If you’re managing a delivery fleet, you’re responsible for a lot of things. You have to get jobs completed on time, scout new drivers, and make sure everything stays safe and DOT/FMCSA compliant. You also have to be able to make a dollar stretch. When combing the books each quarter to see where you could be saving your fleet money, you might have noticed a few different snags. First, why do gas costs vary so much from job to job? Secondly, how can you save on maintenance and repair while getting your trucks back on the road quickly? And finally, how can you implement fleet-wide policies that will help make savings second nature to drivers and managers alike? Even if you’re already working on making the switch to green energy or looking into getting a WatchCard commercial fuel credit card, here are a few extra ways to save big each quarter.
1. Know Your Specs
Each car in your fleet comes with specifications that need to be checked frequently, if not after every ride. When checking specs for your vehicles, you’re used to making sure everything is in working order and compliant with FMCSA laws. But are you checking for parts that could be swapped out for lighter, more aerodynamic pieces? If not, you’re potentially wasting money on old, clunky machinery that’s weighing your cars down. Even if you reduce air resistance on your vehicles by just 10 percent with every switch, you’ll be increasing each car’s MPG by 5 percent, which will translate to massive gas savings.
2. Streamline Maintenance
When it comes to keeping your cars in shape, putting money into prevention will save you a lot more money than having to shell out for repairs. Your maintenance checks shouldn’t just be about getting your cars back on the road quickly. Each check should be aimed at finding ways to optimize fuel usage and create easier, intuitive ways for drivers to avoid sticky situations on the road. For instance: Don’t wait until the last possible minute to replace a part or swap out low fluid levels. Even if a car can get back on the road in its current state doesn’t mean that it’s actually saving you money by skipping a proper maintenance check. Taking the best possible care of each car may take a bit more time, but it will save you downtime in the long run by preventing larger accidents and issues.
3. Stop Guzzling Gas
Spending unnecessary money on gas is every fleet manager’s worst nightmare. Luckily, there are tons of ways for you and your drivers to stay gas-conscious on the road. Purchasing fleet fuel cards will help you stay on top of changing gas prices from state to state while putting a fast lock on slippage by making sure drivers never overspend. Fuel cards can allow fleets to save thousands over the course of the year while ensuring that no driver has to find themselves at the mercy of a spike in gas costs.
4. Modify Driver Behavior
Keeping your drivers safe and consistent on the road might not seem like an obvious road to savings, but make no mistake: It can impact your monthly and yearly spending by a lot. If your drivers are revving up the engine and bombing down the road at a speed that’s bound to cut into fuel efficiency, they’re not performing at their best, and they’re going to end up costing you money. The same goes for unchecked idling and inefficient GPS systems. While your drivers need to arrive at jobs on time, they also need to remember that speed isn’t the key to doing a job professionally or right. Taking the time to teach your drivers about best practices before they sign on is always a great way to create consistency in your company and show drivers exactly what’s expected of them.
5. Keep It Clean
Keeping your cars clean isn’t about a buff job or an interior vacuum. If you don’t work hard on keeping your engine, tires, and parts clean, you could be looking at unnecessary maintenance over time. To avoid prematurely fraying belts, burn spots, and spilled fluid in the hood, always make cleaning part of your maintenance process.
6. Test Those Tires
Finally, over-inflating or under-inflating your tires is a great way to cut down their lifespan and make your vehicle drag on the road. Don’t ignore each vehicle’s tires and wait until the dashboard light goes on. Make sure every driver has a pressure gauge on the road, and make sure they can check alignment and balance in a pinch.