With spring right around the corner, landscaping companies will soon be ramping up to meet blossoming demands. It’s go time! And whether you’re waiting for the snow to clear or you’re in a warmer location with year-round landscaping demands, you need to be on top of your equipment requirements heading into the upcoming, extra-busy season. Fleet expenses are a major part of most landscaping companies’ overall budgets and can fluctuate, depending on usage and maintenance. Your fleet is your lifeblood – reliable and well-maintained equipment gets your crews to the jobsites and makes them faster, more efficient, and more profitable.
Here are a few things to consider when planning for this spring and summer to help manage your fleet.
1. Lifecycle costs
Especially during the busy spring and summer months, it’s important to make the time to keep your vehicles serviced and up to date. Helpful tools that can assist in tracking and coordinating maintenance and repairs are inventory databases and pre-job and post-job inspection checklists.
Your inventory database should include key information about warranties, mileage, wear and tear evaluation score, and the value of each vehicle versus maintenance/repair costs – or, Total Cost of Ownership. Knowing the right time to replace vehicles can help you avoid excessive repairs and breakdowns and decreased fuel economy.
2. New vs. Used
When managing your landscaping fleet, it may be tempting to buy used trucks and vehicles. But keeping in mind that reliability is the cornerstone of your business, you have to make sure the benefits outweigh the risks. Are you really going to save money in the end if a truck needs some surprise repairs before arriving at a job site? Using vehicles beyond their optimal lifespan can potentially have costly consequences.
Also, the tracking functionality that is available in newer trucks makes it easy to accurately account for the wear and tear on your fleet vehicles.
3. Consider GPS tracking
When you own a vehicle-based business, being able to detect the whereabouts of your vehicles can alleviate a lot of guesswork.
By using a GPS tracking system on your vehicles, you can significantly reduce a variety of risks and variables such as driver safety and theft, which in turn can drastically reduce insurance costs as well. There are systems that can alert you to drivers, who are speeding or even disable your drivers’ mobile devices. Also, being able to track where your crews are and what routes they are taking can improve your dispatch’s efficiency and reduce fuel costs.
4. Think green
Wouldn’t your landscaping company gain a competitive advantage if you could boast greener and more environmentally friendly equipment and vehicles? Consider using hybrid or electric vehicles in your fleet, along with energy-efficient equipment. After all, you are in the business of keeping things green and clean.
5. Partner up
Getting the most out of your landscaping fleet is a lot of work – it can feel overwhelming to some. If that’s the case, seriously consider partnering up with a full-service fleet management company that can help you manage everything, from vehicle acquisition to scheduling maintenance to reducing your overall costs. The more you stay on top of preventative maintenance, the more you reduce unnecessary expenses for your landscaping fleet. A fleet management partner can also take care of your vehicle registration renewals, something that can be costly with fees and fines if you fall behind.