Small business owners have a lot to worry about. They need to worry about the competition, about their employees, about taxes, cybersecurity, pricing and about a thousand things more. In all this chaos, many SMBs lose sight of the fact that they have a fleet of vehicles of some kind and that this fleet needs to be managed as well as possible.
It does not matter what your SMB fleet looks like or what you use it for – it can be a few cars that your salespeople use to visit potential accounts or it can be a half a dozen delivery trucks or vans. What matters is that there are ways to use it that will not only save your business money but which will boost your revenue too.
A surprising number of SMBs build and maintain their fleet without first looking at alternatives and different vendors. Sometimes this has to do with area availability and sometimes it has to do with the fact that they don’t think it pays to shop around.
It always pays to shop around.
For example, your local used car dealer might actually have great deals on cars that are only slightly used. Or, you might discover that a local garage will give you better prices on regular maintenance than the official dealer you bought the vehicles from. You should also be smart about getting car parts and other vehicle-related purchases needed for regular maintenance. Buy Castrol fluids and other stuff you need for cars online and save a bunch of money.
Educate Your Employees
Regardless of what your SMB fleet is used for, you will need to educate your employees on how to care for their vehicles and how to behave on the road. For instance, even if your couple of cars are used by salespeople just to get from point A to point B, they will need to know about safe driving, driving legally and making sure they are not putting too much strain on the cars.
If you own delivery vehicles of some kind or commercial vehicles of another kind, you will need to spend even more time to educate your drivers, make sure they use the best routes, maintain their vehicles regularly and so on.
Maintenance. Maintenance. Maintenance.
The most important thing you will do for your SMB fleet is to ensure that all the vehicles undergo regular maintenance. This will involve the stuff that you can do in-house such as oil changes and tire inspections. This will, however, also entail taking your vehicles for regular major checkups during which any and all potential issues will be addressed by professionals.
By doing regular maintenance, you will prevent major problems and thus save on repairs and downtime. Moreover, you will be saving a ton of money on insurance premiums that can skyrocket if your fleet comes across as badly-maintained.
Think About an FMS
FMS stands for fleet management systems, which are a type of software that is used to manage fleets of various sizes. Some FM systems are meant to be used by large companies with hundreds of vehicles, while there are also those which can be used by SMBs that have a more limited number of vehicles on the road.
It should be pointed out that various FMS solutions provide different features, but they will always provide you with data on your routes, driving habits of the people who drive the vehicles, the speed of various routes, fuel consumption and much, much more.
You will need to pay for this type of software, but many companies discover that their fleets become much more cost-effective after purchasing such software, thus offsetting the initial price paid. There are even free solutions you might try out.