Apr 15 2021

Guide to Reducing Fleet Maintenance Costs

Reducing FleetOperating a fleet can be challenging and expensive. Statistics indicate that the average marginal cost per mile of operating fleet vehicles is trending upward, nearing $2 per mile and up to six cents per mile over three years ago. Let’s face it; these rising costs are directly affecting your bottom line. Out-of-control fleet maintenance costs can affect your business’ profitability and, if not reigned in, can cause you to permanently shut down. It’s no wonder there is tons of advice out there about how to reduce fleet maintenance expenses. While this is in no way an exhaustive list, following the eight steps below can mean substantial decreases in your overall fleet maintenance costs.

1. Route effectively

Reducing the overall number of miles your fleet is driving is a common-sense way to reduce fleet maintenance costs. Not only will your fuel costs go down significantly with effective route mapping and preparation, but your maintenance expenses will also decrease since your vehicles will require fewer oil changes, tune-ups, and other preventative maintenance items. Lesser miles driven can also equate to fewer breakdowns since the equipment is used less overall.

2. Improve fuel economy/Reduce fuel costs

Improving fuel economy is a huge concern not just for fleet managers but also automakers themselves. Federal regulations instruct automakers to cut emissions and improve gas mileage, with a target of 40.4 mpg in 2025. While these required improvements to fuel economy will no doubt cut costs for fleet maintenance, there are practices fleet managers can implement themselves to reduce fleet gas mileage:
  • Use lighter weight, smaller sized vehicles
  • Use innovative automotive technologies like electric and hybrid vehicles, “clean” diesel, natural gas engines, propane engines, and fuel additives
  • Modify driver behavior with education and vehicle tracking systems

3. Reduce lifecycle costs

Outdated ways of thinking have influenced fleet managers in the past to hold onto vehicles well past their optimal length of use. This practice is justified by prioritizing the cost of replacing the vehicle asset over the increased maintenance costs associated with older vehicles. Proper vehicle replacement schedules can be developed by considering the new vehicle cost, projected resale value, fuel economy, planned maintenance, projected repairs, and payments for personal use.

4, Lower acquisition costs

You don’t have to purchase 100+ vehicles to get a good deal. Dealerships and even automakers have programs to provide companies with all sizes of fleets deals on both vehicles and scheduled maintenance. Negotiations that are held directly with the factory and begin early in a vehicle’s model year tend to yield the best deals, which can be up to $2,000 per light-duty vehicle by some estimates. Extra deep savings can be had by making multi-purchase offers on vehicle models that the manufacturer is phasing out.

5. Get a higher resale value for existing assets

Maximizing the value of your fleet’s existing assets will ensure that adequate new vehicles can be purchased when reaching that point in the asset’s life cycle. Some ways to reap a higher resale value are:
  • Sell directly to employees
  • Prevent employees from making non-safety-related modifications to company vehicles
  • Only purchase fleet vehicles in white or neutral colors
  • Keep accurate maintenance records and provide this to potential buyers
  • Use a reliable fleet industry publication, such as Black Book, for valuations

6. Reduce maintenance costs

Fleet maintenance can be a time suck and a huge expense line in your budget if not mitigated. Vehicles that are in the shop are not out there generating revenue and are just guzzling up your profits. Professional fleet maintenance service is the best way to keep your fleet’s maintenance on schedule and affordable. Here at Ralph’s Transmissions, we take pride in keeping your fleet on the road. If you are located in Sarasota or Manatee counties, let our fleet maintenance experts develop a fleet maintenance plan that fits your business needs and budget.

7. Reduce accident costs

A well-thought-out safety management program is a necessity in any well-rounded fleet maintenance plan. Safety management can:
  • reduce the risk of accidents and injuries
  • reduce insurance premiums
  • increase driver productivity
  • improve driver morale
  • increase driver retention
Accidents and injuries can cost companies literally millions in medical and punitive damages. In fact, some estimates show that just one major accident can require an additional $1.1 million in revenue to offset.

8. Reduce overhead costs

Another advantage of professional, scheduled fleet maintenance is that your company is not required to have a shop and maintenance technicians on staff. This means no building/land note, no shop insurance premiums, no shop staffing expenses, and no risk of shop accidents or injuries. This will drastically reduce overhead costs related to fleet management. No matter how many vehicles you manage, scheduled, managed maintenance by a professional fleet maintenance company like Ralph’s Transmissions is the smartest move you can make to keep your fleet in top condition for a reasonable cost. Remove surprise costs, limit liability, and lock in profits by entrusting us with the assets that keep your business moving forward. Call us today at (941) 921-3559 to see what our fleet maintenance experts can do for you.