How To Start a Vehicle Tracking and Fleet Management Business

A Vehicle tracking system is the main feature of any fleet management business.  An efficient tracking system helps to reduce operational and maintenance costs. Real time vehicle tracking results in better time management and superior customer service.

All fleet management requires a GPS tracking system for their vehicles to run their business efficiently and profitably.  Hence starting a vehicle tracking business is a lucrative option.

Read Also: What is fleet management – All you need to know

Like in any business, there are various factors to be considered and steps to be taken if success is to be achieved. It is imperative to focus on key objectives.

1. Customer Segment

As there are different kinds of fleets and vehicle tracking systems, it would be advisable to first identify the potential customers for whom the service would be provided.

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Every fleet operator would require a system. But it would be ideal to concentrate on a single segment rather than providing all sorts of services for all. This will enable one to focus on any one single customer segment and develop a system required for them.

A study of the competitors in the market, the product, their market segment size, sales efficiency and pricing would help in establishing a niche market for your product. This study will help in offering features not catered by them.

Knowing what you are going to sell and to whom makes it easier, the identification of a specific market will increase the efficiency and the business will prove successful in the long run. A successful business can be easily branched out anytime in the future.

2. Identify The Product

The core functions of the business and the customer’s expectations are to be studied.  The right vehicle tracking system, appropriate to meet the needs of the target customer, has to be developed.

The tracking company has to choose the best technology as this choice reflects directly on customer satisfaction.  Developing a new technology will be time-consuming. In new business, it is always better to outsource the services. This will be easy to implement and cost-effective.

The vehicle tracking business has to provide a focused and attractive offer to the fleet operator. An ideal offer would be a detailed, unambiguous plan stating whether the company will install the tracking units, do the GPS monitoring and manage the fleet. The charges and subsequent payments have to be listed clearly.

A fleet management business requires special features that improve its operations and reduces costs. The vehicle tracking system has to concentrate on the factors of real-time tracking of vehicles, optimization of routes and allocation of resources.

Automated notification of tasks, proof of delivery, rating and feedback are features that reduce customer complaints and increase customer satisfaction.

3. Software Selection

The tracking device will have a software and hardware component.  Even if the company manages the tracking of the fleet, the customer would also want to view the movement and location of his fleet. He would also require details on a real-time basis.

The software developed should meet the requirements of the tracking business and the fleet operator. The software’s design must be simple to use. They should have urgent tech support 24/7 and internationally.

At the start, it is recommended that the business partner with an experienced software provider. The business can be started without a big investment. The software can be upgraded when the business takes off.

The monthly software solutions are ideal for companies with a limited budget. A monthly fee is paid depending on your tracking requirement. This way expenses can be planned more accurately. 

They will install and run the GPS tracking system. They will add the business logo, domain and address. You have access to free software updates and tech support.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

The unlimited lifetime software can be purchased from the providers at a one-time amount for the license. This is ideal for businesses that want to save money in the long term. Budget planning is made easier. They install and set up the system providing tech support.

4. Hardware Selection

There are many hardware providers. The factors to be taken into account while purchasing hardware are price, quality and functionality.

Price is normally dependent on the quality of the device. Price is also dependent on the quality of material used in the manufacture of the device. The place of manufacture also is of concern.

Hardware selection is based on the functions required by the customer. Simple functions like tracking personal cars may require simple trackers. But if additional features like fuel sensors, temperature sensors, fuel flow meters, etc are required then more sophisticated GPS tracker systems will be required.

Hardware of superior quality and make will be of greater accuracy and will require less maintenance. 

5. Setting up Business

Setting up the business entails obtaining the required business license from the authorities concerned. All legal formalities are to be completed. This can be done through licensed lawyers.

In today’s scenario, the business must have a professional website. Creating a website will be time-consuming and expensive. Out-sourcing to professional website building services will be affordable and faster. The website can be customized with social media and E-commerce integration.

Advertising is essential for establishing a new business.  Advertising in newspapers, magazines and on TV will be expensive compared to digital marketing platforms. 

Advertisements on different online channels have a better reach. Working out a combination of channels to advertise on to get maximum return on investment would be advisable.

6. Starting Operations

Once all the formalities have been done, the business has to concentrate on serving their customers. The business has to work towards establishing a reputation and increasing their clientele. It requires hard work to service the customers and to find new ones to make the business sustainable and profitable.

If you are new to the vehicle tracking business, it is suggested that you partner with an experienced business partner. This will help in learning the business – where to concentrate, what to avoid and how to generate profits in the short run.

An efficient vehicle tracking system will raise the fleet’s productivity and vehicle utilization. It helps to reduce the distance driven, fuel consumed, over-time and idle-time.

