Tag Archives: Unfamiliar Vehicle Modes

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.

16 Frustrating Problems Faced By Drivers on a Trip [Inc: solutions]

The frustrating problems faced by drivers on a trip are numerous. Regardless of the purpose of the trips every hurdles troubles us. It further destroys all our schedules of the day. 

The beauty of being on the road is the privilege of being your own master throughout the journey. Thus any of the hassles that hinder it is a head ache to both drivers and travellers.

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

The best that a driver can do is to avoid such mishaps is to take precautions to avoid it. But, for that – one needs to be aware of such problems. So, let’s go through this post to know these issues and avoid them as much as possible.

1. Dead Car Battery

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Batteries can die at the least expected timings, and it can be a huge problem. Several components in a vehicle require batteries. For example, cars that have a button-based ignition system require a battery to start the engine.

To avoid car battery mishaps, make sure to check the battery and see that it is charged enough. Also, check the power status of battery on frequent intervals. Their average lifespan is from 2 to 5 years. This lifespan depends upon external factors, such as weather conditions, usage, electric wiring system, etc.

2. Flat Tire

This problem is quite common and can be treated on your own. All vehicles are equipped with a Stepney or spare tire, a jack tool, wrench, etc. These are present there for emergencies. The issue is to change a flat tire.

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CBS report states that over 60% of people do not know how to change a tire. That can be a problem if you do not have any available help while on the road. So, you need to learn how to do it by avoiding troubles. Check the tires before leaving for your trip and reduce your chances of facing such troubles in the first place.

3. Brakes Not Working

This issue is undoubtedly troublesome and dangerous. Check your vehicle brakes every time before heading for a trip whether it is short or long. Also, make sure the fluids are enough for performing the function.

If it is out of your handling ability the best way to deal with it is by getting your vehicle checked from an expert mechanic. Let him know to check the brake pads, drums, rotors, and fluid before you start your road trip.

4. Engine Fails

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Engine is the heart that keeps the whole machine running. Without a healthy engine, your car is bound to collapse at one point. It is unavoidable to get your engine tuned before heading on the road.

The unusual time, Knocking sound, smoke has to be checked frequently. Avoiding a tune-up process can cause engine failure. Inspection of the engine of your vehicle may give you an idea of the parts that need to be replaced or fixed.

5. Trouble With Transmission

The transmission of a vehicle can also face trouble if there are issues such as grinding of gears, leaking of fluid, clutch noises when in neutral mode, etc. It has to be repaired or replaced with proper maintenance works.

Though these problems might not sound much, but when travelling for long term journeys, it can be fatal for the driver and passengers. Hence, get it checked before starting your journey.

6. Gas Troubles

Fuel level is a vital factor to check before a trip. This issue may be a simple one, but it can be a nuisance if faced during your journey. If your vehicle is unable to drive any further due to an empty tank, then you might even get stranded on your way to your destination.

So, plan ahead and fill it up at the right intervals. Do not force your vehicle and risk driving another mile while your car is on reserve. Make sure to fill up the tank whenever you get the chance.

7. No Cellular Connection

While on the road, you might even move through dead zones where there is no cellular connectivity. It can be troublesome if you got into any roadside mishaps. Else, in need of any immediate assistance we have to sweat out hard.

So, if you are in frequent need of communicating with someone, then make sure to have a satellite phone available with you at all times during your journey to avoid unnecessary troubles. You may never know how beneficial this investment could be for you.

8. Starting Your Journey At Rush Hour

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Your journey time matters too. If you unknowingly choose a rush hour to start your journey or face one during your journey, then it might irritate you.

Read Also: Healthy Habits for Truck Drivers

Avoid it by planning your trip strategically so you can avoid all such hustle and bustle on the roads. Learn about the traffic density timings in your area to drive with a positive mood.

9. Travel Sick Passengers

It can be troublesome in situations when you accompany a passenger who can quickly get sick of travelling. It can ruin the mood of the whole journey as driving is not seamless in such a situation. To avoid it, make sure that the person takes a pill for keeping his sickness under control.

10. Unpredictable Weather

Poor weather condition during the journey is a pain in the neck. You need to see how the weather is going to be if the roads are not safe enough for harsh climatic conditions.

Make sure to check with the forecast before beginning your journey. If the weather becomes unexpectedly bad during the trip, then do not be afraid to make stops on your way at safe places to avoid mishaps.

11. Travelling Unprepared

Long journeys always accompany by things that disturbs our smooth trip. The reasons can range from shortage of food and water to extreme weather to break-downs.

So, carry adequate stuffs you might’ve required in your vehicles. For example, tinned food, enough water, cloths, emergency kit and medicine.  

It can be pretty helpful in cases when family members and kids are travelling with you.

12. Being Pulled Over By Cops

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Cops can be trouble in situations where your car is not maintained properly. Ensure that all the necessary parts of your vehicle are working correctly so that the law enforcers do not end up giving you a ticket. Also, ensure that your vehicle’s number plate is visible to all.

13. Not Enough Documents To Cross Border

Sometimes your journey may involve crossing borders of states or even countries. Without the necessary documents, you might not get permission to cross the premises. Avoid such a situation by learning about the required papers for crossing the territorial line.

Try to carry all relevant documents with the vehicles. Make sure every document that needs to be renewed is up-to-date. For example, identity documents, vehicle registration papers, permits and certificates.

14. Drowsiness While Driving

Possibly, you did not have had enough rest or sleep a night before your road trip. It can be dangerous if you are the one who has to drive. In such situations, accompany someone who can legally drive so that you can switch places with him or her from time to time.

If you are alone, then you might have to rely on stimulants like coffee or energy drinks. But, avoid that by catching your z’s before starting your journey.   

15. Unfamiliar Vehicle Modes

Driving a new model vehicle many cause little troubles along the way. The operational setting in different vehicles would vary based on the companies design.

Likewise, driving someone else’s vehicle, which you rented or borrowed, could be a risky move if you are completely unaware about the condition of the ride. Make sure to learn all possible operations of the vehicle and get them learned before starting your journey.

16. Theft of Valuables

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Your journeys will involve stopping at certain places that might not be that safe. You might even have to leave your car to visit the loo from time to time.

In such situations, your valuables could be carelessly left by you in the vehicle which is prone to be robbed by thieves and crooks in the area.

Read Also: 10 Common Truck Driver Health Issues and Solutions

Avoid this problem by locking or carrying everything safely. Also, keep the valuables with you if it can be carried with you.

Conclusion:

The level of enjoyment throughout your road trip is in your hands to some extent. But, sometimes mishaps are unavoidable. It is prudent to stay calm in such situations and focus on the solution so that you can move on with the trip with happy memories.