In the Time of Pandemic and Online Shopping, Should You Invest in a Fleet?

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The coronavirus pandemic has affected tons of businesses in the US, including small enterprises. If you own one of these small, local businesses, you’re probably looking for ways to bounce back. One way to do it is to embrace product delivery or contactless in-home services. But how can you do it if you don’t have a fleet of cars? Sure, you can hire or book delivery services through apps. But what about sending your team to do in-home services? And isn’t it more profitable if you keep the delivery service in-house?

Having a fleet of cars can make your products or services more convenient for clients. But before you apply for car loans for several vehicles, here are some things you have to know about managing a fleet.

You need to keep the vehicles in pristine condition.

Not-so-well-maintained cars lag and come with a poor fuel economy. Imagine letting your staff drive these vehicles every day—you’d probably spend more on gas than what you earn through deliveries. So, before you get a fleet of cars, remember that you have to keep them in good condition. You have to include routine services and repair costs into the total cost of ownership and your business’ cash flow.

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You have to pay attention to the total cost of ownership.

The idea of keeping delivery services in-house is a bold move, especially in the era of online shopping. But you have to make sure that investing in a fleet makes good sense for your business. You don’t want to throw money down the drain at a time of recession, after all. So, know the total cost of fleet ownership.

To calculate it, consider possible fuel consumption, maintenance costs, insurance premiums, and taxes. Keeping track of these numbers is a great way to compare brands and models while you’re at the stage of purchasing or replacing vehicles. Doing so can also help you regularly improve your driver practices.

You need to establish guidelines for safe and economical driving.

Car accidents could cause thousands of dollars in repairs, bringing your small business to a halt. Of course, these could also put your drivers and other motorists’ lives at risk. So when you’re managing a fleet, you must establish guidelines that help the drivers keep their workdays safe and economical. The document should outline auto-servicing instructions, guidelines for good driving behavior, and procedures and communication channels for accident reporting. Enforce this document with a compliance system, and road accidents, driver injuries, and downtime are far more likely to occur.

You should consider automating fleet management processes.

With today’s technology, you can automate some fleet management processes. These include data collection, driver scheduling, and optimal route selection. Taking this move doesn’t only help reduce employee costs, but human errors that can lead to crippling expenses are also cut to the minimum.

As you go over these factors, you will determine whether having a fleet is good for your business. There’s a current demand for product delivery and in-home services. But of course, you should always weigh whether a fleet investment makes sense—see if the profit can outweigh the total cost of ownership.

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