In addition to all this, the tracking system helps from getting lost, in accessing roadside assistance, in providing alternate routes in case of accidents or traffic blocks.

Read Also: How Does IoT Help In Fleet Management?

Vehicle tracking systems can be used for a fleet of any size or type. Driver habits can be monitored. Green house emissions and other environmental concerns can be kept under check.

Reporting and data analysis is made simple with fewer errors. Real-time notifications prompt immediate action saving time and money.

Trucking With Pets – All You Need To Know

There are no governmental regulations in trucking with pets as long as it does not hamper safe driving. But not all transport companies allow pets on board.

Once the driver finds an employer who has no objection to him trucking with a pet, he has to know the regulations and the details on pet care and comfort.

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A driver’s career may seem rewarding but nothing can compensate for the long hours on the road. The feeling of loneliness and the boredom that sets in on the usual commutes can be trying.

Read Also: 15 Tips to Prevent Drowsy Driving [This List Could Save Your Life]

Many of the drivers opt for the companionship of their pets on long drives. It keeps them focused and alert on the roads. Drivers who travel with pets are found to be happier and mentally fit.

Choice of a Pet

Dogs, cats and other domesticated pets can be a travelling companion. Trucking companies stipulate a weight limit of 25-30lbs. Most of the carriers require a pet deposit ranging from $200 to $600. This depends on the type, breed, size and weight of the animal. Exotic animals are more often not allowed.

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The deposit and other fees cover cleaning or repair of the truck due to damages, if any, caused by the pet.

A smaller dog with less fur would be ideal. Older and lazy dogs perfectly fit the bill as they are more manageable. The dogs have to sit for long hours within a confined space. Hence an over-active dog may not be an ideal companion.

Documentation

Drivers have to be responsible for the health of the pet and check whether they are comfortable. Periodic veterinary check-ups are a must.

The Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) or any appropriate health certificate for the states travelling through and rabies vaccination proofs have to be in order.

To prevent the spread of communicable diseases among animals, states require a CVI for animals being transported across state borders. The CVI states that the animal is healthy and not diseased. The CVI must be issued by the vet in the home state within 30 days before travel.

Pet Proof Arrangements

Barriers have to be created in the cabin where the driver does want the pet to access like the pedals. Leaving this area open would be distracting and prove dangerous.

 Food, medicine and garbage have to be stored out of reach of the pet, possibly in compartments. Care has to be taken to prevent pets from jumping out of open windows.

The pets have to be trained as to where they can move in the cabin. Pets travelling in the front seat have to be belted.

The pet’s safety and comfort has to be ensured while leaving them alone in the truck during winters and summers.

Plan Stops

Breaks have to be given to the pets for their toilet functions, exercise and play.  At each stop, the pets have to be taken for short walks allowing them to stretch their limbs and exercise. A few toys in the cabin will keep them occupied while on the road.

Read Also: Healthy Habits for Truck Drivers

Truck stops will generally allow pets on their property. They will have a grassy area where the pets can be walked. Highway rest stops are mostly pet friendly.

Pet Care

Food, water and health care are a priority in pet care. Drivers have to carry an ample supply of fresh food and water for pets. Fresh food will help avoid digestive disorders. The food and water supplies should be enough to last the whole trip including weather delays or breakdowns.

Trucking With a Pet

Pets have to be given plenty of water on these long rides. It is best to carry plenty of drinking water from the home town. Availability and quality of water vary from place to place. Contaminated water would be unsafe for pets.

A box or a pet crate with comfortable bedding will provide the pet with a warm and safe place. The box can be tethered to a suitable place in the cabin.

Drivers have to carry a harness or leash to keep the pet close to them when they leave the vehicle at stops. Restraint is required as a frequent traveler pet, familiar with the surroundings, might suddenly decide to run on its own. A collar with owner details is a must.

The driver should purchase a pet health insurance policy to cover any emergencies that may arise. Locating and listing pet care facilities and vet supplies centers along the route before the trip, would be ideal. Any supply required can be purchased on the go.

It is recommended that the driver carry a supply of basic preventive medication for minor disorders anticipated.

Mental stimulation will keep the pets healthy and physically fit. Handing out toys in rotation will keep the pet entertained while on the road. Chewable toys are mostly preferred by dogs. Scratch pads would be interesting to cats.

It would be advisable that the driver keeps an extra key with him when he leaves the pet inside the truck. This will come in handy when the pet tamper with the door lock buttons.

A supply of extra cleaning materials and air fresheners will come in handy. Cat litter has to be emptied as often possible. Scented plastic bags, scoops are a must when travelling with cats.

Driver Awareness

Whatever precautions taken and preparations made, the driver has to be prepared to face emergencies.  Unexpected expenses might crop up.

