Safety is of the utmost importance for all fleets, but it can look different from fleet to fleet. For fleet operators managing light commercial vehicles (LCV) we have put together a quick guide on some of the key things to look out for, including what should be included in your daily vehicles checks, what your servicing schedule should look like and some tools you can use to help manage these.
What vehicles are classed as LCV?
LCV fleet operators can skip ahead, but if you don’t currently have LCVs in your fleet but are expanding, then it’s good to know what exactly counts as an LCV. Light commercial vehicles are carrier vehicles with a gross weight of up to 3.5 tonnes that are used for business purposes, such as last mile delivery.
Generally used for shorter and more localised journeys, common vehicles that would be categorised as LCVs include vans, small trucks and other car-derived load carrying vehicles.
Daily vehicle checks
Daily vehicles checks are a foundational feature of successful fleet operations. As such, laying out clear guidelines for what these vehicle checks should include and the regularity and consistency with which they should be carried out is essential.
While there is no legal requirement to perform daily vehicles checks, the repercussions should a company LCV be found to be defective or unworthy for the road can be costly and could even lead to custodial sentences. That’s why it is essential to lay out a daily vehicle check list and ensure that your drivers understand their responsibility to carry it out.
What to check
Vehicle checks should be thorough and include all the following:
Mirrors and glass
Seats and seatbelts
Horn and steering
Fluids, fuel, and oil
Washers and wipers
Towbar and tail lift
Bodywork and doors
For a detailed breakdown on what to check within each of these categories you can refer to the Gov.uk van checklist.
This daily check should be the responsibility of the individual driving the vehicle. Often drivers of company vehicles of any size can become complacent and let their responsibility for their vehicles slip. Should a vehicle be found to be damaged or unroadworthy in the case of a road side check or an accident, then the legal repercussions could impact the driver and fleet manager as well as company directors too.
Manage vehicle checks with MyDriveSafe
It is in the fleet and company’s best interest to cultivate a strong foundation of vehicle checking where staff understand their responsibilities and what constitutes a proper vehicle check. One way to help eliminate the risk of error with vehicles checks and manage them efficiently is with the use of apps such as MyDriveSafe.
MyDriveSafe is an app that puts vehicle checklists and reporting in one place. Free to download and use, and just £1 per driver for access to full reporting and managers portal, MyDriveSafe can help LCV fleet operators to ensure that drivers checks are being consistently carried out and to a high level of precision.
Regular servicing is essential to keeping your fleet vehicles roadworthy, safe and legal to drive and the regularity at which you should be servicing your vehicles is roughly universal. Generally, it is recommended that a vehicle be serviced once a year or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. This recommendation might differ, however, depending on the make and models of your fleet LCVs, so always refer to the manufacturer manual to make sure you know your LCVs’ requirements.
Costs can vary across garages brands and when you have a growing fleet of vehicles requiring servicing on different schedules it can be hard to manage both bookings and costs. MyService.Expert serves to alleviate the stress of servicing your fleet vehicles by giving you access to pre-negotiated competitive rates, booking notifications and reminders as well as easy access to vital documentation and reports, all across franchised and independent garages across the country.
Lighten the load with Fuel Card Services
As a leading supplier of fuel cards, charge cards and fleet services, we know a thing or two about streamlining operations. For LCV fleet operators, managing the safety of your vehicles with checks and servicing can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task. Our suite of fleet management tools is designed to help ease your load and make the management of your fleet as simple and effective as possible, whilst saving you money.
If you would like to learn more about the services we have on offer, or are unsure what you could benefit from then get in touch via our quick enquiry form today.
Time consuming, costly, and difficult to organise – when it’s time to service your fleet vehicles the task can feel overwhelming. For fleet managers, finding the best rates and a service quality you can trust whilst battling for booking slots that suit your fleets schedule takes time away from other important tasks on your to-do list.
Servicing your fleet vehicles regularly is key to keeping your drivers and business safe from the repercussions of poorly kept vehicles. Though it’s an essential practice for fleets of every size and shape, is it necessary for managing service schedules, bookings, and paperwork to be such an arduous hurdle?
We’re going to take a look at what makes vehicle servicing become such a sizeable and expensive task, and how tools like MyService.Expert can help carry the load.
The challenges of fleet servicing
Whatever your fleet looks like, organising a vehicle service can end up with a lot of moving parts.
