a lot of vehicles then these little cost reductions could add up to a lot of cash.
There are two primary ways you can see what insurance packages are available to your business. Firstly, you (or someone from your company) can search what’s out there. Secondly, you could get a broker to do the job for you. In both examples, you’ll be given a list of providers and the cost of their policies.
Without fuel, your vehicles remain stationary and your drivers can’t do their work. It’s a daily commitment for your business and one of the fleet maintenance costs you should review regularly.
Fuel cards are a simple way of managing the money you spend on diesel and petrol. They keep an electronic record of every fuel purchase made by your drivers. You can then review these transactions by using the account management software that comes with your fuel cards.
The benefit of doing this is that you can spot if your drivers are filling up at costlier petrol stations than they need to. You can then use the station locators you get with your fuel card to highlight cheaper options.
There are lots of costs that come with maintaining your fleet. Choosing a vehicle tracking system from iCompario can help you manage your fleet maintenance costs.
Telematics provides a broad range of data that highlights improvements that can be made to driving behaviour. This lets you see if your drivers are breaking too hard and putting too much strain on your vehicles. Making changes to this can help your vehicles last longer and reduce your insurance premiums.
To find the best telematics solution for your fleet, you can use the iCompario comparison tool. Our tool lets you compare telematics software, you can define your business needs and select which telematics features are important to you and we will recommend the best supplier for you.