The pet might behave differently from normal due to the long hours spent in confined spaces. Drivers have to be perfectly sure of their pet’s ability to enjoy and take the long drive comfortably.

Effects of Trucking With a Pet

Drivers feel secure when travelling with a pet. Some animals pose a threat to intruders and some others alert the drivers to dangers.

Drivers travelling with pets contend that they are calm when in traffic delays and faced with obstructions on the road.

Read Also: 10 Common Truck Driver Health Issues and Solutions

The excessive sitting behind the wheels causes an increase in the blood pressure levels and cardiovascular disorders in drivers.  Drivers trucking with pets are normally found to have a healthy heart.

25 Tips to Reduce Fleet Fuel Cost

Any strategy to reduce the fuel costs of a fleet of buses/cars/ trucks is welcome. There are different methods used by managers of large fleets to control fuel costs of the vehicles.

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We have attempted to list down some of the most useful tips that you can keep in mind to reduce the fuel costs of large fleets. 

How to Cut Down on Fuel Spend

Many managers witnessed a large fall in fuel costs when drivers were trained appropriately and their mentalities changed over time. 

1: Improve Driver Behaviour

This, according to fleet managers, is the smartest thing to do. How the drivers are taught to act on the road impacts total fuel costs incurred by a company.

Read Also: 31 Ways to Reduce Fleet Maintenance Costs

This is of greater importance to those organizations that own large fleets of vehicles. 

Driving behaviour such as accelerating too fast, speeding the vehicle frequently, time spent on idling the engine, etc., can increase fuel costs. The best way to find out if your fleet drivers are doing all of these is to install telematics.

This provides the data. When data is available, regular training and relevant guidance are provided to the drivers. The drivers can be trained without the telematics data as well. 

It is a good idea to invest in driver safety training. This helps them to identify their driving weaknesses and help them get better in those areas. 

2: Use seasonal driving techniques

It will prove useful to employ seasonal driving techniques as the different times in the year demand: cold weather techniques during the fall and winter and warm weather techniques during spring and summer. 

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Cold weather driving techniques

  • Just warm up the vehicle by idling for about 30s and drive off gently. Engines warm up easily when the vehicle is being driven. Try to keep idling to a minimum just to warm up the vehicle.
  • Seat warmers and defrosters should be used only to a minimum to save fuel.
  • The vehicle’s oil should be suited to cold weather. 

Warm weather driving techniques

  • Keep the air conditioner use to a minimum.
  • Keep the windows of the vehicle open when driving. This keeps the insides cool and renders the vehicle more fuel-efficient. 
  • When driving on the highway at higher speeds keep the windows closed and switch on the air conditioner if necessary. 

3: Route planning helps

Planning better routes gets your drivers to go where they want quickly. They would spend less time driving and idling the vehicles and this means a sure saving of fuel. It is a good idea to plan vehicle routes by investing in GPS trackers and using relevant traffic apps that may be available.

4: Check the tires regularly

Tires have a huge impact on the consumption of fuel. When the summer approaches, ensure that you change the tires by removing the ones that plied during the winter. The extra grip that tires use in the winter means they are using up more gas. 

It is important to check the tire pressure from time to time. Tires that have less inflation than what is required makes the drivers accelerate more than necessary. This means the usage of more gas. Mileage is greatly reduced in such cases. 

5: Save money whenever possible

Fuel prices are always rising and we do not have a control on that. However, it is always possible to choose the right type of fuel for the vehicle. If you choose the lowest grade of the fuel for a specific vehicle every single time, then it means lower prices. It is also worthwhile to find gas suppliers that charge you the least.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

Quick Tips

6: Fleet managers should work out the possibility of keeping costs down by using smaller vehicles with higher mpg.

7: using vehicles with four-cylinder engines may help to reduce fuel costs.

8: Adding hybrid vehicles to urban fleets may help to cut down costs. 

9: Personal use charges can be increased to recoup fuel spends. 

10: It is also a good idea to eliminate personal use. This will surely result in a reduction of fuel spends. 

11: Monitoring unauthorized use of company vehicles when they are not plying for the company trips (such as when the driver is on a vacation) helps to cut on fuel expenses. 

12: Fleet vehicle drivers have to be trained to switch off the engine if the vehicle engine has to idle for more than 30 seconds. This takes up more gas than when starting the engine. 

13: When more than one driver takes the vehicle along the same route, it is vital to see that they take only one vehicle along that route. The others can be rerouted or assigned different jobs.

14: From time to time it is vital to remove all the low-mpg vehicles and optimize the fleet vehicle performance. This will keep the fuel spends at a low level. 

15: Vehicle assignments can be reworked so that they are closer to the repair network. This will cut down to and fro fuel consumption.

