Procuring new fleet vehicles usually takes up the largest part of a business budget - so fleet owners must choose the right vehicles.
Identifying the best vehicles for your business presents one of the biggest challenges for fleet managers, especially those with less experience. Besides keeping employees happy at work, there are several other vital factors that you’ll need to consider. Ideally, preserving capital and providing more for less is the ultimate goal of a business.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Vehicles for Your Fleet
Making the best procurement decision is every fleet manager’s conundrum. Here we look at the top considerations when choosing the right fleet vehicles.
#1. Use and Operation
Whether you’ll be leasing, financing, or buying your fleet vehicles, ensure that they are the right vehicles for the purpose intended. Choosing based on the manufacturer or brand limits the choice for many buyers. Instead, focus on the capabilities and performance of the vehicle to match your unique fleet needs.
To determine suitability, look at the following attributes:
- Size of a vehicle and its carrying capacity - Determine what products of equipment, or even the number of people a vehicle fleet needs to carry. If you need specialized carrying abilities such as refrigeration or the ability to haul oversize or extremely heavy materials, be sure to take this into account as well.
- Roads and terrains - Consider the roads and the most common routes that a vehicle will use. Determine beforehand if the vehicle will be used for lengthy highway commutes, off-road jobs, or urban stop-start patterns. Ruggedness or fuel consumption could be significant factors. For example, you may need to consider a robust truck that does not consume too much fuel on long road trips. If your operation does not require big vehicles, consider downsizing to reduce vehicle weight and directly impact fuel savings.
#2. Need for Additional Features
Some degree of flexibility does not hurt. Most fleet managers often consider providing some additional features to boost employee satisfaction.
Obtain expert first-hand advice from professionals who operate fleet vehicles and get their honest feedback about fleet vehicle varieties. Take time to learn the upsides and downsides of acquiring specific brands and weigh your options.
Whereas employee satisfaction goes hand in hand with responsibility and respect towards the vehicle, employers or managers must also demand these necessary extras to be aligned with the company’s operational objectives.
Consider buying fleet vehicles that are right for the job and for the drivers too. The vehicle selection process should include the driver’s input if you want your company’s ultimate best vehicles. It is only logical that drivers will take good care of vehicles they enjoy driving and neglect or abuse vehicles they dislike.
One of the top priorities should be safety. Ensure that each vehicle’s specifications align with both your company’s policy and the driver’s expectations and comfort on the road.
Drivers spend long hours on the road, sometimes on rough terrains. You must consider their physical wellbeing while driving the vehicle. A manufacturer should be ready to provide a demo of all vehicle functions, showing its suitability to drivers. If any of your drivers require special considerations, factor those in too.
#4. Fleet Size
Once you have all the vehicle specifications figured out and factored in your drivers’ safety and comfort, your fleet size and projected growth are the next important consideration. Examine the possibilities of your fleet scaling with the future of your company.
Determine if you have plans to grow as a company or consider making further vehicle acquisitions in the future. If you plan to add more field operators, or you will be shipping more merchandise, the need for purchasing or leasing more vehicles is inevitable. Planning for your organization’s fleet growth should be strategic and go hand in hand with your overall business growth goals.
On the same company growth spectrum, consider if there are plans to expand and possibly relocate to new geographical areas. Is the cargo type you haul changing? Relocating to new areas could mean increasing or decreasing mileage for your vehicles. Different cargo types may also play an integral role when choosing the best vehicle for your fleet.
The cost of the vehicle fleet should not be the most critical factor when buying or leasing new vehicles, but it has to be considered just the same. When a truck’s cost is considered first, you’re likely to make the mistake of considering short-term benefits and overlooking long-term expenses.
Factoring in important aspects like vehicle use, specifications needed, future business projections, and driver safety and comfort can lead to significant savings on fuel and maintenance.
#6. Maintenance and Upkeep
Some vehicle makes and models demand more in terms of maintenance practices. Even with established preventative maintenance programs within company setups, it’s important to consider the reasonable demands of different vehicles. This can lead to huge savings and lower the total cost of ownership.
Routine service requirements, parts, and cost of labor can add up to ludicrous amounts. Ensure that you check all the warranty details, most importantly, where the cost of projected repairs is supposed to be offset by the manufacturer or dealer.
The list of factors to consider when choosing the best fleet vehicle is unique to each business and its specific needs. The process must take into consideration the fleet’s operations to make the most appropriate selection. Fleet managers must find real value in the type of vehicle chosen throughout its service life.
Third-party tools such as fleet management software can be invaluable for fleet managers to understand all fleet-related data and determine the best vehicles for different business needs. Developers such as Azuga have an in-depth knowledge of varying fleet requirements, and they make tools suitable for contemporary fleet management. Install the best fleet tracking system for your fleet in all your vehicles to receive real-time information on vehicle functionalities. Such data helps you determine the behaviors of different vehicles, including fuel consumption and maintenance demands.