Many businesses rely on vehicles to push their companies forward every day. It could be as simple as company cars. They allow employees to travel the country for meetings. They represent the business and ensure that employees always have a reliable car for the job. The vehicles may be more commercial in nature. Thousands of businesses rely on vans, lorries and other hauliers to transport their goods.
Commercial fleets are at the heart of so many businesses. Yet it is certainly no small feat to get your first vehicles on the road. The biggest consideration when it comes to commercial vehicles is cost. Can you afford to put these vehicles on the road? Will they push your business forward enough to make a profit? There is a delicate balance to be struck when putting together your first commercial fleet.
However your fleet will perform, we’ve got seven tricks to help you build yours. These tips will work for company cars, haulage vans and industrial vehicles like tractors. It’s a simple case of keeping the costs low, but efficient. You want a profit margin, but you want great performance too. Like we said, it’s a delicate balancing act. Without further ado, here’s how you build your first fleet of commercial vehicles.
Look at your options
Before you do anything, ensure that you have researched all of your available options. If you’re after a fleet of company cars, assess the merits of each manufacturer. Prioritise the reasons for putting this fleet in place. Do you want good fuel economy, or is style and design more important? This could be the choice between a fleet of Fords and a fleet of Jaguars. When it comes to haulage, which vehicle best suits your needs? Is the traditional transit van sufficient for deliveries? Have you explored the option of working with a logistics company? This could work out more efficient and cheaper than investing in your own fleet.
Buy or lease?
Your next big consideration is whether you’ll buy or lease the vehicles. The benefits here will depend on the vehicle you’re looking at. For example, half of the company cars on our roads today are leased. There are significant benefits to leasing when it comes to a fleet of company cars. Brand new cars depreciate rapidly, losing up to half their value in the first few years. Businesses don’t want this diminishing profit on their balance sheets. Instead, they save serious money by leasing. This is essentially a long-term hire, for a period of three to four years.
When it comes to vans and other commercial vehicles it can pay dividends to buy. However, it may be worth looking at the second market. You’ll find a great number of bargains on used vans through online dealerships. Other commercial vehicles like tractors and harvesters can be tracked down on AutoTrader Farm. It will generally work out better value to buy these larger vehicles rather than lease.
When a vehicle is out on the road, your company is liable for its well-being. Not only that, but your company is liable for the well being of others. With that in mind, you’ll need to make sure that your entire fleet is properly insured. Commercial insurance is a little different to personal car insurance. That’s because it has to defend against personal liability claims should anything happen.
Most company car fleets are covered by full comprehensive business insurance. This will guard them against all eventualities. The same is true for the large commercial vehicles. The first thing you will do with your insurer is agree on a definition of commercial use. Make sure that you are truthful and specific when defining this. If your vehicle is involved in an accident outside the remit of the definition, you are at risk of lawsuit.
Lastly, you’ll have to file the exact number of vehicles and drivers that will be covered. Never let an uninsured driver get behind the wheel of your commercial vehicle.
How to cut costs
Just like personal insurance, there are a number of factors that can reduce your premium here. The location of the business and the vehicles is the first feature. Safer areas with good security and protection will result in a lower quote. Just like with your personal insurance, the vehicle itself will have an impact. Every vehicle will fall into a different category based on safety, size and price. Finally, the qualification and experience of your drivers will have an effect.
Fuel economy is one of your most important considerations when it comes to a commercial fleet. The biggest reason for this is cost. First of all, vehicles with good fuel economy will do more miles to every gallon of fuel. That means you’ll save money at the pumps. Secondly, low emitting vehicles are subject to large tax deductions and incentives. By investing in vehicles with a good fuel economy, you’ll save money on tax.
Maintenance and breakdown
Anyone who owns their own car can appreciate the crippling costs of repairs and maintenance. When it comes to a commercial fleet, these costs are magnified. It is therefore imperative that you avoid major repairs and costly breakdowns. To do this, it’s worth taking out a service plan with your garage or supplier. This will ensure the vehicles get a regular health check. This will highlight any potential problems early and avoid bigger issues.
Monitoring and management
Last of all, it’s really important that you monitor the efficiency of your fleet. If you own a haulage fleet, monitor the times between deliveries. Take a note of the performance of the vehicles including mileage, fuel consumption and engine wear. Continually set your fleet new performance targets and train drivers so they can hit them.
Setting up your first fleet is a big step for any new business. It will help you push forward into a more efficient, more profitable realm. However, make sure that you scale up slowly and efficiently. Invest in the right way and monitor every step of the journey. You’ll soon be on your way to a powerful new fleet of commercial vehicles!