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16: Never overload fleet trucks to more than their capacity. 

17: Modifying the tire and track specifications can help to save on fleet fuel expenses.

18: Modifying the truck gears so that the engines run at less RPM for a given speed means that less fuel would be consumed. 

19: Wind drag can be reduced by making the vehicle as aerodynamic as possible. Keep the windows rolled up most of the times when on the highway. 

20: It is a good idea to remove all extraneous devices from the outside of the vehicles. This serves to reduce fuel consumption.

21: it is worthwhile to change the drivers’ habits. Some ways in which fleet managers can do this are as follows:

  • Send email newsletters to communicate suggestions
  • Sending out DVDs showing fuel economy tips to the drivers

Only constant reminders would help to change the drivers’ attitudes and habits.

22: Drivers should strive to be energy conscious and practice energy conservation habits regularly while driving. 

23: Drivers can use training modules, even online ones, to learn fuel conservation techniques for their vehicles. 

24: Remove all unnecessary items from the vehicles before a trip. 

25: It is always important that drivers adhere to the set speed limits. Driving the vehicle faster tends to use up much more gasoline leading to quicker gas depletion. 

Read Also: 8 Tips for Managing Fleet Vehicles

A few small actions can lead to mighty savings on fuel spends. This is especially true for a fleet of vehicles. 

Buying Fleet Vehicles – Everything You Need To Know

Groups of vehicles owned/leased by businesses, government agencies, or other organizations are referred to as fleet vehicles. Car rental companies, public utilities, taxicab companies, police departments, and public bus companies operate fleet vehicles.

Many businesses buy/lease fleet vehicles to deliver goods to customers or cater to the travel needs of sales representatives. Fleet vehicles are managed with the help of a fleet or transport manager through fleet management software.

Read Also: 8 Tips for Managing Fleet Vehicles

A fleet management system (FMS) is employed to connect the vehicles to a telematics system for efficient management.

Buying vs Leasing 

A variety of aspects should be taken into consideration to decide whether buying or leasing vehicles is more advantageous in your case.

Further, you find out whether you qualify for fleet leasing programs if you have a requirement for several cars/vans for salespeople or delivering products. It helps you to save a lot of money.

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It has become easier these days to lease a small fleet of minivans, pickups, or cars. If you buy/lease more than 10 vehicles, you qualify as a commercial fleet buyer and you will be provided with a fleet registration number through the dealer.

This makes you eligible for all fleet incentive programs announced by manufacturers and dealers. Some dealers might offer programs designed by them for businesses. They may even obtain a fleet registration number for you even if you have leased less than ten cars.

In order to decide if fleet leasing is the right option for you, you must discuss with your accountant and work out the costs involved, taking into account the monthly lease payments; gas, oil, and maintenance expenses; annual insurance premium, and license fees involved.

Another aspect to be considered is whether you need to appoint a person to manage your fleet or not.

The costs and savings associated with giving an allowance to your employees and getting them to lease their vehicles should also be worked out before deciding to go ahead with fleet leasing.

One important aspect that you must clearly take note of is the penalties involved if you have to terminate a lease before the contract expiry date. This is crucial especially if you are likely to experience cash flow fluctuations every month.

Some of the possible pitfalls that you need to keep in mind prior to signing on the dotted line are as follows:

Insurance Coverage

Some dealers ask you to raise your insurance coverage. This is because they own the vehicles you leased from them. You should shop around a little bit before you decide on your fleet service provider because insurance can be quite high.

You should also find out if you can buy a blanket policy that covers both your fleet and business.

Overextending Your Hard-Earned Money

Seeing many new vehicles parked in your company’s parking area is definitely an ego booster. However, you need to decide as to how many vehicles you really need.

You must take care not to get carried away at the time of ordering a fleet. It is, therefore, highly recommended that you analyze your requirements before placing the order.

Neglecting to ascertain about mileage limits

The expenses involved vary radically and ranges anywhere from 15 cents to 20 cents per each mile driven over the prescribed limit.

So, if you cover, for instance, 50000 miles every year, buying a fleet may be a better option than leasing. Of course, you need to work out the details for your situation before going ahead with one of the options.

Failing to compare buying and leasing costs

Most dealers often have vehicles that they want to sell off as early as possible and they will offer special discounts and deals if you are ready to purchase rather than lease.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

Discuss with the fleet manager in detail and work out the costs of buying and leasing in order to see as to which option makes more sense in your case. Always get the comparison in writing.

Spending too much

Never allow yourself to be talked into making a down payment that is higher than what is normal.

Typically, the down payment involves the instalment amount and license fees that are payable and a small deposit.

Forgetting state taxes

 Indeed states like Nevada and Texas do not levy any taxes, but some states, for example, California, levy high taxes and registration fees. You have to pay them upfront when you lease vehicles.

