Businesses of all sizes benefit from working with a fleet management company (FMC).
However, as a fleet manager or business owner, you might not know exactly what those benefits are. Even with an understanding of the benefits, it’s not obvious what differentiates one FMC from another, and what you should look for when choosing one.
In this article, we’ll clearly outline the key benefits of working with the right FMC. You’ll also learn key criteria to use when evaluating partners—including essential questions to ask—to determine which FMC is right for you.
What Are the Benefits of Working With a Fleet Management Company?
By working with an FMC, you’ll be partnering with an organization full of experts that will take your priorities seriously and make sure your fleet is taken care of in a way that matters to you.
Every fleet manager comes to the table with their own priorities. Some want to lower their total cost of ownership, or reduce fuel costs, and others want their fleets to be more efficient. An FMC listens to your needs and strategically identifies the best solution for your business.
An FMC Will Reduce Your Costs
Often, the purchase cost of a vehicle seems like a good deal. But in reality, you’re likely paying extra so the dealer gets a larger commission.
An FMC will ensure you actually get the best deal possible. How?
Because of our existing relationships with dealerships and manufacturers, we’ll eliminate that extra fee, which results in lower capital costs for you, and ultimately a lower total cost of ownership.
The upfront cost of purchasing or leasing vehicles isn’t the only way fleet management companies help reduce your costs. An FMC is also able to save you money on expenses such as fuel, fleet maintenance, upfitting, and reselling.
By reducing your total cost of ownership, you can effectively invest your money elsewhere.
An FMC Provides Efficient Management and Support
If you’re in a position where you have to manage your fleet yourself, the administrative burden of managing fuel costs, maintenance and upgrades takes up considerable time and may not be done as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Handing off that responsibility to an FMC comes with two significant benefits. First, it frees up whoever was previously in charge of managing your fleet and allows them to focus their efforts on managing other areas of the business.
Secondly, it gives the FMC the ability to provide unique solutions. For example, businesses that are struggling with tracking the fuel and service costs of the fleet would benefit from a fleet card—like the one-card solution we have here at Foss National—which provides businesses with a consolidated report of all their costs.
What Should You Look for When Choosing an FMC?
There are several things to consider when choosing an FMC. Use the criteria below when working through your vendor shortlist to help you determine the best choice.
The Right FMC Is Flexible to Meet Your Unique Needs
Some FMCs have a rigid process. Clients are treated in a uniform way, regardless of their preferences or needs. This might improve internal consistency, but it can come at the expense of the flexibility some clients need from their FMC.
So look for an FMC that takes a more personalized, flexible approach.
For example, some clients appreciate phone calls over emails or text messages. Part of building a strong relationship is finding common modes of communication that both sides are happy with.
Flexibility also means being able to respond quickly when problems arise. If a client has an issue with a vehicle, they want to know that their FMC is working to remedy the problem.
How can you determine an FMC’s level of flexibility before working with them? Here are three questions to ask a potential fleet management partner:
- What is your process when dealing with unexpected issues that come up for your clients?
- How do you deal with difficult requests from clients?
- How do you communicate with your clients on a regular basis?
The Right FMC Values Relationships with their Clients—and They Show It
At first, businesses can be apprehensive about giving up control of their fleet. You might be worried that the FMC is giving you a generic sales pitch and can’t follow through on their promises.
For that reason, building a strong relationship with their clients—by regularly checking in, following through with promises, and making sure you’re happy with how your fleet is being managed—is a vital part of being an FMC of choice.
Here are some questions to ask a potential vendor to determine their quality of client relationships:
- How would you describe your relationships with your clients?
- What would a client tell a colleague about the relationship you have with their business?
- How do you determine if a client is happy or unhappy with your service?
The Right FMC Has Expertise in Your Specific Industry
Not every FMC has experience in every industry. As a result, they may not know how to best meet your goals.
When talking with a FMC sales representative ask them about the experience they have working with fleets in your industry. Many of the broad principles of effective fleet management are consistent between industries, but if an FMC understands specific industry trends and ways to reduce costs, it makes a big difference.
When talking with an FMC sales representative, here are some questions to ask to determine their level of experience in your industry:
- What experience do you have working with fleets in my specific industry?
- Do you have any case studies showcasing successes with fleets in my industry?
- Can you provide testimonials from current clients who operate in my industry regarding your work together?
Finding a fleet management company that is highly skilled in client communication, is flexible to your needs, and knows your industry well will save your business both time and money.
There are a variety of ways in which an FMC can improve your business—whether it’s purchasing vehicles at a lower price, or saving on fuel and maintenance costs. The right fleet management company will listen to what you need and become an essential partner in helping you reach those goals.
Article by Alan Reisler