What is Fleet Management?
If you’re struggling with inefficient vehicle routes and high fuel costs, or you can’t account for your driver’s time, fleet management might be the answer to your problems.
Fleet management isn’t just for large-scale couriers with hundreds of trucks to monitor.
More and more field service businesses in plumbing, HVAC, landscaping, lawn care, and cleaning are turning to GPS fleet tracking to help them make the most of their scheduling, respond faster to jobs, and understand driver behavior.
Whether you have two crews or ten, modern fleet management can help.
Read on to learn what fleet management is, whether it will work for your business, and how you too can benefit.
What is fleet management?
Fleet management, or fleet tracking, uses GPS vehicle trackers to monitor commercial vehicle activity throughout the day. Fleet management systems track vehicle location, driver behavior, fuel levels, and vehicle maintenance alerts. They can also be used to track heavy equipment or large assets such as water tanks, skid steer loaders or containers.
Fleet tracking is usually done in real-time using an asset or vehicle GPS tracking device to reduce fuel costs, help carve out more efficient vehicle routes, and improve customer service.
Most field service businesses use fleet management software, which provides both the physical trackers and an online platform. The platform makes it easy to view and analyze data, from individual vehicle status to fleet-wide trends and reports.
READ MORE: What is a virtual assistant and how can they help your business?
Which industries use fleet management?
Some of the most common field service industries to use fleet management are:
- Lawn Care
- Roofers and Chimney Cleaners
- Residential Cleaners
That being said, if you rely on two or more company vehicles to complete jobs and you want to get better at efficient scheduling, reducing fuel costs, or tracking employee time, then fleet management can help.
What are the benefits of fleet management?
Here are five of the biggest benefits of fleet tracking for field service businesses:
1. Reduced fuel costs
Reducing fuel cost is the most immediate benefit of fleet tracking systems.
More idle time, higher vehicle speeds, and inefficient routes all contribute to higher fuel usage and costs.
Tracking software lets you monitor these variables so you can take action to reduce idle time, lower driver speeds, and carve out more efficient vehicle routes. For example, the software lets you view data for a custom time period to identify longer routes and find shorter, more efficient ones.
You can even pinpoint how long a technician spends at a specific point on the map and whether they turn their vehicles off while they’re stationary.
You’d be surprised at how much you can save – but you won’t know until you start tracking.
2. Improved customer service
Fleet tracking also helps you improve your customer service. Here are a few examples:
- Be proactive when issues come up: Let’s say you’re a landscaper. You can use tracking software to set a virtual perimeter (geo-fence) around a customer address to view when your crew arrives, when they leave, and how much time they spend there. If you see that your crew is taking longer than planned, you can find out why and then proactively discuss this with the customer. They’ll be impressed by how on the ball you are.
- Give customers peace of mind: If a customer isn’t home during a service and wants to know when your crew arrived, you can instantly pull up their geo-fence and show them exactly when the vehicle arrived and how long it was on site.
- Respond to urgent calls faster: Fleet management lets you improve dispatching and respond to customer requests, fast. For example, let’s say your plumbing technician has just completed a job and that another client calls needing immediate assistance. You can quickly view the map in your tracking software, find the nearest available technician, and dispatch him or her. You can even give the client an estimate of how long they will take to get there.
3. A more profitable field service business
As you know, your profits are your revenue minus your expenses. By lowering your fuel costs (an expense) and improving your customer service (which leads to more customers and revenue), you can make more money.
Fleet tracking also helps you become profitable in other ways.
First, fleet tracking lets you choose the best vehicle routes to get to your clients, so your technicians can handle more service calls during the day. Second, you can identify any unauthorized vehicle usage and overtime fraud, which can quickly erode profits.
4. Curb unsafe driving habits
Unsafe driving habits not only put your technicians at risk, but they can also cost you money. If you lose a vehicle to an accident, you also lose business for every minute the vehicle is not on the road.
Fleet management software reduces unsafe driving. Live tracking lets you know what your driver is up to in real-time: the routes they’re taking and how fast they’re driving.
The software allows you to pull daily driver reports and ‘safety scorecards’. These show you the top speed of each vehicle and if any alerts were triggered, such as speeding, harsh braking, and rapid acceleration.
You can then use all this information to reform driver behavior for the better and, if you choose, incentivize safe driving behavior with a reward.
5. At-a-glance and customizable reporting
Whether you want to see where an individual vehicle was during a specific time frame, or get a comprehensive overview of your entire fleet’s performance, fleet management software lets you get the information you’re looking for.
Set your own geo-fences, color code vehicles and create custom alerts to fit your business.
Try fleet management for your business
Field service businesses who rely on multiple vehicles depend on it to reduce fuel costs, keep their teams safe, improve customer service, and drive profits.
Do you rely on multiple vehicles to run your service business? Manage your fleet with Jobber and FleetSharp.