Operating a fleet of vehicles with a wide range of equipment is a serious investment. Whether you are considering renewing your fleet or you are just starting, it's worth selecting the best vehicles for the job. While the selection process brings a lot of complexity, researching what suits your business needs the best is time well spent. Since new vehicles' performance and costs can directly influence your profitability, it's essential to know which factors to consider when choosing fleet vehicles.
What to consider when choosing fleet vehicles
Before investing in your new fleet, it's necessary to do some research about transportation. This works by first assessing the priorities and general expectations and combining them with your budget capabilities. Most companies that are just starting turns to leasing first. It allows them to analyze and evaluate results before fully investing in buying new vehicles. There are many factors to consider, from durability to fuel consumption, which can make a difference in the long run.
But, before we continue, let's see what fleet vehicles are.
What are fleet vehicles?
In simple words, fleet vehicles are vehicles that companies and organizations use for providing services or for themselves. There are various services and functions these vehicles can have, from transporting people to delivering goods. The most common example of such companies would be freight, transportation, and moving companies.
To help you out with the choices, here is a couple of essential factors you should bear in mind when choosing proper fleet vehicles:
- How you intend to use fleet vehicles
- Fleet vehicle costs
- Predefine vehicle specifications
- Safety concerns
- Upkeep, maintenance, and repairs
- Employee satisfaction
- A test drive is a necessity
How do you intend to use fleet vehicles?
The first thing to consider when choosing vehicles is their purpose. You need to make sure you pick the right tool for the job. For example, if you plan on towing heavy loads, you will need a large enough vehicle. For the best results, it's always good to focus on the following few concerns:
- Size and capacity of vehicles - depending on the type and amount of weight the vehicles will carry, you need a proper size and capacity.
- Routing and roads - consider the routes and types of roads your vehicles will take. It's not the same driving off the road on rural parts and through the quality urban highways near the cities.
- Distance - always pick vehicles appropriate for driving on designated distances. Driving a truck internationally on a daily basis is not the same as driving a van throughout and between nearby places.
- Type of cargo - whether you need vehicles to transport people, goods, heavy machinery, or to transport substances in the liquid state.
Fleet vehicle costs
After you know what type of vehicles you need, it's time to make your financial calculations. Here, it's essential to consider your long-term plans. You gain nothing by acquiring cheap vehicles at the start, which can cost you more to upkeep. It may look like savings at the moment, but it will eventually cost you much more overall.
Of course, doing the complete opposite can also be a mistake. You can invest a lot at the start, thinking if you invest plenty, there is nothing to worry about. You then figure out you paid too much because you are not using your large trucks at their full capacity. The best way is to make a balance by accessing the business needs, determine the proper budget, and stick to it.
Predefine vehicle specifications
You should specify specific characteristics you want your vehicles to have. After consolidating the previous two factors, you will have an overall image of what type of vehicles you generally need. However, stay open-minded and don't limit yourself strictly to such specifications. It is common to overlook a few attributes or confuse similar vehicles.
For example, maybe a specific type of vehicle might be more representative of your business. Or, one type might come with a more profitable package and benefits. If you are not limited by distance, maybe an electric vehicle or a hybrid might be a more economical solution. In simple words, sum up all the pros and cons before making an informed decision.
Setting safety as a priority has several benefits. Besides the obvious, it will reduce your costs by reducing the number of accidents. Fewer incidents mean you won't have to pay high insurance premiums. Also, productivity-wise, you will significantly reduce the downtime. Which, in the end, leads to a reduction of repair costs.
Upkeep, maintenance, and repairs
With the right choice of fleet vehicles, you can also reduce the costs of upkeep, maintenance, and repairs. Because all vehicles are different, their fuel consumption, endurance, and price of parts will be different. Do a little research about warranty coverage and compare it with projected costs.
When it comes to choosing fleet vehicles, employee satisfaction plays an important role. It allows you to keep the most talented personnel by enabling them to participate in decision-making. After all, they will drive those vehicles, so they should know how they behave on the road. Also, they are already familiar with all the necessities that arise while doing their job. This makes their opinion on the subject quite important. Not solely because of their comfort but also because they know how different vehicles perform.
A test drive is a necessity
Another factor concerning fleet selection is to test drive the vehicles before making a purchase. Again, it's an excellent option to bring one of the most experienced drivers to accompany you while shopping. Allow them to test the vehicle and ask to give you feedback about the performance.
Every company has different needs. The same goes for their fleet vehicle requirements and operations. If you want the best option for your company's needs, you have to know which factors to consider when choosing fleet vehicles. This is the only way to properly plan your investment and achieve success in the long run.