by: Karen Bradley
When we think of fleet tracking, we often think about large businesses and enterprise-level companies with hundreds or even thousands of vehicles on the road. But fleet tracking makes sense for small businesses as well, from construction companies to smaller delivery services, landscaping, and pest control companies, and virtually any company even if you only have a few vehicles.
The reason is simple. If your company is paying for the upkeep, insurance, maintenance, and other vehicle costs, you should know where that vehicle is at all times, how it is being used, and when your vehicle needs maintenance and upkeep.
Let’s look at the benefits:
Regardless of how many vehicles you have, you need to know where they are at all times, and GPS tracking lets you do just that. Even if you have just one vehicle or a few drivers, you’ll know both your vehicle and your employee are safe.
In the unlikely event that a vehicle is stolen, you can track it, report that information in real-time to authorities, and vastly increase your chances of recovering the vehicle, undamaged. Real-time location tracking is an essential part of even small fleet management.
Allowing employees to take their company vehicles home can be a great perk, and is often tempting when you have a small fleet and less space to store company vehicles. However, it comes with some drawbacks. If you allow an employee to take a vehicle home at night, you need to ensure that it is not being used for things other than company business and that your employees have a secure place to park the company vehicle.
The best policy is to secure vehicles at your offices overnight, but for some smaller companies and fleets, this is not practical. Knowing how and where your vehicles are being used prevents liability for accidents after hours and encourages employees to be responsible. But it also protects your assets. Large fleet owners often have spare vehicles in case there is an issue with one, but small businesses do not often have this luxury so reducing misuse and liability is even more important to your bottom line.
As a small fleet owner, it is important that your drivers are operating safely. Your business reputation is on the line, and accidents, tickets, and other safety issues can increase insurance rates and quickly make them one of your largest costs. Employees who know their driving is being monitored remotely are generally more cautious in the first place.
But if your driver does have bad habits, you can coach them in ways they can improve before it becomes an issue It also enables you to put systems and policies in place that will serve your business well as your fleet grows. You are setting a foundation now, while your fleet is small and more easily manageable by having a fleet tracking system and plan already in place.
What is one of the greatest fuel wasters of all? Time spent idling. Even for small fleets, GPS tracking helps you monitor idle time, educate drivers, and reduce fuel costs overall. As a small business, every cost reduction can make a huge difference to your bottom line. Location tracking can be a big contributor to those savings.
Want to ensure that your vehicle gets the maintenance it needs when it needs it? GPS tracking enables you to track mileage accurately, engine hours, and to schedule maintenance when it will have the lowest impact on your business.
This goes for small equipment as well. Everything from construction equipment and machinery to trailers and landscape equipment can be set up so you receive maintenance alerts. You can monitor motored and non-motorized equipment to ensure routine upkeep is not neglected. This can save you money in the long run on repairs and even equipment replacement.
Even small construction and landscaping businesses can ensure proper maintenance by tracking more than just vehicles, but other equipment as well.
For a small business, optimized routes mean that drivers are not only not idling unnecessarily, but that they are using their time and fuel efficiency as well. Often you can limit the number of vehicles you put on the road and the number of drivers you hire simply through route optimization.
Vehicle tracking enables you to look more closely at routing, idle time, and waiting periods, and more and optimize them. If a vehicle is being underused, you can increase a driver’s workload, and may even be able to have fewer vehicles on the road at any given time.
Small business vehicle tracking can make a big difference to your bottom line.
All of the things we’ve listed so far relate to one key factor: GPS tracking helps you reduce your liability, something that as mentioned, can save you money on insurance too. How do we apply what we have talked about so far?
First, fleet tracking and knowing your vehicle locations in real-time can reveal exactly what happened in the case of an accident and helps you prove whether or not your driver was at fault. Insurance companies often offer discounts to small businesses that use vehicle tracking.
Second, you can use GPS tracking to set up scorecards for your drivers, even if you only have a few of them. This enables you to rank them according to safety factors. You can see behaviors at a glance like harsh braking, rapid acceleration, hard cornering, and speeding. All these not only put your company at risk for accidents, but also tickets and potential insurance hikes. Having this system in place now helps you with scaling your fleet in the future, even if you only have one or two drivers now.
Third, electronic driver logs can help you ensure you are not only in compliance with DOT and other regulations but that your drivers are getting the rest and downtime they need. This makes them, and those on the road around them, safer. This is easy to apply to small hotshot trucking operations, construction companies that operate equipment requiring a CDL, and more. No matter what the size of your company, electronic driver logs will benefit you.
Finally, fleet tracking helps you protect your company’s reputation. From having a well-maintained fleet to drivers who behave politely and appropriately while operating your vehicles, your company reputation rides on the side of your vehicles every single day. As a small business, the first impression you make will be a lasting one, and the success of your company can depend on the early perception other drivers on the road have of your company, and the impression you give your customers.
Whether you have one vehicle or hundreds of them in your fleet, you should know where each vehicle and driver are at all times on and off the clock. Your bottom line, your company reputation, and even your business itself may depend on it. Have questions? Contact EcoTrack Fleet Management for more information about the solution that is right for you no matter what size company you have.