In some types of businesses, a car comes with the job. The pest control technicians who spray your home, for instance, are usually issued company cars rather than being asked to drive their own. Once your business purchases its first car, though, it ventures into fleet management territory, which means fleet maintenance must be added to your list of expenses and responsibilities. Fortunately, with the right plan in place, you can keep your vehicles in great shape.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Fleet maintenance refers to the money and effort a business puts into ensuring its vehicles are sufficiently safe and operable for employee use.
What Is Fleet Maintenance?
Just as you need to maintain your personal car, your business also needs to regularly care for its commercial vehicles. Fortunately, setting up a car or truck maintenance plan is fairly easy. You simply decide which items need regular care and make out a schedule to ensure it gets done. In addition to oil changes, tire rotations and routine thorough checks, you should also consider how you’ll keep the company's vehicles clean. Will you pay a service to wash them at scheduled intervals or will you periodically run each car through a local car wash?
Benefits of Fleet Maintenance
It can be tempting to procrastinate fleet maintenance because it takes your vehicles off the road temporarily and can be a burden on your budget. However, the cost of not maintaining your fleet can be even greater. Simply failing to get an oil change every three to six months can lead to damage to your engine, costing more than $3,500. Not only does neglecting fleet repair lead to bigger bills and shorter lives for each of your vehicles, it can put your employees at risk of breaking down while en route to a work assignment or meeting. Keeping your vehicles up-to-date means better fuel efficiency and compliance with current and new regulations.
Outsourcing Vs. In-House Repairs
As you work fleet repair into your fleet management plan, you have some important decisions to make. If you have an active fleet, it might be worthwhile to invest in a full- or part-time mechanic to take care of your vehicles. This person could also take charge of overseeing rental and return, assuming each vehicle isn’t assigned to a specific employee. However, many businesses choose to outsource vehicle maintenance, sending employees to an express oil change place or contracting with a local repair shop that can expedite basic maintenance. As your business grows, you can continue to price your options and decide whether it’s worth the ongoing expense to put a mechanic on salary.
Stephanie Faris is a novelist and business writer whose work has appeared on numerous small business blogs, including Zappos, GoDaddy, 99Designs, and the Intuit Small Business Blog. She worked for the State of Tennessee for 19 years, the latter six of which were spent as a supervisor. She has written about business for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2011.