If your business requires employees to be on the go throughout the day, you may be one of the many organizations that relies on fleet vehicles as part of daily operations. Whether you purchase or lease these vehicles, it’s important to set up the right policies to protect your business against liability, as well as ensure the long life of each vehicle. Here are a few guidelines to help you get started in setting up and managing a vehicle fleet for your service-based business.
When an employee accepts keys to a company-owned car, that employee is taking on a responsibility. In exchange for the keys, workers should be asked to sign a document stating they’ve read the company terms regarding fleet vehicles and agree to follow them. This includes stipulating that the car, truck, van, or SUV should only be driven for work purposes. These policies will also address your right to remain informed of any traffic violations and take action accordingly.
Have Adequate Insurance
As the employer, you claim a certain amount of liability for anything that happens in a vehicle you own. For that reason, you should purchase and maintain commercial auto insurance for every car in your fleet. That policy should complement any policy your employees hold. Depending on local laws, your drivers may be required to hold a commercial driver’s license, especially if they will be regularly crossing state lines on company business. Research the laws and make sure you have not only the insurance in place to cover any accident but the proper type of driver’s license for each employee who will be operating company vehicles.
Automate Fleet Management
You can make your job easier by using the latest technology to track your vehicles, especially if you’re dealing with a situation where multiple employees are handing each vehicle on a regular basis. Today’s tools will allow you to check vehicles in and out, monitor where they are and what speed they’re going at any given time, and keep track of maintenance schedules. The more oversight you can have, the more efficient your business will be in serving your own customers.
Use Spending Controls
In addition to the cost of purchasing and maintaining vehicles, your business will also need to pay for gas on each of the vehicles you maintain. Many businesses have found that fuel cards are a great way to keep everything in one place. Instead of waiting for employees to turn in receipts so you can reimburse them, workers are equipped with a card that they can use at designated gas stations throughout your service area. Search for a card that makes it easy for you to track purchases, price per gallon, and the location of the station to avoid spending extra time balancing your books.
Maintain Vehicles Regularly
It can be easy to put vehicle maintenance off, but doing so creates bigger problems, including your employees potentially being stranded on the side of the road. By setting up a maintenance schedule and strictly following it, you can avoid serious problems. Note the maintenance recommendations for every vehicle, including oil changes, timing belt replacement, tire rotations, and hose and valve replacement and set up a schedule to match manufacturer recommendations. Fleet vehicles often travel more miles than personal vehicles, so you’ll need to pay close attention to miles instead of vehicle age when it comes to your maintenance schedule.
If your business uses company vehicles to perform daily duties, it’s important to have policies in place to protect you. By hiring reliable workers and ensuring they understand your policies before handing over the vehicle, you can protect your business moving forward.