Getting the best rates
Vehicles need to be serviced regularly and when you have a growing fleet to keep road-safe and maintained the costs can quickly add up. Private garages and chain garages can offer servicing at large variable rates and when your fleet is on the move finding a well located and affordable location can be tricky.
Managing your bookings
Organising bookings and knowing which vehicles need servicing gets tougher the bigger your fleet grows. With different models of vehicle to manage and diverse fleets with a range of vehicle types in their arsenal, staying on top of servicing schedules and ensuring that your fleet vehicles get the right level of service in good time and in a manner that doesn’t hinder operations can be a struggle for fleet operators.
Staying on top of the paperwork
Paperwork can quickly stack up when you’re managing a fleet, even if it no longer requires physical paper. Despite the continuous move to paperless operations, the task still remains of effectively managing the filing of vital paperwork. When managing the servicing history of a range of vehicles and keeping track of spending on bookings and repairs, the paperwork can quickly get ahead of you.
How MyService.Expert can help
For fleet managers looking to get ahead of the curve and make savings where they count, MyService.Expert is a tool worth adding to their arsenal.
MyService.Expert is an app designed to help alleviate all the challenges we have discussed here by compiling bookings and paperwork in one location, while offering you access to pre-negotiated rates at both independent and franchise garages across the country.
With deals to be found on vehicle servicing, maintenance, repairs, glass and tyre work, and more – you can quickly see the savings rack up while the admin stays quick, simple, and organised. Get in touch via our quick enquiry form to learn more about how MyService.Expert could streamline you fleet servicing.
Generally speaking, electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain than their traditional fuel counterparts and this is simply because they benefit from having fewer moving parts. Fewer moving parts means less places that things can go wrong.
This is good news for those who have made or are looking to make the switch to EVs for both personal and fleet use, but all machines need some TLC from time to time. In this blog we’ll take a look at what sort of servicing and maintenance electric cars, vans and other vehicles will need, what this servicing looks like compared to traditional fuel vehicles, and what this servicing might cost.
Do EVs need servicing?
Electric vehicles still need servicing regularly, though how often your EV needs a trip to the garage will depend on the make and model. Some might make the mistake of assuming that the reduced number of parts means that EVs don’t need regular servicing and can instead be repaired and maintained based on condition.
Whilst this is true for some models, most EVs will still require regular service to ensure that everything is running smoothly and as intended. Less parts don’t mean they don’t also need properly and routinely checking.
How often is an EV serviced?
A good rule-of-thumb is to service your EV as often as you might service a petrol or diesel car, so every 12 months. However, it’s worth checking your vehicle’s manufacturing guide, as this will help you to decide if your EV needs servicing more or less frequently.
What is involved in an EV service?
Whilst there are some similarities between traditional servicing and electric car servicing, there are also some key differences.
In an EV service, one of the first things that a technician will do with your EV is hook it up to a diagnostic computer which will then identify any battery faults and concerns or issues with the drivetrain. The battery has very few moving parts meaning that the likelihood of something going wrong here is fairly low. When problems are identified with the battery, however, they are often easy to fix and not very costly.
Cabling is then visually checked to ensure no breaks or surface damage. Given that these cables are high voltage they are heavy-duty and built with a high level of protection. This means that damage isn’t common but is nonetheless not impossible. Checking this cabling can help to identify wear-and-tear or other damage that could develop into more complex issues.
Coolant in EVs is much the same as that in combustion vehicles, meaning they need the same care and attention in an electric vehicle service. The coolant prevents the battery from overheating, so the coolant piping needs to be thoroughly checked for any possible leaks and topped up if needs be.
Other standard checks
Much like petrol and diesel vehicles servicing, an EV service will also see the vehicles checked for the health of brakes, suspension, and tyres. These components will see similar wear and tear across all types of vehicles as they are mostly impacted by external factors such as the conditions of the roads.
It’s important to note slight differences though, which will see EV owners replacing tyres somewhat more often as well as brake pads.
What are the average EV servicing costs?
The cost of your electric car service will depend on the make and model of your EV as well as where you choose to get it done. However, the cost of servicing your electric vehicle will almost always be lower than the cost of servicing combustion engine vehicles. There are less parts to check, and this makes for a quicker and thus cheaper servicing process.
Managing fleet servicing with MyService.Expert
For fleet managers, staying on top of servicing for your fleet can be a hefty task, especially when you have a mix of combustion and electric vehicles. MyService.Expert helps you to manage your fleet’s service schedule, and you’ll get access to pre-negotiated competitive rates.
