When your drivers take fleet vehicles into the shop, you want to ensure your maintenance service providers are addressing critical maintenance tasks and nothing unnecessary, resulting in an unexpected bill.
We surveyed some of our customers to learn how they handle maintenance authorization with their service providers. We asked:
- At what price do you require service providers to obtain your approval before completing maintenance tasks?
- Have you received an unexpected bill after getting a vehicle back from the shop?
Based on responses, there is a range of maintenance approval thresholds for fleets.
Most fleets seem to fall primarily into two camps: 1) establishing an approval threshold for repairs of $100 or more or 2) leaving it up to the shop’s discretion until reaching repairs of $1,000 or more.
Some fleets, of course, fall in the middle, requesting approval for repairs greater than $500 or $800 for example.
When asked about times a maintenance provider has completed a repair without approval, fleets were far too familiar with this situation.
Joshua Willis of Oregon Driver Education Center said there have been several times where they sent a vehicle to their service provider for a $70 oil change and got slapped with a $275 bill afterward.
Mark Everhart of Wright Service Corp has experienced this as well saying thankfully this event is “less frequent today, but still happens” for his fleet.
With strict fleet budgets to adhere to, this is clearly not ideal. So how do you avoid these situations? Make your maintenance processes, including approvals, electronic.
With a digitized maintenance process, service information is at the fleet’s fingertips. Instead of fielding calls from maintenance service providers or playing phone tag, fleet managers can set automatic approvals for maintenance tasks below a certain dollar amount or manage maintenance approvals on a mobile device, accepting or rejecting repairs with the touch of a button.
This allows fleets to respond in real-time and prevents maintenance shops from completing a repair without a fleet’s go-ahead. Fleets can avoid getting that surprise labor charge for installing windshield wiper blades or other miscellaneous tasks.
Fleet managers can also quickly reference their digital service history to avoid repeated repairs or being overcharged. No more unexpectedly high bills at the end of the month!