Fuel is more than likely the biggest monthly expense for your fleet. And when not managed carefully, this line item in the budget can really eat into the success of a company. How can you keep fuel in check without burying yourself knee deep in spreadsheets and receipts? Let us show you how with these simple keys to success:
Set Clear Expectations for Your Drivers
Before we get to some of the controls that you can implement at your company, it is worth emphasizing that the foundation of a well-run fleet is a standard of expectation. If your drivers have nothing to base their performance on and no goals to target, then your fuel expenses are at their complete discretion. With fuel costs making up so much of your vehicle-related expenses, you would be remiss in not placing a high priority on responsible fuel management. Benchmark fuel economy/use numbers and let your drivers know what is expected of them.
Monitor Expenses in a Fleet Management System
Surprise, a fleet management software company suggests that you use such a product. As we have discussed before, it is a bad idea to set goals and expectations without any way to monitor progress. A fleet management system, especially one that is easy to access and use, is your best bet for tracking fuel and all other expenses. Instead of sorting through receipts and spreadsheets, you can let an intelligent software link up with fuel cards and calculate MPG and Cost/Mile automatically. Reporting is much easier as well.
Utilize Fuel Cards
Why fuel cards? Unlike purchasing cards or allowing personal expensing, these are specifically focused on fleet-related expenses. You can restrict use to the pump, the convenience store, or a maintenance shop. There is also built-in logic to capture driver information and mileage when filling up, which is essential to calculating performance. The more information that you have the better, both in terms of reporting and preventing theft. Fuel cards also usually provide savings on bulk purchasing, so you could actually pay less per gallon than the advertised price. That can really add up over a large fleet.
Regulate Vehicle Use
We have talked with some of our customers about the struggles of managing where and when their vehicles are used. Some allow employees to take their company car or truck home on the weekends, but monitoring this is tricky. You may have to implement GPS tracking, if you haven’t already, to ensure that vehicles are only being used for appropriate purposes during the workday. You can setup alerts to notify you accordingly.
Miles that don’t help your business could killing your bottom line. This might be a perk of working at your company, but even when denoted as personal miles, the cost combined with the wear and tear on your vehicles could have you considering other perks instead. Either way, setting standards and monitoring usage is must.
Look at Alternative Fuels
On the Fleetio Blog, we have discussed alternative fuels on several occasions. Switching to natural gas, diesel, or electric vehicles (EVs) certainly is not viable for everyone, but depending on your location and regional legislation there could be potential in considering other options. As we have seen, industries and companies with more predictable routes (municipal, waste management, local delivery, etc.) are well suited for alternative fuels, but adoption has certainly spread beyond this group. Either way, it is worth a look.