Tracking Vehicles Within Small Business Fleets: A Simple Method
If you own or manage a small business, tracking your vehicles’ location and usage can seem like an overwhelming task. With so many employees out on the road all day, there’s no way to keep track of their whereabouts without spending time and money on technological solutions that often prove too complex for your needs. It’s a catch-22; you either spend too much money to know where your vehicles are, or you don’t spend enough money and end up sacrificing productivity by not being able to locate them when needed.
What is Fleet Management?
Vehicle fleet management varies, depending on an organization’s needs. Truck or car fleets—overseeing company vehicles includes all actions taken to ensure they run legally, effectively, and within budget. This might include:
- Ensuring all licensing and government regulatory requirements are met.
- Providing and managing fuel cards.
- Scheduling office activities and vehicle tracking.
- Ensuring proper routine maintenance on the fleet.
- Providing detailed reports on fleet activity and cost.
- Monitoring driver behavior and vehicle safety records.
- Budget proposals.
Common Fleet Management Challenges for Small Businesses
It’s no secret that business fleet vehicles can often be challenging to track. While fleets with fewer than ten vehicles are easy to manage using Excel spreadsheets, more sophisticated fleet management systems – such as samsara’s technology, offer a simple way to track commercial vehicles. Samsara is a cloud-based system that allows businesses to monitor their fleets and dispatch managers while avoiding outages and reducing operating costs.
Fueling a business fleet is often one of the most expensive aspects of owning such an operation. With that in mind, it’s crucial to take into consideration how much money will go down the drain if fuel is being mismanaged and wasted – whether through bad driving performance like speeding, harsh braking or idling, unauthorized stops, and so on; or even taking company cars home for personal use during work hours. Without a proper tracking system, there will be nothing but guesswork – which might cost you more than you realize.
Vehicle Maintenance Cost
Maintaining the reliability of your assets is critical to effective fleet management. Repairing a single vehicle costs you money and can impact your company’s revenue. When the cars are out of service due to maintenance or break down due to neglect – this disrupts deliveries, decreases productivity for the entire fleet, and leads to poor customer relationships, lost business opportunities, and potentially even worse things like a damaged reputation for your company.
Small businesses often find it difficult to adjust when they need to alter their routes due to changes in how they operate. Drivers’ routes may stay the same for long periods, but nowadays, stops and delivery sizes are likely to change, requiring new and different routings, which can be tricky if you’re not prepared.
Accident Management and Fleet Safety
According to a study from Stanford Law School, about 90% of car accidents are caused by driver error. This can take form through reckless driving habits, distracted driving, or simple human error- and it’s something that fleets might need to look out for when managing their employees if they don’t have proper management systems set up or driver training programs in place.
Excess Administrative Duties
Although many small businesses still manage fleets with Excel, there are plenty of opportunities for human error if you’re not careful. Once you spend most of your days doing manual, administrative tasks instead of managing your fleet, it’s time to find new methods or system improvements to lessen some of the workloads so you can focus on what truly matters- running a successful business.
What Does a Fleet Manager Do?
Sometimes you’ll find a company that employs someone solely dedicated to overseeing all fleet operations. However, this is not always necessary. A fleet manager has two responsibilities – they are responsible for ensuring compliance with company policies and logging & record keeping while also managing fleet employees, scheduling routes, maintaining fleet vehicles, and improving the overall effectiveness of your fleet.
Fleet Management Cost
Managing a fleet of vehicles comes with some upfront costs and maintenance, but in the long term, it pays off. Installing a reliable Fleet Management Software or GPS Tracking system can start at $9.99 per vehicle and only increase depending on how many people are involved. Daily vehicle checks, tire management (changing when needed), oil changes, and other routine services will also be necessary for upkeep – which can all cost upfront. While hiring an outside contractor may seem more desirable, it’s always possible to do this job yourself if you follow these tips we’ve put together!
9 Best Way to Manage a Fleet of Company Vehicles
If you’re looking to steer clear of common mistakes in fleet management, here are some guidelines that will help get your company on the right track.
