FLEET maintenance – it’s a headache for SMEs running a small fleet of vehicles.
Maintenance management is not only be time-consuming, it can also be difficult to budget for and as a result, can have an unexpected negative effect on cash-flow.
Many businesses have already turned to contract hire as their chosen form of funding, and if you want to fix motoring costs, maintenance contracts are becoming increasingly popular.
For many leasing companies, maintenance contracts account for around a third of their net profit over the term of the agreement.
Due to their bulk-buy discounts, it can often seem that the customer is getting a good deal but could you manage vehicle maintenance requirements in-house and actually reduce costs.
Maintenance factors to consider
- Budgeting effectively demands knowledge of the service, maintenance and repair requirements of the vehicle over the lifecycle. You often seen this referred to as SMR. Once the SMR has been calculated, an estimated budget can be set aside and used as a maintenance pool, or costs could just be paid for as and when required.
- Evaluate and book reputable service and repair agents – not all offer the same quality of service or hourly rate; lease companies have established networks of trusted suppliers with reduced rates for their maintained fleet.
- It is highly unlikely that any SME small fleet will be able to negotiate the same sort of discounts that leasing companies can negotiate. Remember also that funders will make sure that all companies who have contracts with them are more than capable of carrying out the maintenance work professionally.
- Unless you are in a position to employ a fleet manager who has experience, you could face being “ripped off” by repair agents as there will be no in-house knowledge of repair validation or authorisation checking. And let’s face it, most SME company cars are managed by the MD or FD – not a full time professional.
- Getting goodwill for out-of-warranty repairs can deliver large savings as vehicles reach their age or mileage thresholds; it is not usual practice for manufacturers to volunteer discounts to replacement parts or labour without some pressure from an expert in this field.
- Tyres account for up to 50% of a maintenance budget so it is imperative that a good relationship with the tyre manufacturers and also reliable fitting agents is established.
Discounts are available to SMEs who manage their own vehicles, through an expert authorisations team supported by a UK network of dealers and agents.
Such companies are experts in helping companies manage their own fleet maintenance requirements. It’s worth consideration before you either try to do it yourself or buy into a maintenance package to support your company car fleet.
Small fleet maintenance – what are your options
- Pay as you go DIY maintenance
- Buy a maintenance package to run alongside your contract hire agreement
- Managed maintenance via outsourced experts