Making it easier to book in and save money, MyService.Expert is an invaluable tool fleet operators can use to ensure that fleet vehicles always operate safely, for the wellbeing of your fleet and the company wallet.
All vehicle owners and fleet managers are familiar with MOT testing. MOT tests themselves are one of the UK’s most essential tools to encourage road safety and minimise or avoid accidents that are caused by vehicle faults.
However, as our road laws evolve, the vehicles operating on them diversify, and the role of electrification increases, it’s important that fleet operators are able to stay up to date with the latest MOT guidance from the government and maintain an awareness of what a test comprises and when to get one.
An MOT test is an annual car inspection in which various parts of a vehicle are assessed to ensure that the vehicle as a whole is considered road safe (legally speaking), and that it complies with environmental standards.
The MOT has been around since 1960 and has seen many changes in its 62-year life span. Originally only required for cars of ten years and older, the MOT was brought in alongside the Motor Vehicles (Tests) Regulations 1960. In 1967, the testing age was reduced to cars of three years and older. For ambulances, taxis, and vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, the testable age is one year due to a change brought in in 1983.
What is checked on an MOT?
Dozens of tests are carried out during an MOT, most of which are focused on the functionality of parts such as the windscreen wipers, brakes, and exhaust. The MOT test does not test the health of your engine, clutch, or gear box. Key elements tested include:
Lighting and Signalling Equipment
Tyres and Wheels
Exhaust and Fuel Emissions
Drivers Road Views
Why do MOT tests include an exhaust emission test?
The exhaust emission test, introduced to the MOT in 1991, ensures that a vehicles engine is operating efficiently and that the emissions from the car are within legal requirements for environmental protection. It is not a direct check of a vehicle’s engine, but if your car fails its MOT on the basis of the exhaust emission test then you might need to have your vehicle serviced and your engine checked.
Why is an MOT important?
In short, an MOT ensures that your vehicle is safe to drive and doesn’t pose a threat to you, others, or the environment. An MOT may not check for issues with the engine, but ensuring that your vehicles steering, for example, is in full working condition and good health, will help to prevent malfunctioning that could lead to loss of control and ultimately an accident.
Driving without an MOT
While the wider motivation for the MOT test is to minimise risk on the roads, on an individual level there is a legal responsibility to ensure your car has its MOT. Driving without an MOT certificate leaves you liable to a £1,000 fine, and if you are caught driving a vehicle deemed ‘dangerous’ in an MOT test then you could face a fine of up to £2,500.
Not only could you receive this sizeable fine, but you could also get three points on your driving license for every fault you drive with. The consequences of points adding up on your license could be as severe as multiple years ban on your license – a major issue if you require your driving license for your job.
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions around MOTs.
When is my MOT due?
MOTs are an annual test, so you will need your next MOT exactly a year from your last. If you are unsure when your car is due its next MOT, you can use the GOV.uk MOT status tool to check.
How long does an MOT take?
An MOT test takes around an hour to complete. If your vehicle fails any part of the test, you may be able to have the repairs carried out immediately, depending on your MOT provider.
How much is an MOT?
The cost of an MOT will depend on where you have the test done, however they average around £40. There is a maximum fee for cars (up to 8 passenger seats) and goods vehicles (up to 3,000kg) of £54.85.
When does a new car need an MOT?
New cars do not require an MOT until they reach three years of age. You can choose to get your new car MOT tested if you wish, but there is no legal requirement until it is three years old.
Managing your fleet MOTs
When managing a fleet, staying on top of all MOTs can be a tricky task to manage. MyService.Expert is a handy tool that can help you to manage the servicing and testing needs of vehicles in your fleet.
Simplifying your company vehicle maintenance, MyService.Expert allows you to easily keep track of when your fleet vehicles need testing or servicing and offers access to garages nationwide so you can keep your vehicles on the road. With simplified invoicing and pay-as-you-go, MyService.Expert is a great tool for maintaining your fleet and keeping costs down.
For operators of commercial fleets, going about managing those fleets in the right way is absolutely crucial. That’s because fleet management impacts a business’ profitability, staff, and customer base.
In this guide, we’ll cover off the key aspects of fleet management to help operators stay on top of the best practices used in industry. We’ll specifically touch on subjects including:
Fleet management involves the coordination and organisation of a business’ vehicle portfolio and drivers. This includes not only company-owned cars or vans, but also grey fleet vehicles which are owned by employees but used for work purposes.
