If you choose to outsource maintenance, a fleet maintenance service provider is crucial for maintaining a healthy, well functioning fleet and keeping your assets safe and on the road.
Asset downtime can be up to eight times more expensive than fleet owners expect with an average cost of $760 per vehicle per day, so it’s important to minimize it as much as possible.
Ideally, you will be in business with your maintenance service provider for years down the line, so it is important to make sure it is the right fit.
There are a lot of providers to choose from—over 230,000 in the U.S. alone. But we can help you navigate the process. As you search for a provider, there are a number of factors to consider to help narrow down your options.
Hours of Operation
Determine when you prefer to bring assets into the shop and if the service provider is operating at that time.
Choose a provider that is easily accessible for your team and located where your fleet operates. If you operate in multiple states, consider a regional or national provider.
Additionally, keep in mind how your drivers operate. If drivers take their vehicles home every night, then try to choose a provider with many locations in key areas.
Look at this decision as forming a long-term relationship. Ideally you will work with this maintenance provider for years down the line, so do not just focus on the present in your decision. Consider whether the future goals of the provider align with the goals of your business.
Price and Speed
Make sure to ask how much the shop charges for routine maintenance services and other service tasks your assets frequently require. Then, consider how that fits within your fleet budget.
While it’s tempting to choose the provider with the lowest rates, don’t make this mistake. One factor that is arguably more important to your business in the long run is speed.
One provider may charge $50 for the service but take a day to complete it. Another provider may charge $200 but get the vehicle back to you in an hour. In the end, which provider is actually more costly? Likely the one that keeps a vehicle out of operation for an entire day.
A maintenance service provider should provide quality work and do so consistently. Often times, this comes down to whether the shop has a standardized process for maintaining vehicles. If not, the quality, cost and time to complete a service task may vary from one visit to the next.
Your fleet likely has specialized assets like heavy-duty vehicles that you will want your service provider to have experience with. Verify that the maintenance provider can handle the scope of services you need.
The bottom line is when you have an out-of-service asset, it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. It’s important to have an open line of communication with your maintenance provider.
Establish a point of contact at the shop so you have a direct line to someone you can ask questions throughout the day. As you form a relationship, this person will learn your communication habits and fleet makeup.
It’s important to keep in mind that selecting a fleet maintenance service provider is a process. You are committing to doing business with someone who has a major impact on your operations. If your fleet is not running, your business is not running.