Establishing an Effective Fleet Management System Along with Company Policies
Even though you may believe your fleet is running smoothly, without an established policy and a documented fleet management program in place, you are likely leaving money behind. You can start by deciding on personal use policies for company vehicles, monitoring and evaluating vehicle or fuel expenses, creating training programs for drivers, establishing regulations about safety rules, and finally, establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Set Fleet Management Goals
Setting well-defined goals can be very useful when you’re in charge of a fleet of cars. It ensures that every person involved stays on the same page about what is being accomplished – increasing vehicle efficiency, better fuel management, routine car maintenance, or enhancing safety for drivers. Setting and communicating these goals within the company will go a long way to ensuring your business’ success.
Choose the Right Fleet of Vehicles
Selecting the right type of car for your company can be an overwhelming process. When done thoughtfully, it can save your business money in the long run. For example, if you find yourself constantly buying new cars while forgetting that there are other options at hand—such as replacing those cars with less expensive alternatives such as vans or pickup trucks; if you’re spending thousands on trucks and large cargo vans when what’s needed is a small delivery car; if fuel efficiency and cost-effective repairs matter to you—then these are all things worth considering before expanding your fleet.
Spend Money Appropriately
Buying new vehicles, hiring new staff members, paying for insurance, and maintaining said vehicles—can seem like an endless cycle. However, if you were to lease a fleet instead of buying them outright, it could save you money in the long run.
Before leasing or purchasing a fleet, many other factors need to be considered: taxes and financing, projected resale value, and future operational and needs business —you have to think about everything! As a small business owner managing fleets, every penny counts!
Hire Qualified Staff and Provide Training When Needed
As a business owner, when looking for new employees, it’s important to consider driver experience and skill. Ensure that you’re employing the right people to drive the cars – even though training drivers can also lead to greater productivity, fewer road accidents, and less wear and tear on your vehicles.
The most important thing? Scheduling jobs into short shifts, so they don’t fall asleep behind the wheel. And if they do happen to nod off while they’re at work? Offer some little perks as an incentive!
Maintain the Company Vehicles
Regular vehicle maintenance is necessary for the health and stability of your fleet. While it may seem like only one out-of-service car could make a difference, it can cause an avalanche effect on everything else in your operation. To prevent this from happening, proactive measures should be taken to create a vehicular maintenance plan or program that will help to mitigate expensive repairs and keep all cars operational.
Store Detailed Records and Analyze Data
Keep track of all the drivers driving which vehicles and when, what condition the car was in before, during, and after the shift, how much gas it used up on average per day, and any potential maintenance needed based upon its history and other factors. And while you’re at it – don’t just stop there. Make an effort to analyze this data regularly, so you can make informed decisions about changes you might want to implement; for example, if one driver’s gas usage is significantly higher than another person’s–ask them why they were driving differently from usual or if they needed something else done; if a particular car has been coming back from service with high mileage- figure out why it may be happening.
Be Open to Learning New Trends and Open Innovation
Keeping detailed logs and records is an idea that sounds fantastic in theory, but do you, as a small company owner, really have the time to track every fleet management detail manually? Chances are, the answer is no. And this is when fleet management software comes into play. Fleet management software takes all the tedious data-tracking workouts and allows you to manage your fleet through a desktop or mobile app easily. From improving fleet visibility to optimizing routes, fuel cost tracking, and custom reporting – there’s no right way to use it because the right fleet management software is about doing what works for your company.
Implement a GPS Vehicle Tracking Software
Installing a GPS vehicle tracking system is an affordable and effective way to monitor your fleet. With this system, you can know the location of each vehicle in your business at any time—helping minimize surprise accidents or breakdowns, raise safety standards, lower operational expenses, and even improve customer relationships!
Not sure how this works? Let’s break it down: With GPS tracking solutions, there’s no guessing if your driver made it where they said they would go – so consider getting one for your small business ASAP!
How Can Fleet Management Be Improved?
If you already have an established fleet management program, there is always room for progression. Beyond the basic best practices, here are a few more things to do if you want to make your operation even better than it currently is.
Use the Right Vehicle for the Job
Many businesses are failing just because they choose the wrong vehicle for their fleet. For instance, if you’re in charge of running a field service business that deals with electrical work or cleaning – make sure to outfit your fleet with vehicles and supplies capable of handling the most common scenarios on-site. In contrast, when it comes to operating a flower delivery service, consider whether going small will do better than having expensive vans only carrying half their capacity at any given moment.
