We all know that time is money and that, more often than not, your time could be better spent elsewhere. Often business owners believe it’s just as easy to complete tasks themselves because they know the process and trust their own actions. So how much time is spent running a fleet and what's the actual cost to businesses?
The truth of the matter is that managing commercial vehicles takes an awful lot of time, thought and planning, which business owners simply cannot afford to invest when they have a host of other priorities.
There is a common time management technique whereby you prioritise your tasks by calculating what they’d cost per hour to employ an individual to complete. For example, you could hire a cleaner for £7 per hour, hire someone to debug your computer of viruses for £11 per hour or even pay someone £80 per hour to complete a tender request. It is the tasks that cost the most that should be prioritised. Time-strapped business people should always be asking: “Is this the most profitable use of my time?”
If you apply this principle to simply sourcing a vehicle, you will begin to understand just how much there is to consider and how much time the process takes. Firstly, you have to find a vehicle, which can be a time-intensive task in itself. Where do you begin to look? Your options could be endless and even at this stage there are multiple decisions to make to ensure you get the right vehicle for your business’ requirements. Using our time management technique, you could ask yourself: “Is hunting for bargains at my local van dealership the very best use of my time?”
Once you have your vehicle(s), time needs to be allocated on an ongoing basis to manage it. There is the general day-to-day running to consider and the ongoing responsibility of keeping it serviced, taxed and tested. When you have a large fleet of vehicles, this becomes even more time intensive. You have to consider what happens if your vehicles break down and/or require repairs – where do you go to maintain your vehicle?
Lastly, what do you do if your vehicle is going to be off the road due to breakdown? Where do you go for a replacement, and what do you do if your vehicle needs to be disposed of? As you can see, running a fleet of vehicles (even if it is just the one!) isn’t as simple as it may at seem at first.
By working with someone who can effectively take the tasks out of your hands and free up valuable time, you will find yourself with more hours in the day and see the impact on your bottom line.
Samuel Williams is business manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire.