Adding a fleet to your business is a big investment that comes with incredible rewards.
Not only can you get a huge ROI when you add on your own delivery drivers and taxi services, but you can also help set your brand apart from the competition more easily. Companies that run their own fleets get a reputation all their own and it creates more continuity than contracting out those services.
Additionally, it means you can create your own policies and procedures to ensure everyone does things with the same level of excellence. But, when it comes to operating a fleet, you’ll need to know some critical details to get started. Here are some of the most important facts that you didn’t know about operating your own fleet.
Your Drivers Need Customer Service Training
While of course, your drivers need to be good at driving, part of their job will be interacting with people. Whether it’s on a delivery route or as a private driver, every interaction is an opportunity to provide excellent customer service. As a business owner, your responsibility is to ensure that each of these fleet drivers can offer the same level of professionalism, courtesy, and kindness to your customers and constituents.
Customer service training should offer the best ways to diffuse angry customers, what your minimum expectations are of them, and give them as much autonomy as possible. The right amount of autonomy helps to ensure they can meet customer needs without constant managerial approval. Companies like Nordstrom have created a great brand simply because they give their staff the ability to say yes to almost any legal and reasonable customer request. Because they don’t need to wait on managers, each customer always has a great experience even when there is an issue that needs to be corrected.
The Gas Comes Out of Your Budget, Not the Drivers’
While fuel costs constantly fluctuate, one thing remains the same. You need to budget for the cost of gas and make sure that your pricing model leaves enough flexibility for when these prices go up. Don’t expect your drivers to foot the bill for gas for your business. One easy way to manage this is to use discount gas cards. This ensures that each driver can get gas when they need it, but that they won’t be able to buy any extras with the card. Discount fuel cards are the perfect solution for ever-increasing gas prices. Additionally, it helps you to see the real cost of fuel to determine if you need to make adjustments to ensure you’re making enough money off of each trip.
You Need to Schedule Regular Car Maintenance
Don’t forget car maintenance. Each car will need to have regular checks, oil changes, and more. Make sure you leave enough in the budget to account for these added costs. Car maintenance can prevent major issues down the road. It’s best to create a maintenance calendar and do some basic checks on each vehicle more regularly. While keeping your car out of commission for a day means lost money, it’s also better than being out of commission for weeks while you wait for something like an engine rebuild because you didn’t do regular checks, oil changes, and more.
It’s best to create a process for drivers in the event they have a roadside emergency. You’ll want to ensure they have proper safety gear and tools if needed. Additionally, having roadside assistance coverage for each driver and vehicle can help them get out of sticky situations more quickly.
You Can Finance Your Fleet
One of the best ways to manage the upfront costs of running a fleet for your business is to investigate business financing options for your cars, trucks, and vans. It’s not necessary to fork out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some business loans will let you purchase business vehicles that you can then use each month and pay back as you go. This can allow you to scale the size of your fleet up much more quickly as you gain new customers, and your business grows. You’ll want to ensure your business has enough cash flow and resources to pay back these loans.