September 7, 2012 - by |

4 Keys for Maintaining a Frugal Fleet

Do you cut coupons? Turn off lights not in use at home? Shop around for the best insurance rates? As the economy continues to languish, people are being more frugal than ever, and that certainly goes for fleet managers and business owners too. Are you looking to run a more frugal fleet? Here are some pointers.

Get Baselines/Benchmarks

Before you can start to reduce fleet costs you need to determine what what your baseline is. How much are you spending, on average, on gas each day across all vehicles? How much are you spending on maintenance monthly? Some fleet managers keep detailed records, some fly by the seat of their pants. You can’t start improving until you start measuring. If you have a GPS tracking system, this kind of data is probably readily available, you just need to start using it.

Communicate Numbers to Entire Team

Once you have your numbers, make sure every driver and technician in your fleet knows what their numbers are. Make sure they know what’s being spent on fuel, maintenance, insurance, etc. Give them ownership of their numbers and work with them to identify areas to start reducing costs. Ask if they idle frequently and if they know how much fuel it wastes. Ask if they realize the impact of hard breaking, rapid acceleration, hard cornering, etc. on their vehicle’s maintenance. Are they reporting issues to your fleet mechanic or just living with them?

Limit Personal Use

Your technicians and drivers spend a lot of time in their vehicles. Over time they may begin to feel as if the vehicle is theirs. This can sometimes lead to misuse as employees begin using their vehicles inappropriately on weekends or after hours. Do you let these incidents go or do you restrict this kind of use? You may find that eliminating personal use not only reduces fuel use and wear and tear, but it also may save your reputation. A van with your name on it parked after hours at an inappropriate location could be damaging your reputation and losing you business.

Initiate Fuel Usage Policies – Introduce a Fuel Card and Usage Policy

Fleet fuel cards can provide discounts and rewards, reduce paperwork, save you from fraudulent spending, provide purchase controls, improve driver security and much more. If you’re already using fuel cards, make sure you’re getting the most out of them. That starts with developing and communicating a usage policy including:

  • Acceptable card uses
    Washer fluid
    Motor oil
    Wiper blades
  • Unacceptable card uses
    Car washes
    Bulk fuel
    Non-company vehicles
  • Consequences for improper use
  • Card spending limits
  • Retention of receipts

These are just examples, but the more specific the better. Combine your fuel cards with a GPS tracking system to get even more information about how they’re being used and what impact it’s having.

If you have any other ways to reduce fleet costs or save money in general, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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