Creating and maintaining a profitable fleet service is no small feat, and there are plenty of responsibilities to keep you busy. One such responsibility: vehicle selection and allocation. Procuring the right vehicles for your fleet service is priority number one for growing your business, but it’s an expensive and sometimes complex task. In order to make the most of your investment, keep these vehicle selection tips in mind:
1. What is the intended use and operation of your fleet vehicle?
Whether you’re leasing a vehicle or buying it outright, you’ll need to consider its intended use before putting any money down. How will it be used on a day-to-day basis? As you assess different vehicles, ask yourself the following:
- How many passengers does the vehicle need to carry? Size matters; if you’re transporting people on a daily basis you’ll need space, but if you have a single driver occupying the vehicle, cabin size is less important.
- What kind of cargo do you need to haul? Consider how much your fleet vehicles will be used to transport goods, and make sure the vehicles you consider have the capacity for your cargo size.
- Does your fleet vehicle require additional features or upgrades to complement its intended use? If you need to add GPS tracking systems to better track your team, car entertainment systems to entertain clients or an enhanced alarm system to safeguard company merchandise, keep those considerations in mind as you shop.
2. Are your current vehicles holding you back?
If you already have fleet vehicles, consider the performance issues that are holding you back. For example, if your fleet trucks aren’t fuel-efficient, it may be time to upgrade. Look at the wear and tear on your current vehicles, and look for replacements that are strong in those areas.
3. Consider the Needs of Your Drivers
Consider your team, and put their needs first. Drivers should have at least a bit of input in the types of vehicles they’re driving. Research has proven that drivers who dislike their vehicles may neglect or abuse it in order to get a replacement vehicle sooner. Top priority: safety. Ensure the vehicles you’re considering offer up-to-date automation features. These safety specifications must match up with your business safety policy. If your drivers will be spending extended periods of time in their vehicles, make sure you keep comfort in mind during your selection process. Ultimately, it’s important to give your drivers a bit of agency; ask your current team what they’d like in a fleet vehicle, and try to accommodate that (within reason).
4. Consider Any Operational Requirements
You must purchase fleet vehicles that are suited to your daily business processes. How far will the vehicle be driven on a daily basis? Will it be driven on city streets, on highways, or across difficult terrain? Can you get more value out of new cars or used cars? If your team must regularly drive fleet vehicles off of paved roads, you may need to consider particular operating specifications. You should also consider the distance. If your team is driving in the city, a hybrid vehicle could provide effective mileage; if they’re driving state to state, a hybrid vehicle might not be a suitable option.
5. Think Long-Term
Once you’ve selected the individual vehicle, you must consider your plans for overall fleet size. Do you plan on growing your fleet in the coming years? Are you planning to scale up soon with more merchandise? Maybe you have plans to add more salesmen to your roster. Whatever the case, planning for organization growth requires you to consider your vehicle needs in the long term. If you plan on growing in the near future, you may need to consider acquiring multiple vehicles at once.
6. Take a test drive
This should go without saying, but never purchase a fleet vehicle without taking it on a thorough test drive. If possible, have your drivers accompany you during your vehicle shopping. Put them behind the wheel to get real feedback about the car’s specs and performance from the people that will actually be driving them.
As you begin your fleet shopping adventure, keep the above tips in mind. With the right strategies under your belt, you can make a wise investment that leads to profits for your company in the long run.