HVAC fleets are relied upon to provide heating, cooling, and ventilation services within a moment’s notice. A successful HVAC management software, and proper protocols ensure that your clients are served on time, cut unnecessary costs, and limit vehicle downtime. No matter the season, neighborhoods are dependent on HVAC professionals to solve their problems quickly. If you’re still relying on whiteboards or paper processes for scheduling fleet operations, you’ll find it quite difficult to stay on top of jobs and routine maintenance. Having an HVAC business management, and software is the best solution to optimize routes, track assets, and communicate with your fleet teams. You can also receive comprehensive data on vehicle health, technician productivity, and the total cost of a fleet or truck.
Tips for Successful HVAC Fleet Management
1. Utilize an Inspection App
HVAC technicians are often on the go hopping from one place to another. Monitoring asset health can take a back seat because of their busy schedules. Paper-inspection forms are simply tedious, and drivers usually don’t like to do them. During busier months, drivers will even take their vehicle home, causing a delay in on-time submissions. With a quick and easy vehicle inspection app, you can conduct inspections with just a few taps on your mobile device. With these apps, technicians can take pictures and add comments to add clarity to their reporting. In the future, fleet managers, and other drivers using that vehicle will see the previous inspection history. These finished vehicle inspections are uploaded into an HVAC management software, where fleet managers will be notified with any issues, and create maintenance work orders when necessary.
2. Sync maintenance schedules
With busy schedules, it isn’t easy to find time for vehicle maintenance. As the busy season such as winter or summer rolls around, routine maintenance may fall. It’s best to automate the scheduling with an organized fleet maintenance process. You must automate service reminders, track work orders, and leverage data from other areas to streamline the HVAC management process. With a proper HVAC fleet management tool, you can decrease vehicle downtime and expensive repairs by viewing, planning, and managing vehicle maintenance.
3. Properly set-up your HVAC service van
It’s essential to properly set up your vehicle to increase productivity, keep your driver’s safety, and protect your inventory. Here are a few ideas when setting up your van.
- Storage racks: Select shelving racks designed for service vans and base them off the number of tanks your delivery routes typically require. If you constantly have empty racks, you aren’t utilizing the vehicle space to it’s fullest. Remove those empty racks, and use the space for something else.
- Storage for small items: When organizing anything, it’s best to keep all the small tools and parts in one designated area. Use a secure and enclosed drawer for these small items.
- Interior workspace: Technicians need a space for fabrication and light machining. Even if it rains, your technician can use their van as a working space.
- Top-notch security: Don’t fall prey to theft. Ensure you have locks for thermostats, and other expensive equipment. Add deadbolts with a key-fob access to your shelving.
4. Track fleet data with one platform
Some HVAC fleets operate by using different forms of technology together. For example, they may have one tool for tracking assets and another for vehicle maintenance. For effective HVAC management, it’s best to integrate all fleet data into one single operating system. This gives fleet managers a comprehensive view of your current fleet efficiency. HVAC fleets typically utilize a telematics system to track technicians while they’re on the road, and monitor their productivity. By pairing your telematics with fleet management software, you can optimize productivity by adjusting to workflow, decrease travel time, and take on more jobs. Uploading your telematics data into your fleet management software allows the system to pull up odometer readings, which trigger preventative maintenance reminders. Also, it will alert you and send warnings with diagnostic trouble code alerts.
5. Leverage Fuel Cards
HVAC fleet managers should opt to get an entire fleet bundle to combine all the necessary features into one software. For instance, you can use fuel cards with your fleet software to analyze fuel spend by certain metrics like location, vehicle, vehicle type, and time frame. Fuel is usually the largest recurring expense for HVAC fleets. With fleet software, you can breakdown important aspects related to your fuel such as fuel economy, consumption trends, vendor locations, cost-per-mile, fuel grade, and number of units. Having a way to track the fuel costs using fuel cards, and analyzing software gives you the ability to reduce fuel expenses, and improve your bottom line.
6. Calculate fleet expenses and ROI
Obtaining fleet vehicles, and maintaining them isn’t cheap. Whether you’re a locally-run operation or large HVAC business, you need to control your spending to maximize your profits strategically. An HVAC management software provides access to detailed expense reports for your fleet. You’ll be able to view categories like repair expenses, maintenance visits, and fuel spend. Fleet managers can better allocate their budget and forecast potential ROI. An essential number to know is your true total cost of ownership. TCO is the purchase price of an asset combined with the recurring costs of operation. The lower the true cost of ownership, the better the value it has in the long run.
7. Build an HVAC Maintenance Checklist
You must perform a systemized maintenance checklist to examine your fleet’s needs. It is easy to build an HVAC vehicle maintenance checklist when you read your vehicle’s manuals to understand their specific requirements. Each vehicle is unique, but most have similar requirements on every maintenance checklist. A few of the items you need to consider are body check, mirror check, doors, and windows, oil change, brakes, and rotors, suspension, and others. Ideally, have a daily fleet vehicle maintenance checklist for drivers. A more in-depth checklist can be made for your in-house service department to check quarterly. These measures are vital to preventing potential risks with your fleet vehicles, and thus drastically cutting repair expenses.
A strong vehicle, proper maintenance, and safety protocols, and a comprehensive fleet management software is the secret to a successful HVAC fleet that rakes in profit month over month. Reducing costs is one of the most overlooked components when analyzing financial data. Lowering your fuel costs, repair, vehicle set-up, and repair can turn a company from breakeven to extremely profitable. Incorporate these tips and strategies into your fleet operation, and you’ll run a successful HVAC fleet. Check out Azuga for more information on HVAC fleet management.