Avoiding paperwork

Irrespective of the size of a fleet, you are required to keep track of the mileage and expenses for each vehicle. This is essential to budget your cash flow.

Some Helpful Tips

1. Be clear about the different types of vehicles you need – minivans, pickups, and/or passenger cars

2. Be sure as to what purpose each of the vehicles will be used for

3. Pick the right vehicles and not those that are cheap; If you do not choose the right vehicle, your job will not get done; some of the questions you must answer for selecting the right vehicle are: 

  • What will you haul using the vehicles? 
  • How much space is required? 
  • What should be the payload (weight capacity) of the vehicle you need?
  • How would you organize the payload? Will you need special shelving, ladder racks, or toolboxes? Consider whether the pickups and vans need to be specially equipped
  • How many people would be present in the vehicle at any point in time including the driver?
  • If the vehicle has to pull a trailer, what should be its size and capacity?
  • Whether a four-wheel drive is required for your vehicles? Will the vehicle be driven off-road to justify the additional expenditure of using four-wheel drives?

4. Know clearly the features needed on each vehicle – radios and air conditioning may be required but it is better to avoid fancy features

5. How much cargo space is required for accommodating your product?

6. How many miles do you need to cover in a year? The limit set by most leases is 12,000 to 15,000 miles in a year

7. Leasing a fleet from one dealer is more economical and efficient

8. When visiting dealerships, always discuss with their fleet manager

9. In addition to shopping for vehicles, shop for a lender as well

There are several fleet financing companies out there that are ready to discuss incentive programs, your buying needs, and payment modifications. You can find them by asking your dealer for providing a line of credit.

Read Also: 7 Essential Skills To Become A Successful Fleet Manager

Or else, you can ask the dealer to recommend a leasing company they are already doing business with. Check with other lenders as well before finalizing anything.

You can also ask your bank if they have any fleet leasing programs. Alternatively, you can make use of a buying service for negotiating a deal and setting up financing arrangements.

Winter Driving Tips For Truck Drivers

Driving in bad weather translates to driving through fog, driving in the thick of rains, or through sandstorms. Some of these bad weather conditions mean slippery roads and low visibility. Bad weather can cause delays, inconvenience, and major accidents that may be fatal.

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Pile-up accidents are common on the roads during such weather conditions. The vehicles collide with those in front of them mainly because of the high speed of the vehicle and due to lack of proper attention on the part of the drivers.

We have gleaned a few points that truck drivers can keep in mind when negotiating low visibility during such winter weather conditions.

Smart Weather Tips for Truck Drivers

If you are a professional truck driver, you must become familiar with weather patterns in areas that you usually cover. The suggestions listed below can help you plan ahead and stay safe.

1: Inspect your vehicle beforehand

It is important to get your truck prepared for the winter weather well ahead. Ensure that you check the engine oil and tire pressure before you take on your trip. Get a good mechanic to inspect your vehicle and ensure that it can withstand the harsh weather ahead.

2: Slow down

In a majority of cases, accidents happen when the speeds are not adjusted to the bad weather condition. Going slow gives you a little more time to adjust and react if something goes wrong.

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In the rains, slow down your vehicle speed to avoid aquaplaning.

3: Stay in your lane

When the visibility is bad, ensure that you do not drift and stay put in your lane. You may have to overcome a natural tendency to drift into the middle of the road. It is a good idea to use the right edge of the road as a guide.

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This will help you to avoid oncoming traffic and headlights. You can also sensitize your car passengers to look out for oncoming vehicles or other obstacles on the road.

4: Maintain extra spacing

It is wise to consider longer braking distances when the weather is bad or visibility is low. You can do better with extra spacing when the road is slippery due to the rain. This will surely save you in the most unpredictable situations.

5: Turn on the lights

Inclement weather always means low visibility. Therefore, turn on the low-beam headlights and the front and rear fog lights as required. Other drivers can see you better and maintain safe distances from your vehicle.

6: Pullover if in doubt

If the weather conditions are too bad to contend with, it is best to pull over to the side of the road. Turn on your hazard lights to let other drivers know where you are.

Do not worry about your schedule and find a safe spot to park your car and wait until the weather gets better. You can even pull into petrol stations.

7: Listen to the local weather updates regularly

It is a good idea to listen to the local weather updates on the radio on a regular basis if you are a trucker. You can then plan your trip properly and leave early enough if required.

If possible, you can even try not to be on the road at all. It is best to stay away from those areas that are regularly affected by bad winter weather.

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You can now download weather apps onto your smartphone. You can choose to keep the most accurate one.  You can refuse to drive the truck in case of bad weather. Safety should be your number one priority.

