Challenges of Small Fleets (And How to Combat Them)

Just because your fleet may be small, doesn’t mean it’s easier to manage. There are unique challenges in managing drivers in smaller fleets like limited manpower and financial resources.

However, this should not limit you in providing the best service you can to your clients and customers. Let’s look at some challenges and how to combat them.

Challenges for small fleets

1. Fuel Efficiency

It is estimated that trucks waste 8% of their fuel on idling. Think about it this way – for a truck that consumes $80,000 with of fuel annually, that’s $6,400 wasted per vehicle. While the big fleets may can afford this, small fleets with limited financial resources cannot.

Fleets facing this dilemma can install a fleet management system that would track idling across their vehicles. Various systems offer help in identifying drivers who idle for too long or too many times. Once identified, those drivers can be informed.

Another way to see inefficient use of fuel is with a fleet fuel card. With a fleet fuel card, like the Fuelz Card, managers can receive real time reports as well as reports over time, to see variances in fuel spending frequency uses over time. This can also help address fraudulent charges, another challenge to small fleet owners.

2. Driver Turnover Rate

Granted high turnover rate is a problem most fleets face, especially due to the driver shortage the trucking industry is currently facing. According to the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, the average cost of turnover per driver is $8,234 with a range of $2,234 to $20,729. As smaller fleets tend not to have the finances the larger companies do, it’s harder to compete with larger organizations.

But, there are ways smaller fleets can help keep driver turnover at a minimum. As a manager, set up solid communication with your drivers complete with a two-way feedback channel.

Moreover, stay in touch with drivers, especially at the beginning on their tenure. According to a recent article, 57% of newly hired drivers leave within the first six months.* Take time to look at your driver recruitment and driver on-boarding processes. Find ways to improve each to increase retention.

3. Driver Accountability

One of the advantages as well as disadvantages of a small fleet is everything is more personal. Being honest with at-risk or low-performing drivers can be difficult when you only have a few drivers in your fleet.

This is why the communication we mentioned earlier is important. Be honest with the driver in question and explain the importance of the issue. You know your business will thrive when your employees thrive. Make sure you emphasize their success once the changes are made.

Also, be proactive. Begin an internal newsletter that highlights best practices, best performing drivers or those with no safety incidents. Not only does this offer incentive to your drivers, it also will help boost morale.

4. Make the Most of Technology.

Technology is great, but it’s not always an option for smaller budget fleets. That doesn’t mean there aren’t solutions out there. There are cost-effective fleet software systems that are available for smaller fleets.

Another easy solution is a fleet fuel card. With a fleet fuel card, like the Fuelz Fleet Card, businesses can save money on gas as well as limit non-fuel purchases. In addition, Fuelz provides real time reporting so managers can see where their dollars are being spent correctly or incorrectly.