Business is a lot more than opening a store and listening to the cash register ring. It’s like a puzzle with many different components to figure out.
If you’re still a new business owner, you’re probably unsure what to do next. A great thing for you to better your business is to get a fleet. Here’s what you need to know about getting your own business fleet and how to effectively manage it.
What is a Fleet?
A fleet is a group of specialized vehicles that’s under your command. Many businesses, like Domino’s Pizza, UPS, FedEx, Coca-Cola and HVAC companies, have their own fleets.
It’s what they use to distribute their products and services to the public. Even dog walking services have their own fleet to advertise their business. A fleet can include all kinds of vehicles as well such as standard cars, vans and 18-wheelers.
What Equipment Should Be Included?
Every fleet is mandated to be outfitted with certain equipment before they’re dispatched onto the open road.
The technology that’s used is to keep the driver, the vehicle and the business itself safe. Below is a list of the required equipment you must install:
- Electronic logging devices
- Dash cams
- Wireless devices, like Bluetooth headphones
One other device we need to go in-depth in how they benefit small businesses are GPS tracking systems. They are what allow you to see what vehicle is where at all times.
The GPS fleet tracking software is to help prevent the risk of theft and other mishaps.
Purchase Fleet Insurance
Since getting a fleet is such a hefty investment, it’d be foolish not to secure it. Fleet insurance comes with a few benefits aside from being financially secured. For starters, this insurance doesn’t just cover a single vehicle; it covers all of them under one policy.
This makes managing each vehicle more efficient because you’re not reviewing multiple policies. Secondly, fleet insurance is a lot more affordable than having multiple policies.
If you were to have each vehicle under its own insurance, the costs would be out of this world. Fleet insurance helps you remain organized while saving a lot of money each month.
Properly Screen and Educate Your Drivers
It should go without saying that your fleet won’t perform without drivers. However, you don’t want to put it at risk with unreliable drivers.
Before anything, you need to properly screen and evaluate every new recruit. Make sure they pass the background check, like if they have any criminal history, the validity of their license and their medical history.
Hiring the wrong driver can even cause your insurance premiums to increase. Always go with your instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, then it’s a good idea to keep looking. Once you do find the proper candidates, it’s up to you to give them the training they need to succeed.
Doing so can minimize the risk of accidents and prevent you from being sued. Every driver is also different.
Have a Maintenance Process in Place
One of the biggest variables when it comes to effectively managing a fleet operation is the health of the vehicles.
You can take every precautionary measure possible but at the end of the day, you are going to face maintenance issues at some point.
Since large problems can result in having to remove a vehicle from service, which then affects your cash flow and possibly an employee’s earning potential, having a plan for regular, daily maintenance, in place is an essential preventative step.
Your road team can help you in this effort, and that ties in the aforementioned need to properly educate your drivers.
Create daily log sheets that require drivers, and possibly managers, to inspect their vehicles at the start and conclusion of every shift.
Things like tire pressure, oil level, and even washer fluid, can all help prolong the health of the vehicle when checked regularly.
This also allows you to build a strong foundation for your company that is rooted in things like collaboration, safety, accountability, and employee engagement, just to name a few.
The Pace of the Industry is Quick
As of late, the logistics industry as a whole has absolutely blown up. As a new business owner, you likely have a ton of energy and adrenaline for this new phase of life, which is good because the pace of fleet management is quick.
With so much of the business happening in real time you need to be adaptable and proactive. No matter what need your company fills, you will have customers to answer to.
They are going to constantly have questions about things like delivery times, and product condition, and these inquiries often come with an expectation of quick answers.
Some of the equipment previously mentioned can help you keep up and maintain accuracy, but you can also look into things like project management software to help your team keep up with the pace of the industry.