8: Dust storms can be deadly

Dust storms can be very dangerous even to professional truckers. Sand storms are pretty hard to predict. In case you are caught in the midst of one, it is best to pull over your vehicle to one side and wait for it to subside.

Severe sandstorms may enforce authorities to close down the roads and there is no choice anyway. You should keep the windows of your truck tightly closed and wait for it to pass.

9: Beware of the intense cold

Ensure that your truck’s engine is up to it in the intense cold. They sometimes do not start when the temperatures are down. Some truck drivers keep the engine on high idle so that there is no problem when starting the vehicle.

10: Winter fogs are dangerous too

A thin and patchy fog during winter can be managed by truck drivers. However, it is a challenge to drive through dense fog patches. The most important factor while driving through fog is the range of visibility.

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If the visibility keeps on decreasing, it is important to find a safe spot to park the truck. It is very important to turn on your flashing lights and turn off your tail lights if you get off the road to park your truck.

11: Keep your different systems checked beforehand

Keep your coolant levels topped up. Coolants expand as they freeze and this can damage the engine block.

Check the battery for sufficient voltage. It is more difficult to start your truck during winters than during warmer periods.

Check your windshield reservoir levels before the winter and fill it up with high-quality fluid. Keep some extra with you on hand.

Keep your hazard and fog lights checked as winter brings low-visibility conditions frequently. With modern cars averaging speeds of over 100 km in an hour, it is important to alert these other cars during low visibility road conditions.

Get your truck’s spark plug, belts, water pumps, belts, and hoses checked to drive through the winter without any major unpleasant events.

Keep your truck fully serviced at the start of the winter season.

Ensure that your vehicle is covered by a comprehensive insurance plan to manage any unforeseen incident that may happen.

Endnote

In addition to all of these safety measures, ensure that you keep off the mobile for texting or other purposes while driving. Carry a couple of blankets to keep yourself warm when you are parked. Following these instructions can keep you safe and happy while driving.

31 Tips To Hire Best Drivers For Your Fleet

For many large fleet management organizations, hiring competent drivers is as much a challenging job as any other. A successful driver, they believe, represents the face of the company to the public and the customers.

In these modern times, fleet managers face significant issues when hiring drivers including a shortage of talented drivers.

The reasons for this include aging of the drivers, regulated number of driving hours for the drivers, increased freighting demands because of an improved economy, drivers taking up alternate jobs instead of driving, lack of driving experience of younger drivers, long working hours at a stretch, etc., among others.

Read Also: Healthy Habits for Truck Drivers

Given below are the skills, backgrounds, certifications and other tips to hire best drivers for your fleet, these tips are to be kept in mind when hiring great drivers for your fleet and overcome the abovementioned shortage.

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Tips to Hire Best Drivers For Your Fleet

#1: Firstly conduct and interview to hire your fleet driver. This is the best way in which you can find out how efficient they are. You can also estimate their trustworthiness.

#2: After the interview, lead the shortlisted drivers on to a second practical driving test. This is the next screening that will help you to filter the better drivers for your fleet. You can practically test their driving skills. This will give you an idea to evaluate their skill, ease and comfort while driving the vehicle.

#3: Perform a background check and as certain that they do not any criminal background. They should also include a gauge of the safety accountability of the driver.

#4: Check the drivers’ licenses and driving certifications thoroughly. This is a very important stage.

#5: Take stock of the driver’s health by conducting a checkup. They should be fit enough to drive for long hours in a day.

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#6: The mechanical skills of the candidate should be in place. They should be able to overcome sudden and unpredictable technical difficulties quickly that the vehicle may experience during a trip.

#7: The driver of today should be a tech savvy person and be able to understand technology. Cars and trucks are equipped with the latest gadgetry including GPS trackers and fleet fuel cards. The candidate should be able to use these fully to manage the journey.

#8: Driving is a challenging job. Every day is a different one for the driver and this job requires the driver to act with grace and tolerance to end the day with satisfaction.

#9: A good driver must be calm and composed. They have to be able to contain their anger under the most stressful conditions.

#10: The drivers’ sense of responsibility in handling the vehicle, money, time and the jobs they are entrusted with is of supreme importance.

#11: Drivers of your fleet vehicles must be most well-behaved with clients, co-workers and the public at large. They should behave responsibly and carefully.

#12: How the driver excels in customer service is a very important aspect of building the image of the company. Hence you should select those drivers who behave in the best manner with your customers.

#13: Any driver would at many instances be required to execute more than one task at a time. This makes it imperative that a driver should be good at multitasking.

#14: The driver is trusted with the vehicle and all the members/goods that it carries. In this context, the driver is obliged to be trustworthy and be morally responsible for the transporting of goods or the people in the fleet.

