A growing fleet business can spark a key question for business owners: When to shift from handling fleet management yourself to hiring a dedicated fleet manager.
As a guiding principle, a business owner should bring on a fleet manager once they can no longer maintain an acceptable standard of fleet management along with their other company duties.
Failing to meet an acceptable standard of optimized fleet management will cost your business money in lost efficiencies and increased expenses.
Around 24 vehicles is often when this juggling act starts to fail. To decide if it’s time for you to hire a fleet manager, evaluate your business against the fleet management standards below.
Optimized Fleet Management
According to a white paper by Dr. William Wenzel, optimizing fleet maintenance and repairs can lead to a 10 to 20% reduction in maintenance expenses, including an 8 to 12% reduction in fuel costs.
As a fleet grows in size, your ability to meet the ideal standard for optimized fleet management will decline, and fleet costs will rise. At that point, the cost of bringing on a dedicated fleet manager will likely be mitigated by how much money your business saves, thanks to proper fleet management.
Below are ideal fleet management standards that you should be adhering to. If you can’t meet these standards because you’re spending so much time handling other aspects of your business, consider hiring a fleet manager.
- Maintenance and repair cost comparisons. As your fleet grows or ages, conduct regular analysis to ensure you are optimizing maintenance costs. Spending time ensuring you’re working with the most cost-effective auto shop, dealership or an in-house mechanic. For example, promotions or volume-based deals are often available if you’re outsourcing maintenance.
- Procurement and supplies cost management. Monitor options for buying vehicle materials in bulk from different vendors to find the best volume discounts. Large purchases should involve thorough bargain hunting and price negotiating to ensure lower costs.
- Maintenance quality control. Every repair or maintenance project should be monitored to ensure quality, and so turnaround time doesn’t suffer. Routine maintenance shows the best return when it happens on a strict schedule.
- Vehicle registration and inspection management. Closely manage deadlines annual inspections and registration renewals. A fleet manager can prevent lapses that result in fines or tickets.
- Evaluation of new technology and trends. Your business should take advantage of superior products as they become available, from fuel cards to electronic toll payment solutions. Don’t let technology or processes to become outdated.
- Strategic and long-term fleet planning. Your fleet should have the right composition for the demands of your business. For example, have you evaluated your fleet’s composition recently to ensure you’re keeping pace with your business’s demand and the most efficient cars available? What are your business goals, and how will you meet them? Such planning takes time, and takes focus away from daily fleet management.
- Monitor driver performance. Actively monitor and evaluate your drivers to identify weaknesses. Address issues immediately to avoid costly mistakes, including accidents. Identify drivers who could improve their productivity or efficiency, and create a plan to work with them to do so.
If you can’t meet these standards of fleet management and optimization, consider adding a fleet manager to your business.
Accelerating Business Growth
Hiring a fleet manager will increase your payroll, but consider the revenue they can generate from improved business operations, and by improving your ability to grow the business.
What would you be able to accomplish if you didn’t have to spend time managing your fleet? You could keep better tabs on business expansion opportunities, evaluate your own product or service pricing relative to the latest industry norms, develop plans for growing your business, or strengthen your employee pipeline. If you aren’t able to dedicate your time to these tasks, you’re likely missing out on growth opportunities.
Of course, a fleet manager isn’t free, but it could be more cost-effective than you realize. Honestly evaluating how optimized your fleet management practices are currently, and how much of your time is spent on fleet management tasks compared to business owner duties, could offer clear direction about whether to hire a fleet manager.