Implement The Use of Fuel Cards
These cards are an excellent way to save an extra buck while driving, as they save you from having to pay the total price at a gas station and offer fuel discounts while still allowing you detailed information on how much is being spent.
Collaborate With Your Team on Improvements
Those in the field, who are closest to the problem, often know better than anyone else what will work. However, it can be easy to overlook this knowledge while focusing solely on balancing financial sheets and chasing new clients- listening to your team members’ input and incorporating their ideas will ultimately lead to success.
Brand Your Company Vehicles
You might have the best electrical company in the nation, but you risk remaining unknown for long periods without advertising to as many people as possible. Make sure your fleets have an eye-catching logo so that when people need good electrical services, they think of you!
A GPS tracker caveat
If you are considering a vehicle tracker but don’t know which one would work best, you might consider getting an affordable tracker from Smart Device Systems. Many fleet management software companies believe that smartphones can do the job of locating your fleet – give them time!
Dedicated hardware is sometimes unnecessary because many people carry their smartphones around all day.
There may be cases when GPS technology helps locate your truck – it depends on how big it is and what type of business it belongs to.
The release of new regulations called ELDs or Electronic Logging Devices mandated by government entities such as the DOT means providers now offer trackers which account for every mile traveled while keeping up with tasks like logging hours worked per driver.
How to Choose the Right Software Solutions for Your Fleet Management Needs?
There are many programs available for tracking vehicles in a small business fleet. Many of these programs are web-based and provide real-time access from multiple locations (e.g., an employee’s smartphone). Popular options include GPS tracking software and automatic vehicle location systems. Some programs also offer more robust solutions, including fuel management, maintenance reminders, driver feedback surveys, and much more. When choosing a fleet management program, it is essential to consider which features matter most to your company so you can make a well-informed decision about which solutions will work best for your unique needs.
Benefits of a Fleet Management Software Program
Proper fleet management has many clear benefits, some of which include the following:
- Easier car acquisition and disposal
- Makes the process of car acquisition and disposal easy
- A proper fleet management system in place allows one to efficiently coordinate the renewal of your licenses and regulatory requirements for legal purposes
- Helps create routine inspections as well as handles emergencies and repairs quickly
- It improves the company’s overall profit
- Allows one to complete reports effortlessly since it automates manual tasks
- The company may gain discounts from third-party vendors for their bulk orders
- Improves the standards of record keeping
- Helps increase productivity within the company
- Customer service will begin to thrive since delivery and feedback will be conducted promptly
The advantages of vehicle fleet management are extensive. With just a few cars or trucks, establishing a program to take care of these items will save the business time and money while also building the business.
How to Tell If You Need Fleet Management?
How can you know if your business needs fleet management? In many cases, small businesses need to implement this type of service when they have at least five vehicles conducting work-related tasks. However, there are other factors to consider before making this decision. For example, it’s worth asking yourself what happens after hiring someone for this position. What about the cost of getting started? And do you want to take on an additional task when all your time is already being taken up with other responsibilities? Once you find the answers to these questions, you will be able to determine if your business needs fleet management or not.
What Differentiates Us from Other Fleet Services Like Fleet Trax?
Any company, small or large, that has its fleet of vehicles can benefit from using Fleetr tracking services. With our product, you’ll never miss a beat, no matter how fast your business grows. Typical customers include construction crews, delivery and trucking companies, utility companies, and more. Our product also works well with mixed fleets, so you don’t need to worry about meeting every one of your regulatory requirements all at once!
Choose Fleetr for the Best GPS Tracking Systems for Small Businesses
Fleet management systems have to be reliable. This is true regardless of whether you’re in charge of a business fleet or a personal vehicle fleet, but it’s even more important when your fleet consists of vehicles used to generate revenue. If a GPS tracking device isn’t going to be accurate, dependable, and easy to use (or even cost-effective), it may not do much for your business.
The best system will work seamlessly with other devices in your company, providing you with enough information to make important decisions about your vehicles and their operations! So, if you’re looking for the best fleet management system for your company, contact Fleetr today at 1 (415) 651-7575, or visit our website https://www.fleetr.com/