In business, time is money. The more vehicles you have out of action, the more money your business is losing by the hour. Running a commercial fleet of vehicles requires a continuous program of maintenance and checks if you want each vehicle to remain in optimum condition. This will help to ensure your drivers and other road users stay safe and your clients are not impacted by costly breakdowns or accidents. Additionally, it’ll sure that you will keep your trucking authority as an owner-operator.
Fleet management is a fine art, so here are some tips from the professionals to help you keep your fleet of vehicles on the road 24/7.
Invest in the Right Vehicles
Consider exactly what type of work your commercial vehicles will be doing and invest in a workhorse that can do the job without incurring too much stress. If you are new to the industry, look at the types of vehicles your competitors use or take advice from vehicle manufacturers. Check safety records, reliability stats, and see which vehicles are available at your price point.
Invest in a Maintenance Program
A maintenance schedule is critical if you want your vehicles to stay on the road 24/7. Well-maintained vehicles are less likely to succumb to mechanical breakdown, as impending issues will have been spotted and dealt with long before they cause a problem.
Brakes should be checked and fluids replaced at key mileage points. Other components will last longer, but regular vehicle checks should be carried out daily, weekly, and monthly. You can buy automotive maintenance products from reputable suppliers such as PEAK Commercial.
Schedule maintenance to fit around your business, not the other way around. Sometimes, it will be inconvenient to pull a truck off the road for a service, but allowing an essential service to lapse could cost you dearly. Instead of missing the service or upsetting a client, schedule the service out of hours.
Keep accurate records of all vehicle maintenance, so you don’t overlook a scheduled check or forget to have a vehicle’s brakes serviced at the appropriate time. Maintaining records is also important from a health and safety perspective. If there is an accident, accurate records will show that you carried out essential vehicle maintenance when it was due.
Use a Reliable Service Network
Downtime will hurt your margins, so use a reliable service network that prioritizes your fleet and can fit you in when necessary. Alternatively, take care of servicing and maintenance on-site, but make sure you invest in the right equipment and personnel. Cutting corners is a recipe for disaster.
Provide Driver Training
Drivers need effective training before they are allowed out on the road in your vehicles. Educate your drivers about road safety, calculating payloads, and compliance. Provide technology such as GPS tracking, dash-cameras, and satellite navigation systems to help them drive safely. Encourage them to look after their vehicle, which includes keeping it clean and tidy and parking it safely when not in use.
The cost to the business of downtime is horrific, so look after your fleet, stay on top of maintenance, and educate your drivers.