How to Choose a Provider for Fleet Maintenance

Regular maintenance is vital for any fleet. Without it, vehicles would give endless troubles and you could end up with an entire fleet in for vehicle repairs. Not to mention the exorbitant costs, not only from fixing them, but from the business you’d lose while they’re out of action. That’s why trucking companies focus on an efficient fleet maintenance program that includes a maintenance partner they can trust.

 

It’s fair to say that choosing a maintenance partner is one of the most important decisions fleet managers need to make. Let’s explore what you might want to look out for in a maintenance partner, so you have a long, fruitful, and incident-free relationship.

Level of Expertise

The first thing you want to know is: can your fleet maintenance provider do a good job and apply the proper care in the execution of tasks assigned to them? If you have specialised vehicles, like heavy-duty vehicles, you need technicians that know what they’re doing and that get the details right reliably. The expertise of the provider is also linked to implementing a preventive maintenance schedule so that there are few, if any, nasty surprises when it comes to your vehicles’ condition.

Workshop Insurance

You never know what might happen at a workshop while your vehicle is there, like a fire or flood. You can ask your potential providers if they have insurance on their premises and the vehicles they service. This can be quite pricey for workshops, so not all of them may have it. But it is important to avoid any potential issues related to such unforeseen events.

Location

For effective fleet management, you don’t want a workshop that’s far from your vehicle yard. It’s great to be able to quickly take the vehicle and pick it up. Just like your fleet, some service providers may have workshops all over the country.

 

It’s a great idea to align yourself with one that has operations close to where all of your own locations are. You don’t want to rack up an enormous bill in fuel costs, coming and going for fleet maintenance. Bonus points for the service provider if they’ll offer to pick up and drop off the vehicles for you, which would result in significant cost savings for you.

Price

Worried about costly repairs depleting your budget? Maintenance costs can be high, even when a preventative maintenance programme is in place. That’s why it is important to compare the pricing of a few different workshops to see which comes in at the most affordable.


But you don’t necessarily have to go with the cheapest one. As you can probably already tell, there are loads of other factors to consider when choosing a maintenance partner. The costs of repairs are only one ingredient in the soup.

Open Hours

Some service providers have a night-time crew that will work on your vehicles out of ordinary hours so that the maintenance comes at as little operational expense and interruptions as possible. This can reduce your vehicle downtime and save you money, especially for unplanned downtimes.

Speed

It’s a good idea to look at the service level agreement of the provider to determine how quickly their turnaround time is, and if they can prioritise your vehicles. A provider that does slow work can do more damage to your budget than higher repair costs can.

If you think of the operational cost of having a vehicle in for a service or routine maintenance, it can amount to more than a more expensive service provider. So, again, it’s critical to be careful not to emphasise costs above everything else. Service delivery is vital, as are detailed records.

Understand Your System

You’ll likely have some kind of fleet management software, like a telematics solution. Try to find a provider that can take the data you give them about your vehicles and their maintenance needs and understand it. They need to be able to know that this vehicle needs a new battery because the system shows the voltage is low, or that vehicle needs new tyres because the tread is wearing thin. Their competency with diagnostic tools and telematics systems can play a pivotal role.

 

Scaling

As your operations continue to grow, so should your workshop be able to scale up with you. As your business expands, it might be a good time to rethink your service provider if they can’t keep up with your growing fleet. Can they keep up with your fleet maintenance tasks on a growing scale? It’s a good idea to find a provider who can.

 

Good Communication

An often-overlooked factor, but having open lines of communication between you and your maintenance provider can make managing your fleet so much easier. It can also save costs in that miscommunications are kept to a minimum, so no unnecessary work is conducted on a vehicle, or no needed repairs are missed. Similarly, if you’re sticking to your service schedules, your external workshop should know roughly when to expect a vehicle to come in for routine maintenance and plan around this.

 

Warranties

What kind of warranty does the vehicle maintenance provider offer? Do they stand by their work, or do they not offer any kind of guarantee? It’s important to partner with a business that you can trust, and you can’t rely on one that doesn’t offer some kind of warranty on their maintenance and repairs.

 

Inventory of Parts

If your fleet consists of specialised vehicles such as heavy-duty trucks, you’ll likely want a service provider that stocks the parts you need. You don’t want to be stuck waiting weeks for a part to arrive from overseas all the time. Occasionally, this does happen, but it should be kept to a minimum; your maintenance partner should stock the most commonly replaced parts on the types and makes of the vehicles in your fleet.

 

Signs of Irregularities

Sad to say, but unfortunately you can run into “dodgy” providers who cut corners and whose maintenance activities can be questionable. That’s why it’s important to look out for signs of irregularities. Detailed and accurate reports cam assist, but sometimes it’s a gut feeling when you walk into the workshop. To avoid getting swindled into a bad deal, it’s a good idea to look for online reviews of the workshop you are considering. 

Now that you know how to find a provider that will give you a fleet of well-maintained vehicles, it’s time to find a tracking partner that can help look after that fleet. Fill in the form on our website and we’ll have one of our experienced partners give you a free quote on installing and maintaining a telematics and tracking system for your vehicles.