Company vehicles are common across many industries, from traveling sales to transporting cargo. All those vehicles require proper management and maintenance just like personal vehicles do. Here are six tips for managing company cars.
1. Get Appropriate Auto Insurance
Providing insurance coverage for every company vehicle is a must, but the expense will increase for each vehicle on the company's auto insurance policy. A cheap car insurance policy can be very attractive for companies seeking to keep their car fleet expenses down and there are several ways to vet an insurance provider to ensure its policies aren't cheap for unscrupulous reasons. Look for insurance providers who offer group plans, bundling or other discounts. See if there are safe driving courses available for your company drivers to take and purchase vehicles with up-to-date safety features to bring down potential costs on your end.
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2. Vet Drivers and Set up Training
Vetting potential company vehicle drivers and training them is vital to smooth company fleet operations. You don't want to hire a driver without doing a background check for things like speeding tickets and DUI charges and you shouldn't trust that just because someone has a driver's license, they can drive your company's vehicles safely. For example, if your cars are stick shift, you must either hire people who can drive stick shift or include that in your training program. Make sure potential drivers have clean driving records. If they do, make sure they're given hands on training in both driving your company vehicles and other tasks like deliveries and filing paperwork.
3. Maintain the Vehicles
Vehicles acquire wear and tear over time by the very nature of how they're used. Because of this, you not only need drivers, but mechanics as well. You should monitor any safety recalls for your cars' makes and models and have your mechanics perform routine preventive maintenance to improve your cars' longevity and safety. Just like personal cars, you should also ensure your company vehicles are inspected regularly.
4. Develop a Vehicle Usage Policy
Having a usage policy for your vehicles is essential. Make sure your policy is flexible enough to accommodate different vehicles and different reasons for driving. For example, if your company utilizes both cars and trucks, you should make sure you either employ car drivers and truck drivers or cross train all your drivers. Depending on your company's niche, you may have varying requirements for your drivers, such as delivering packages safely. However, there are several important policies everyone should implement, such as mandatory seatbelt wearing and speed-limit compliance, limits on using vehicles for non-business use and zero tolerance policies for things like driving while intoxicated or while using a cell phone.
5. Establish Incident Reporting Protocols
Make sure there are protocols in place to report and get help for any type of incident, whether it takes place on company property or while a driver is working. Employees authorized to driver company vehicles should know where paperwork is located and where it needs to be submitted, who they should go to if they are involved in an incident and what information to include. This information can include whether the car broke down or crashed, whether anyone is injured and the severity of any damage caused.
6. Monitor Operations
Once you have all of your protocols and policies established and in place, you will need to make sure the operations of the company cars are monitored consistently. There should be fleet managers handling paperwork for things like training, onboarding and incident reports, observing drivers and managing schedules. There are also tools you can utilize to monitor operations outside company property, such as GPS tracking devices and video connections so managers can monitor performance remotely.
Managing company cars can be more complicated than owning a personal vehicle simply because you're likely dealing with multiple vehicles with different needs, as well as multiple drivers, all at the same time. Developing solid management policies can make this process run much more smoothly.