#15: The driver must be alert at all times. His hearing ability should be top-notch. His hand-eye coordination should be perfect. These qualities ensure that he will be alert enough to be able to handle any unpredictable driving conditions that may arise.

Read Also: 5 Essential Safety Tips For Fleet Drivers

#16: Drivers that you hire should be honest at all times. They have more than just the vehicle on their hands at any point in time. They cannot compromise on their honest even for an instant.

#17: Drivers should be physically strong and have fit bodies. They are likely to meet the strangest individuals during their long-haul trips. They should be capable of overcoming any kind of adverse situation.

#18: The background checks and screening should include checking for moving violations for at least the last 10 years.

#19: It is important not to hire drivers that have DUI convictions. As an employer, you must have zero tolerance towards driving under the influence of alcohol.

#20: In case your company’s routes are across national borders, the driver’s license and background records should comply with the other country’s regulations as well.

#21: For recruiting truck drivers, it is a good idea to look at former service members. They are adept at handling large vehicles and have a way of learning the mechanical systems quickly.

#22: Recruiting middle-aged candidates as drivers brings in maturity and more experience in life skills.

#23: Hiring legal immigrants leaves you with candidates that are fluent in more than one language. This is likely to improve customer service and liaison with the public.

#24: Choosing a candidate with collaborative communication skills with the company and the public improves the service and the company image.

#25: Hiring a candidate with good mathematical skills goes a long way to understand customer documentation and fewer billing/invoice mistakes.

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#26: Being well-groomed and having a friendly demeanor is important for driver recruits as these two factors help to improve customer relationships.

#27: It is advantageous for the recruiter to find out if the candidate has a preferred route or a work-shift. This can help the recruiter to leverage this preference in terms of increased output from the candidate.

#28: It is a good idea to award plum routes and work-schedules to drivers with a lot of experience. This will make way for their improved performance and ensure that they stay on in the job for longer periods.

#29: It is a good idea for the recruiter to invest in advanced training and skills development for deserving drivers. This tells them that you are investing in their expertise and causes them to be more loyal to you.

#30: It is important to recruit candidates with sound knowledge of both verbal and written communication in Arabic (native) and English languages. This will ensure optimum communications and all required documentation to be in place.

#31: More than anything else, the candidate should love driving. Any person that loves his/her job does it well. Driving a truck or a car is good employment for those who do not want to work within the confines of an office.

Read Also: 6 Reasons Truck Driving Is A Dangerous Job [Incl. Safety Tips]

These are some of the best tips to hire best drivers for your fleet of vehicles.

31 Ways to Reduce Fleet Maintenance costs

If you operate a fleet of vehicles for running your business, one of the key performance parameters would be fleet maintenance costs. You need to reduce the costs involved to improve the bottom line of your business. Read on to know the different ways in which you can reduce fleet maintenance costs

Read Also: 8 Tips for Managing Fleet Vehicles

Ways to Reduce Fleet Maintenance Costs

#1:Consider changing your funding methods, especially if your fleet operation was started three-four years ago. The decisions you have taken a few years back might have become obsolete because of the changes in your business operations and other external factors.

#2: Create a new vehicle choice list based on carbon dioxide emission levels (140 gram per kilometer) and mileage considerations (45 miles per gallon). This will help you to realize significant savings in fuel consumption. There is no need to worry, you will have enough options.

#3: You will be able to save big time if you remove vehicle choice and adopt a policy of one management model and job requirement vehicle. This policy may not be popular with drivers, but their concerns can be addressed by offering better vehicles.

#4: Choosing vehicles on the basis of whole-life costs is another way in which you can reduce maintenance costs. Fleet managers often select vehicles based on their price. This does not provide a true picture of the actual cost of operating a vehicle across its lifetime.

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#5: Study the economics related to paying cash allowances instead of providing company cars by working out the costs incurred for each grade of employee. Choose an option based on the savings you can accrue over the life of the vehicle.

#6: You must encourage your employees to be mindful of fuel efficiency all the time. This will enable you to reduce your fuel bills substantially and, in turn, cut down fleet maintenance costs.  You can give the drivers several tips to drive efficiently.

#7: It is a good idea to choose the right fuel card provider. The fuel card provider chosen by you should make it possible for you to track your expenditure online. As the efficiency of the fuels can vary considerably, the use of fuel-saving additives might be helpful.

#8: Find out if free fuel is an attractive perk in terms of taxation point of view. Based on your findings you can decide how you would want to implement your policy so that it is beneficial to both parties.

#9: Another way in which you can achieve your goal of reducing your fleet maintenance costs is by encouraging refueling at appropriate places. Planning their journey in advance and refueling early helps to eliminate the need for filling fuel at expensive places.

