A paradox of our times: while businesses are boosted by technological advancement, they’re hindered by a calcified global economy. It’s a matter of enjoying freedom of action without the freedom to receive great rewards for these actions. That’s why problem solving is so paramount to entrepreneurs. This post will examine solutions for businesses requiring fleets of cars and trucks.
For the Mobile Entrepreneur: 3 Commercial Fleet Solutions
If your business concept requires you to operate a fleet of vehicles, it’s difficult–but crucial–to manage these cars and ensure that they contribute to the bottom line. A high-overhead and labor-intensive issue like transportation can be a nemesis that ultimately drags a business down. One problem-solving solution is the fleet management system. There are many of these from which to choose. Consider the following:
Grey Fleet Management
The term “grey fleet” isn’t nearly as sinister as it sounds. It simply refers to having your employees use their personal vehicles for travel. If the travel for your enterprise is sporadic and of moderate distance, this is the solution for you–no fuss, no big deal, just have people drive when and where they need to.
The cost-effective nature of this approach is self-evident. It also relieves you of responsibility for the most part. You just assume a general moral responsibility to the rest of the public to make sure that your employees are fairly intelligent drivers, and that their cars are insured. Keeping up with your areas laws pertaining to an accident that should happen on company business is crucial.
The catch with grey fleet, of course, is that it doesn’t extend to businesses with heavy travel. If your venture involves frequent highway trips, you’ll have to go the route of some variety of business leasing solution. Many companies have leasing programs or are devoted expressly to leasing fleets for business purposes. This option allows you to not have to reimburse for gas or other travel expenses, and will increase morale because your employees won’t have the wear and tear on their own vehicles. You’ll be, of course, trading in vehicles frequently, so you’ll know your charges are out on the road in safe, relatively new cars.
This option beats buying cars outright because it entails
- better cash flow, with less up-front spending
- lower taxes
- less maintenance hassles
If you’re not able to get into a good flexible leasing plan for businesses, you may go the route of renting vehicles as needed. This allows you to, you can secure high-quality, nice-looking cars without the burden of permanent fleet management or leasing arrangements. However, renting cars ad-hoc can entail hidden costs and may not be completely efficient.
The Bottom Line
For the purposes of this article, we probably don’t need to go into advanced and complex issues such as fleet-management software, which is essentially the sort of dispatch system we expect in a taxi company or police department. This leaves us with the options above.
I’d give one caveat–don’t make the mistake of stubbornly holding out, hoping that you just don’t need a solution. It’s natural for skittish entrepreneurs to hope against hope that the grey fleet solution with work, but relying heavily on it when your level of travel just won’t allow for it will ultimately take you to the brink. Plan ahead and come up with a solution that is practical and realistic.