Ten Top Tips: How to make your fleet budget go further

With petrol prices going through the roof, we asked Alphabet CEO Richard Schooling for his tips on keeping your company cars running smoothly...

by MT Staff
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Petrol prices may be about to hit the stratosphere, but a recent survey by fleet management firm Alphabet found that for 60% of organisations understanding and controlling fleet costs was a key priority. So MT asked its CEO, Richard Schooling, for his top tips on keeping your fleet running like a well-oiled machine .

1. Spruce up your strategy
Combing through the company car budget for cost savings won't do much good if your underlying fleet strategy is out of date. Call in expert analysts if you need to – having that outside view might help you work out exactly where you need to make changes.

2. Fine-tune funding
Banking sector turmoil and tax changes since 2008 have changed the fleet finance playing field. If you’re looking for cash, review your arrangements with a specialist fleet finance firm. It’ll save money.

3. Check your choice list
What you offer drivers has a big impact on running costs. A choice list based on the cost of the car over the course of its lifetime (rather than just per-mile running costs) will delivers better cars, lower costs, lower emissions and smaller fuel and tax bills for drivers. Everyone’s a winner.

4. Master mileage
Log all journeys on a central system (or use third party Mileage Capture) to plan travel productively. Also, try to deter drivers from over claiming on expenses.

5. Fight fuel costs
Fuel’s the second-highest fleet cost after depreciation. Consider switching to fuel cards. They give more information and control over fuel purchases and drivers aren't liable for tax, as long as they pay for private fuel. Speaking of which, high tax on free fuel benefit makes it a losing proposition in many cases. Consider withdrawing it.

6. Put a dent in repair bills
Accidents cost much more than just the price of repairs. Time off work, rental charges, injury claims and uninsured losses may add thousands to each incident. Look into specialist accident management. It’s been shown to cut off road time by 60%, third party costs by 40% and workshop bills by 30%.

7. Tap into skills and scale
As new technologies increase complexity of running a fleet, it might be worth outsourcing your fleet management. Our research reckons there will be a tenfold increase in outsourcing over the next few years as fleets tap into suppliers’ specialist skills and economies of scale.

8. Prevention is better than cure
Good drivers mean smaller bills for repairs, fuel and wear and tear. Managing road risks through driver assessments, licence checks and targeted training saves money as well as lives.

9. Clean up 'grey' fleet
Financially, it's OK for people to make occasional business trips in their own cars. But for those who need a car as part of their role, it's a false economy. Review the costs and risks of ‘grey fleet’ compared with company, pool or hire cars.

10. Stay one step ahead
As the fleet marketplace evolves ever more rapidly, innovative companies are forging ahead with exciting new approaches to business mobility and cost savings. Don’t be left behind, maintain an open dialogue with one of the leaders and stay ahead of the rest in the quest for fleet productivity.

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