Essential Fleet Management Advice For A Small Business
Running a small business can be tough, where there are many financial, bureaucratic and organisational aspects to consider on a daily basis. Whether you’re running a commercial plumbing company or a landscaping business, you will be looking to bolster profitability whilst giving your customers the best possible service.
Investing in a van fleet can be an important tool to help you meet these goals, where access to multiple vehicles can help you to expand your customer base and employ a bigger team. Doing your research on fleet management before taking this step is essential for success – read on for a look at our top insights into taking care of your fleet.
One of your primary concerns when it comes to investing in a fleet of vans as a small business is how to fund this kind of expansion. Fortunately, there are lots of financing options on offer to help you to take this step in accordance with your company budget.
If you’re looking for flexibility as you scale your business, you may wish to consider vehicle leasing options, where this will allow you to secure a fleet of vehicles without making a large upfront payment. Leasing means you can pay a monthly cost for your vans on a medium length contract, after which you can then trade in or upgrade your vehicles according to your business needs.
Alternatively, you may wish to make an outright payment to secure your fleet as a permanent asset for your business. You may be able to receive a business loan to support you in this purchase, where part exchange deals and multi vehicle discounts may also apply depending on the finance options offered by your van supplier.
Fleet Management Tools
As a small business, it is essential that you are streamlining all aspects of your operations to avoid unnecessary costs. When it comes to your van fleet, you can achieve this with the use of up to date fleet management tools and software.
There are a range of fleet management tools available today to suit your individual business requirements. You can monitor the movements of your vehicles from a centralised hub, where you can assess fuel consumption, optimise everyday routes and communicate with your team.
When operating a fleet of vans, you need to make sure that you comply with all the current rules and regulations for this kind of transportation. In particular, you will need a goods vehicle operator licence that is suited to your business requirements.
A standard national licence will allow you to transport your own goods in the UK and internationally, and other people’s goods only in the UK. A standard international licence allows you to carry both your own and other people’s goods worldwide.
If you are operating vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, you will also need to appoint a dedicated transport manager to oversee this aspect of your business, where this person will be responsible for following the various legal and safety requirements involved with large fleet transportation.
Tax & MOTs
It is essential that you are paying the correct amount of tax on your fleet vehicles, where this will vary depending on whether you are self-employed or if you’re using your vans for both business and personal use.
MOT requirements also differ for vans compared to a standard car. Vehicles with a gross weight of up to 3500kg need an MOT every year once they have surpassed three years of age. For heavier vehicles weighing above 3500kg, you will need to arrange a goods vehicle annual test every year, with the first test scheduled for 12 months after your vehicle is registered with the DVLA.
In addition to the above compliance requirements, you should also be carrying out regular fleet checks to ensure your vehicles are safe and that your operations are as efficient as possible. As a small business, your fleet may only consist of a handful of vehicles, but it is still important to make sure that everything is running smoothly and safely at all times:
One of the most important aspects of fleet management is ensuring that all your vehicles are safe to operate. You should carry out daily inspections of your vans, keeping records of any defects or required repairs. Keeping up with MOT and servicing requirements can also help you to keep your fleet and your drivers safe.
Keeping your vehicles clean is also important for promoting a professional brand identity for your business. Washing your vans yourself or using a local car wash service can help to prolong the life of your fleet whilst ensuring that your van signage is always visible to passers by.
When running a small business, it is essential that you stay on top of your record keeping, particularly when it comes to your van fleet. Keep copies of your MOT, servicing and tax records to help you to stay up to date with your compliance requirements. It is also important to retain financial documents, including vehicle lease agreements, for the required window of time, usually around six years.
Whether you’re employing one or two drivers or a large cohort, it is vital that you carry out the appropriate checks. Cross referencing driver IDs with a valid driving licence is essential, where you should also make sure that each driver is experienced in handling the size of vehicle that your business is currently operating.
You may also wish to carry out industry specific training for your team to ensure that everyone is confident to unload equipment and handle the specific model of van that your business is operating. Keeping a record of the level of training undertaken and any minor accidents experienced out on the road can help you to make appropriate adjustments and to manage risks.
Signage & Accessories
Once you have decided on the number and type of vans you require for your fleet, you will then need to consider your signage requirements. Appropriate fleet branding can act as an effective form of passive advertising, where vans featuring a company name, logo and contact information can help to attract business whilst your team is out on the road. Make sure your vans match the company colours and branding used on your website and in your headquarters to create a sense of cohesion and professionalism.
You may also require a range of vehicle accessories to help you to meet your various transportation requirements. Fitting a roof rack or interior shelving can make loading easier and ensure that goods remain secure whilst you’re on the move. Some vans will feature an inbuilt loading ramp or wide opening rear doors to further assist you in your daily activities, whilst other models will need to be customised to make them more practical.
Vanaways: New Van Deals For Your Small Business
At Vanaways, we’re here to support you in your van fleet investment, where we can offer expert advice on fleet management, financing and compliance. Our current vehicle range includes the very best new vans that the market has to offer, including:
The Renault E-Kangoo – One of the best small electric vans on the market right now, this vehicle can help to save you money on fuel whilst boosting your company’s sustainable image.
The Volkswagen E-Caddy – This model is currently one of our more budget friendly new electric vans, for a combination of affordability and sustainability.
The Fiat Ducato – This vehicle is renowned in the van industry for its unbeatable and up to date safety features, designed to protect drivers during both short and long journeys.
The Mercedes-Benz Citan – Opt for this vehicle if you’re looking for an economical choice, where this van is celebrated as being one of the most fuel efficient small vans measured by mpg.
The Vauxhall Combo – Choose the Cargo edition of this vehicle to enjoy an impressive small van payload, with the ability to transport up to 1002 kg of goods.
Explore our current range of new and electric today, or get in touch with one of our van specialists to find out more about how we can help your business.