Exactly what a fleet management model should look like differs from company to company, and can depend on the number of vehicles managed and the infrastructure and systems in place. However, there are some universal truths to effective fleet management that apply to all businesses at any given stage during their lifecycle.
Some of these key components include:
Monitoring operational cost.
Ensuring vehicle safety and compliance.
Vehicle maintenance and repair.
Employee management and training.
Managing operational efficiency and optimisation.
A good fleet manager should be able to keep a legal and safe operation running, engage and motivate workforce, and do so while making cost savings wherever possible.
The role of the fleet manager
The job of the fleet manager is to oversee both the wider strategic movements and the day-to-day operations of a business’ cars, vans, or trucks. Fleet managers have a wide range of responsibilities and so need to be versatile in their skillsets and able to dabble in everything from accountancy to strong communications and the ability to multitask.
Some of the key responsibilities of a fleet manager role include:
Ensuring operating costs are kept as low as possible is a primary task of the fleet manager. This can include getting a good deal on initial purchases or rentals, as well as keeping ongoing costs down, which could be achieved through improving fuel efficiency or managing the use of services like fuel cards.
Overseeing vehicle maintenance
Keeping your fleet on the road is vital to the success of any business. This means ensuring cars and vans are regularly serviced and checked for any faults. The latest smart technology can alert you to any potential issues before they become a problem, allowing you to plan your schedule and reduce the risk of a breakdown.
Ensuring driver safety
As well as ensuring your fleet is mechanically sound, a good fleet manager should also be keeping an eye on driver behaviour. Tools like telematics systems can keep a full log of their actions, and show you if they were speeding, for instance – or if any harsh inputs have been made on the steering or brakes. This information can enable you step in with training or advice where necessary.
It’s essential that you know where your vehicles are at all times. GPS tracking tools give you a complete picture of your current situation and let you make changes. For instance, it can show you if drivers are taking inefficient routes between jobs and therefore help better plan your operations. What’s more, it can quickly alert you to any unauthorised vehicle use or track down a stolen car.
It’s also up to the fleet management team to ensure their vehicles are road legal and that drivers are meeting their requirements. However, this doesn’t just include keeping MOTs and insurance valid. You should also be tracking any mileage claims for expenses and tax purposes and ensuring drivers aren’t breaching working time rules. This also covers ensuring your drivers are fully licensed for the vehicles they operate. And you’re keeping a record of any issues such as penalty points.
How to improve your fleet management
The most efficient and profitable fleets are likely to be those with the best managers at the helm who can provide structure and processes that are easy to follow, while also ensuring communication with drivers is clear.
Our tips on the key areas in which most fleets could look to upgrade include:
1. Accessing real-time information
The first thing any fleet manager needs in order to work effectively is full visibility of their cars, vans, and drivers. This means having access to real-time data that can show them, at a glance, the location of each vehicle and employee, their current status, and whether they are experiencing any issues.
The most effective way of achieving this is by implementing an effective telematics system. This system connects to a vehicle’s computer and uses a range of sensors to feed data back to a central computer detailing everything a vehicle’s location and speed to driver inputs. Real-time data is also a pre-requisite to many of the solutions we’re about to cover, so if you don’t have it, you could be working with one hand tied behind your back.
2. Implementing GPS tracking
A key part of any real-time information solution will be instant details of your fleet’s locations via GPS. This can be vital if you need to dispatch an employee to a certain destination, as you can see at a glance who is available and best-positioned to respond.
However, it can also be used to help record mileage and hours spent on the road, divert drivers away from areas of congestion and even provide customers with real-time updates on when they can expect your employees to arrive.
3. Improving route planning
GPS tools can also be used in combination with other tech solutions to improve your firms’ route planning. This isn’t just about finding the shortest way from A to B. It should also take into account factors such as expected fuel consumption along the route and the distance to the cheapest filling stations.
For example, if a vehicle is spending a lot of time stuck in traffic with the engine idling, this results in greater fuel consumption and higher costs. With good route planning tools, this can be avoided.
4. Monitoring driver behaviour
Being able to keep an eye on how your employees are driving is also essential. First and foremost, this improves safety. If fleet telematics data shows frequent speeding, or sensors detect harsh control inputs, you can step in to address this. You can even generate league tables that show your best and worst-performing drivers, highlighting who you need to speak to most urgently.
