Whether they’re delivering your best products or a top quality service for your clients, your fleet is the backbone of your business.
Your drivers are immense assets; not only do they provide an essential service, but they also expand your brand presence throughout the region, country, or world. These are important components for any successful business, so it’s well worth investing in your fleet.
It is especially important to avoid taking your ‘grey fleet’ or self employed drivers for granted. If you rely on a fleet that’s light on its feet, avoid the common mistakes and make sure they stay protected.
Understand your duty of care
Every company has a legal obligation to make sure drivers are protected. The nature of this responsibility depends on factors like vehicle type and size. But, it’s important to ensure your employees are healthy and safe, whether they drive HGVs or company cars.
Many business owners mistakenly believe they avoid liability by employing staff who run their own cars. In reality, your business has a responsibility to ensure all company travel is safe, even if you simply reimburse expenses.
You also have a duty of care towards members of the public who may be affected by an employee’s work activities. To avoid being liable for motoring or delivery incidents, it is important to create a culture of best practice. For instance, effective time management practices could avoid your company being deemed jointly liable for a speeding offence.
Invest in good business cover
Fleet drivers also have a few responsibilities: they need to hold a full driving license for their vehicle type, and ensure their vehicle is serviced, maintained, and covered by motor insurance which includes the correct class of business use.
Taking out a good insurance policy and a solid breakdown cover plan for vans and other vehicles, is vital for any employer running a fleet. Not only does this help to ensure you’re covering liabilities – breakdown cover also helps to keep your vehicles on the road, for happy employees and a business that can thrive.
Conduct a risk assessment
One aspect of looking after your fleet employees is measuring and mitigating the risk they face. By law, employers and self-employed people must assess the risk their work poses, and take steps to manage this risk.
You can conduct a risk assessment in-house or pass this task on to a risk consultancy, who can undertake the day-to-day risk management tasks. Consultancy packages typically include an MOT and insurance check on your ‘grey fleet’ drivers – so you can make sure everyone’s fully protected.
Create time and fatigue management policies
In 2016, the Occupational Road Safety Alliance recorded 44,048 work-related casualties on the road – many due to tiredness and overworking. But, responsible time management is about more than preventing casualties.
Your employees will be happier, healthier and more productive in the long term if you protect them from the effects of overwork. This will help you to retain the best people, and keep delivering a premium, reputation-building service.
Invest in vehicle safety
Safer cars mean cheaper cars – thanks to fewer unplanned repairs, better fuel economy and less disruption to operations. Ensure there is a line of responsibility surrounding vehicle safety within your organisation, and perform regular safety reviews.
In fact, there are simple tech solutions for improving vehicle safety. These include accident data recorders, drowsiness and attention detection technology and advanced emergency braking. Many such solutions look set to be legally mandated by the EU in the coming months, so it’s wise to invest ahead of time.
Empower your drivers to take care of their vehicles
Neat, well-maintained vehicles are important for client impressions – and employee empowerment helps your business to thrive.
Equip your drivers with the tools and knowledge to care for their vehicles, and you’ll be rewarded with a smart, professional and reliable fleet. If you invest in your drivers, they’ll want to invest in you.
Incentives can help to drive results for yourself and your fleet employees. Give your employees time away from the office to get their vehicle fully serviced, and you’ll make the time back and more, in disruption prevention and the growth-boosting effect of positive staff morale.
Go above and beyond when caring for your fleet, and the results will show in your profits.