4 Actionable Tips to Reduce Fleet Spend (That Have Nothing to do with Fees)

4 Actionable Tips to Reduce Fleet Spend (That Have Nothing to do with Fees)

The first thing you may look at while reducing fleet spend is probably the unnecessary items you pay for on a monthly or daily basis. From that subscription service you never use, or the excess you spend on fast food, it’s a good idea to look inward to knock out little expenses in order to build a larger foundation of savings.

In terms of your fleet, you’ll need to do the same in order to hit your goals and demonstrate your ability to find cost-effective, efficient solutions. However helpful that data is - it’s another thing to begin to make sense of it all.

Creating constructive change within your fleet company will not come from lowering simple, flat-rate fees the company sets in place when managing your fleet. It’ll stem from long-term, actionable deductions that after reading our tips, you’ll see how it may be costing you thousands.

Learn more about 4 changes you can start working on today to reduce overall fleet spend.

Work with the Right Vendors

If you’re in the selection process of what vendors to take your fleet vehicles to and need to be conscious of spend, work with your fleet management company. Their network of vendors likely have a process set in place for fleet maintenance. Working with the in-network experts that have pre-existing relationships allow for you to save big on time and money.

Shopping around to compare rates that will work for your fleet specifically can take months. Do you need a mixture of vendors that will take care of your company cars, small trucks, and vans? The search process can become cumbersome - and you don’t want to work with a vendor that can’t promise you what you’ll end up needing. It’s a savvy decision to work with vendors that offer competitive rates in a convenient location for you.

John Wuich, vice president of strategic consulting services at Donlen, said that in general, fleets that work with in-network vendors may save around 10-12% on their maintenance.

Working with a fleet management system gives you access to vendors that are in close proximity to you. It allows for you to save time, money, and hassle - and gives you the confidence you need in getting your fleet vehicles in and out quickly.

Take Preventative Maintenance Seriously

If your fleet vehicles tend to skip over maintenance repair schedules, it can end up being a costly expenditure for you. Prepping is key, here. You’ll want to keep an organized schedule of where, when, and how your vehicles are going to meet maintenance requirements. Skipping over repair schedules because your truck’s brake pads are slightly worn, but still usable, could mean trouble in the long run. Do you know the right time to repair the vehicle?

In order to avoid the worst repairs, stay on time with checkups and repair schedules. Did you know that the costliest category of fleet maintenance spend comes from replacing worn, unsafe tires? Don’t let your drivers get into an accident due to unusable tires - it may break out into larger issues that will affect the whole vehicle. Checking that your fleet’s tires are properly inflated and rotated allow for your vehicles to continue getting good mileage per gallon. If accidents were to happen, you’d be paying much more than a tire replacement fee.

“You want to put your money into scheduled maintenance rather than unscheduled – just like in health, if you don’t keep up, you’ll have unplanned medical expenses which are costly and result in more downtime,” Wuich said.

Treat your fleet maintenance schedules like a doctor’s checkup - they’re there in the case they find something detrimental that could cause larger issues down the road. Adhering to preventive maintenance may be all the change you need when it comes to managing fleet spend. Additionally, taking your vehicle maintenance seriously (especially tire maintenance) will allow for your vehicles to do their job… so you can do yours.

You Could Look into Your Crystal Ball - or You Could Trust the Data

We’re not really into fantasy when it comes to your investments. Instead, we focus on getting you serious statistical insight when it comes to your driver behaviors.

We talked about taking preventive maintenance seriously, but how do you do that with data? With Donlen’s eCoupon, you have the immediate insight you never deemed feasible on all of your vehicles. Predictive models give your fleet insight on mileage, and what items are nearing maintenance. Donlen's eCoupon intuitive software allows you to see just when you’ll actually need to take your trucks in for a tire change, or when your company fleet vehicles are due for oil. With proper utilization, the tool has saved major fleets more than 7% in expenses.

eCoupon can even direct drivers to the appropriate place to carry out said repairs. It takes all of the guesswork out of preventing risk.

Don’t let another accident happen without predicting it first. Would you be surprised to know that with proper driver behavior data, you can individually determine where the risk lies in your fleet? That way, you’re able to have a conversation early and determine how best to manage the safety of your drivers. Are you weaving in all of the data to determine driver risk scores? 

According to Eli Rossiter, director of telematics and safety products, proactively reducing accident reduction starts with smart data collection.

“Instead of assumptions about the data and what might cause accidents, we let Telematics and the Risk Center do the work. We’ve scored almost 100,000 drivers and are constantly analyzing what causes risk and accidents,” Rossiter said.

Taking preventative measures when it comes to fleet savings and safety is only half of the equation. If you’re not lasered in on your fleet’s data, you’re not preparing for potential future risk. “Scoring” your drivers based on measurable information lets you stop accidents from blowing your fleet budget out of proportion. It also ensures your drivers get home safely.

Stay on Alert with Fuel Fraud Detection

It’s all of our worst nightmares: a stolen fuel card or fraudulent activity reported within your fleet. Oftentimes, if you see unfamiliar charges on a fuel card, it’s coming from a spouse, a relative, or a friend of the fuel card owner. We want to warn you that this is still a serious offense, and it can add up if you’re not tracking your fleet’s spend when it comes to fuel. After all, your driver's parents' cars are not a part of your fleet budget.

Fuel programs allow for you to see, track, and manage how your fleet drivers use their fuel card. Set practical limits and restrict the card from being used by relatives, spouses, or friends of your fleet drivers. Having a defined fuel policy with practical limits communicates best practices on how to use the fleet card. Overuse of fleet cards can turn out to be a drastic fleet spend, and we’re sure you’d like to avoid that. Stay vigilant in checking your company's unfamiliar charges or trends when it comes to fleet cards, as it can add up.

Lowering your fleet management spend starts early, and with the right insight. Don’t get caught with an expensive, unsafe lineup of fleet vehicles. Maintain your budget from the start and look out for your future self - and fleet.

With lack of preparation comes the opportunity for failure and unexpected costs when compared to fleet management fees. Don’t fall behind on your never-ending fleet to-do list – have an expert take care of it for you.

Contact the experts at Donlen today to learn more about how our strategy behind fleet management saves managers thousands yearly.