This can also help reduce fuel consumption. By monitoring inputs such as acceleration and braking, you can educate employees to drive more smoothly as well as safely. Indeed, almost half of businesses (49 per cent) using telematics have seen a reduction in speeding incidences and fines, while 55 per cent experienced a drop in fuel usage.
5. Reducing your fuel costs
While better route planning and driver monitoring can help improve your fuel consumption, you should also make sure you’re not paying over the odds at the pump. To do this, it pays to have a suitable fuel card for your usage.
There are a wide range of products to choose from, so it’s important to get this right. It may be the case that the cheapest option isn’t very convenient for your firm. You also need to consider whether you’d benefit from cards with wider motorway networks, for example, and which brands have locations nearest your most common routes.
6. Predictively scheduling maintenance
Breakdowns can be a major headache for fleet managers. Beyond the direct costs associated with fixing vehicle problems, having vehicles off the road unexpectedly also hurts the firm’s productivity. You can avoid this by using the data taken from telematics systems to predictively schedule maintenance. These tools can highlight potential issues and allow you to step in before they turn into serious problems.
7. Automating your expenses
Admin work is often among the most time-consuming parts of a fleet manager’s job. Working out details such as mileage claims, expenses, fuel MPG and other details are essential but tedious activities. But with the right fleet management systems, this doesn’t have to be the case.
Being able to calculate these figures automatically, based on data recorded by the telematics system, doesn’t just free up your time. It also ensures the data is accurate and can highlight any unusual events – such as vehicles doing significantly more miles than expected – for investigation.
8. Setting up security alerts
Spotting and cracking down on unauthorised vehicle usage is also essential. For example, you can set up alerts that let you know if a vehicle is being used outside normal office hours. You can also establish geofencing to warn you if a car from your portfolio travels beyond a certain area.
This isn’t only useful for identifying any employees using company assets for personal use, but it can also help you quickly track down any stolen vehicles – using GPS tracking to guide police precisely.
9. Tackling fuel fraud
Another major concern for many fleet managers is the risk of fuel fraud, such as employees filling personal vehicles using a company fuel card or making claims for miles they haven’t done. Telematics can help spot issues with expenses, while a good fuel card can also help by ensuring vehicle locations match fuel card usage, for example.
10. Managing your vehicle inventory
A good fleet management system can also help keep track of your vehicle inventory. This allows you to better plan ahead for replacements, get alerts when services or MOTs are due, and prepare your finances.
You can also see at a glance details such as the types of fuel used, which will be important to know when selecting a fuel card, and can factor into future buying decisions. For instance, if the majority of your fleet is petrol-powered, you may want to consider phasing out any remaining diesels to simplify your operations.
11. Procuring the right fleet vehicles
It’s crucial that your vehicle portfolio is properly equipped to meet the needs of your business, and there are a lot of considerations you could make around whether to bring new vehicles on board, or upgrade existing cars and vans. A good starting point is to analyse the fuel they’re currently using, and gain visibility over all car running costs.
From there, you can factor in market movements such as the growth of electric vehicles when making judgements on how to go about upgrading your fleet over the coming months and years.
Fleet management software solutions
Many of the efficiencies fleet operators can look to make stem from using the latest and greatest technology in market to automate, track and calculate ways to improve performance.
To recap some of the key pieces of commercial fleet technology we’ve mentioned in this article, the essential software includes:
A thorough telematics system, such as our Tele-Gence service – which can help businesses take control of vehicle management.
Software to help drivers with their daily operations. For example, our My Drivers Club app can help drivers find their nearest fuel pumps with ease.
Having a good technology stack behind a fleet operation can also prove an attractive prospect for new drivers and partners, who may be accustomed to enjoying these benefits when offered by rival businesses.
Why is fleet management important?
In this article, we have covered what fleet management is, an overview of the fleet manager role, and helpful software solutions, but what is likely to be the impact of upgrading your fleet management processes today?
Some real-world benefits you could see within your fleet include:
Improved employee productivity.
A reduction in fuel costs – which could have a significant impact on your bottom line.
Saving time by controlling your fleet online and eliminating administrative tasks.
Reduced mileage claims.
Automated reporting dashboards.
Improved driver safety and security.
If you want to know more about how Fuel Card Services could help you and your business, you can get in contact with our fleet management experts today.