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#10: It is important to identify ways in which drivers can help the company save a fortune on fuel costs. However, you need to communicate the same in an effective manner to your drivers and make sure that the momentum is maintained.

#11: Most of the tips provided in this post work for both car and van fleets. However, here are a few tips that are specific to van fleets: Consider using software for route and route and journey planning. Use smaller vans wherever possible. Opt for white vehicles. Odd colors tend to reduce residual value.

#12: Fleet vehicle downtime impacts profitability, disrupts work, increases admin time, and affects your relationship with your customers. A study carried out recently showed that accident rates are 30 percent to 40 percent higher in the case of fleet vehicles when compared to private vehicles.

#13: You should never assume that diesel vehicles are cheaper. Petrol vehicles are expensive in the long run. However, a petrol vehicle is a better option for if the distance covered is less than 10,000 miles in a year.

#14: Optimize daily rental usage by following a policy-driven decision rather than a driver-based decision to realize savings. Consolidating suppliers will help rationalize rates and makes monitoring costs and usage easier.

#15: Try to reduce grey-fleet journeys by putting them in the spotlight. This will encourage your employees to make informed decisions with respect to work-related journeys they always make.

#16: It is important to ensure that the fleet partner you are working with is the right service provider. This is to ensure that the fleet partner delivers cost savings without sacrificing customer service irrespective of whether you have a fleet size 1000 vehicles 40 vehicles.

Read Also: What Are The Benefits of Fleet Management Software?

#17: You should make a concerted effort to minimize the charges applicable when a fleet contract comes to an end. The fair amount of wear and tear allowed varies from one leasing company to another. So, it is important to go through the terms of the contract with a toothcomb before signing on the dotted line.

#18: Reducing driving speed helps you to save on fuel costs. Excessive speeding is not only risky but also consumes more fuel. While driving at 70 miles per hour increases fuel consumption by up to 9 percent than driving at 60 miles per hour, it is nearly 15 percent more when compared to driving at 50 miles per hour.

#19: It always pays to seek expert advice from the account manager. There are two aspects to managing a fleet: day-to-day interaction with drivers (it should be manned by employees who understand your vehicle policy) and strategic analysis of data.

#20: Deploying a vehicle tracking system encourages drivers to assume responsibility for their driving and avoid bad habits. When you monitor the behavior, driving speed, and fuel consumption, the drivers exercise care at the time of driving company vehicles.

#21: Reallocation of vehicles is another way in which you can cut your fleet maintenance costs. For many organizations, the cost associated with vehicle fleet maintenance is by far the second largest in terms of overhead expenses. Therefore, drawing out a reallocation policy is very helpful in cutting costs.

#22: You need to have a management information system in place to quickly access data related to your fleet costs. It is not easy to identify the tricky areas in the absence of a powerful tool for reporting fleet operations. This will help your Account Manager to provide you with the required information promptly.

#23: When it comes to avoiding excess mileage, some of the aspects include the following: Aim for the lowest realistic distance possible when signing a new contract.

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Work closely with your leasing company to avoid any surprises at the end of the contract period. Consider returning lease vehicle and utilizing daily rental vehicles if the charges related to excess mileage are too high. Employ telematics systems for capturing accurate mileage readings.

#24: If an online presentation, conference call, or video conference can resolve an issue, avoid using a fleet vehicle to meet a client.

#25: Most companies leave pool car management to those who are not directly involved with the overall fleet usage. When used in the right manner, the pool car fleet becomes one of the most cost-effective options and saves you a lot of money.

#26: To help your drivers understand the benefits of achieving fuel efficiency when driving fleet vehicles, you can arrange formal training programs. However, this initiative will work best when used in conjunction with sending out frequent reminders through other means.

#27: Who doesn’t enjoy independence? However, you must find out whether your team members should always drive in separate vehicles. If your team has to attend a program or an event at the same venue – for example, a client visit, trade exhibition, or conference – make sure that they share a vehicle and travel together.

#28: If you try to do a lot of things in-house, you might end up incurring unnecessary costs as a result of allocating valuable resources to activities that do not contribute to your core business at all. You should consider outsourcing some of your routine fleet tasks to another company. For that company, it is their core activity and they will follow industry best practices to deliver efficiencies and cost savings.

#29: Outsourcing fleet administration is one thing, but you should not overlook the time you invest in management. As time is money, you must consider the time you invest so that you can work smarter and not harder.

#30: Focus on continuously improving efficiencies. This is more of an attitude than an action plan.

Read Also: Top 5 Tips to Increase Efficiency of Your Fleet

#31: If you are operating your own vehicles, it is important to manage depreciation and sell a vehicle at a point in its lifecycle when it offers optimum value.