So, you’ve established your new business. Your client and staff rosters are growing, goodwill is rapidly expanding and everything is starting to feel under control…except your vehicle fleet. You’re constantly worried one of your vehicles will get stolen, losing the fortune of equipment in the tool compartment. You never know exactly where your vehicles are, where they’ve been or how far away your guys are from the next job. You feel like you’re spending all day on the phone checking up on them. And come tax time their handwritten, inaccurate travel logs make your life an administrative hell. Surely managing your fleet shouldn't be this hard, right? Right.
Whether you’re tracking one car, two trucks or a hundred vans, no business is too small to benefit from GPS tracking. Here are some of the ways your small business can use GPS tracking to its advantage.
Protect your assets
Consider the value of the equipment found inside of your vehicles. A sought-after target for thieves are cargo vehicles such as vans and utes (that's utility vehicle, for all our non-Australian readers). Not just for the vehicle itself, but also for all the tools and materials inside. This cargo is the irreplaceable livelihood of your business, so forget wasting months waiting for that insurance payout to maybe get new ones. Vehicles equipped with GPS tracking are less likely to be stolen and not recovered.
Consider this as well, the Toyota Hilux, the best-selling ute in Australia, was in the top 5 most stolen vehicles in 2017. Due to its international popularity and demand for replacement parts, it has become a sought-after target for thieves, often to be chopped up and shipped overseas, never to be seen again.
The biggest reason to invest in GPS tracking is to improve overall efficiency. By using a GPS tracker, you can gather information which you normally lack the means of getting by yourself.
If you are trying to save money anywhere you can, by looking at the daily travel history of each vehicle you can plan the shortest, most fuel-efficient route for your drivers. As a bonus, this will also help your fleet be punctual by reducing the time spent traveling, allowing them to complete more jobs per day.
By monitoring vehicle utilisation, you are keeping a record on how often each vehicle is used. This makes the job of vehicle maintenance easier, increasing the lifespan of your fleet and making roadside assistance easier.
Lastly, tracking employee driving behaviour helps monitor driver safety, provide back-up in case of spurious insurance claims, and manage staff overtime. If you are concerned about the legalities of tracking employees, the general rule is that you must inform your staff that they are being tracked and in turn you must receive implied or expressed consent. In some places, you may also be required to clearly mark work vehicles as being monitored (check your country, state or local laws). Taking the time to help your staff understand the benefits of tracking, and why they’ll need to remain transparent with their actions, will only help you with your transition.
Nowadays, there is a wide range of GPS trackers designed for personal use and small businesses, many of which are inexpensive and easy to use. All-inclusive tracking prices are usually less than half the price of a monthly phone plan, and a fleet of 50 vehicles can be set up and ready to go in less than a day. With the money saved from GPS tracking (driving efficiency, admin time, accountancy, tax claims and more) the device will generally pay for itself, with long-term savings often far surpassing the initial and ongoing costs. Every aspect of your business vehicles – fuel, tyres, insurance, depreciation – can be claimed against your tax bill, and GPS tracking is no different. Furthermore, insurance companies may offer you a lower premium if you show that your fleet is equipped GPS tracking devices (check your insurance provider for details).
Fleet tracking is easier and more affordable than ever. By utilising GPS tracking, you are not only adding an extra layer of security, you are also adding an invaluable asset to help your business run smoother. The data gathered by a GPS tracker can provide valuable insight into your day-to-day operations and can potentially save you valuable time and money.