Taking good care of a company vehicles means making allowances for maintenance, breakdowns and repairs. So, what should good fleet support services look like?
Fail to make sure sufficient fleet support is in place, and you may find a broken-down vehicle can be a huge disruption.
Running a fleet operation is not without its risks, and business owners should always have a plan of action in mind should the worst happen.
Naturally, all fleet vehicles will be insured before they are on the road and will have regular MOTs, but that’s not the be-all and end-all of preparing for accidents.
Here, we explore what kind of support services a fleet owner should have in place, from maintenance and repair all the way up to vehicle replacements.
Support services: Repair and MOT
Fleet vehicles should undergo regular MOTs and maintenance, for insurance purposes and to ensure the vehicles are safe and ticking over nicely. It is possible to make an arrangement where all of your vehicles are catered for under one comprehensive contract.
For example, the FCA Group offers full maintenance with its contract hire offering through its Leasys financial services department. This makes it easier to manage the total cost of ownership of the fleet, as servicing, maintenance and tyres are all covered in monthly payment instalments.
“All our vans are covered by a maintenance, service, recovery contract, which works out cheaper than having to cater for each individual vehicle,” said Bob Muxworthy, health and safety manager at MRM Solutions.
“Our overall policy is to cycle vans over a three years period, i.e. all vans are less than three years old to ensure reliability, safety and keeping abreast of latest technology.”
Support services: Breakdown and recovery
Breakdown cover is not a requirement, but it is something that can be exceptionally useful if a fleet vehicle breaks down while on the job.
It goes without saying that a breakdown can be disruptive for a business. If you don’t get the vehicle up and running again quickly it can lead to missed or late jobs, negative feedback, and eventually lost profits.
Support services: Replacements
In the event that a vehicle is written off, or needs to go into the shop for repairs, it is crucial that fleet drivers can still get around and carry out their duties.
For this reason, many fleet operators invest in services that gives them access to replacement fleet vehicles if this was to happen. Again, it is not a requirement, but if a business is at risk of coming to a grinding halt without it, it might be worth paying – even if you hope never to have to use it.
“We use a risk management system that is designed especially for our company and we try to lower accidents to an absolute minimum by encouraging safe driving. If there is an accident, the health of our franchisees is our utmost priority, as well as ensuring that they have a replacement vehicle so that they can return to work when ready,” said Sovndahl.
Support services: When an accident isn’t your fault
Sometimes, a fleet vehicle might be in an accident that wasn’t the employee’s fault, which can end up being expensive for the fleet owner.
In order to get the best deals on insurance and repairs, some fleet owners install cameras and tracking tools.
“Using a dash cam allows peace of mind that should a vehicle be involved in an accident that wasn’t your employee’s fault, you are able to provide valuable evidence to insurance companies,” explained Phil Jones, head of business development at Cobra Electronics.
“The heightened stress and emotion that immediately follows a road traffic accident can mean recollections of the incident are hazy and unreliable; a dash cam will record and replay the facts so the truth can be determined. This can also be useful for preventing dishonest claims from being made against your drivers.”
Dash cams can also be set up in parked vehicles, to help find the perpetrator is a car is stolen or damaged.