Cut Fleet Costs: 8 Proactive Steps for Landscape Pros

For many landscape fleets in the U.S., time—and tracking how employees are using their time—is at the core of how the business is built. If employees are not working a site, they’re driving to or from a site, or taking a break. It’s determining how these increments of time add up that is critical for operational success. For landscape fleets to keep up with growing competition, business owners and managers must be able to identify areas of waste and proactively address them. In today’s world of fleet-powered industries, there are many factors—inconsistent fuel costs, driver distractions and lack of data, to name a few—that actively contribute to higher fleet costs. Here are eight actionable, proactive steps to cut fleet costs and increase revenue.

1. Cut Fleet Costs: Eliminate manual timesheets to accurately calculate payroll

Many of us have known the struggle of the clock-in clock-out lifestyle, and for landscapers, this type of time tracking is a daily reality. For fleet managers, however, a single inaccuracy in a timesheet, even if it’s just a few minutes, can result in long-term financial discrepancy. Though it might be enough to trust your drivers to accurately document their time, even an unintended slip-up on a timesheet can put your team at financial risk. The right GPS tracking solution replaces manual timesheets with a data-backed hourly tracking system to show exactly when drivers start and end the day.

2. Cut Fleet Costs: Know where, when, and why your vehicles are being used

If drivers and crew members have access to your trucks after hours, it’s hard to be 100 percent sure they’re not being used for personal reasons. Employee trust and responsibility are important. It’s also important for you as a manager to know exactly how and when vehicles are being used since your company is investing so much into regular maintenance, fuel and upkeep. Telematics gives fleet owners and managers the ability to monitor fleet movements and ensure that nothing slips through the cracks.

3. Cut Fleet Costs: Combat fuel card fraud by monitoring fuel consumption

With rising fuel costs, fuel card fraud is a growing risk among landscape fleet owners. And it can directly impact your bottom line if not managed appropriately. All it takes is for a driver to pull out the wrong credit card at the gas station. The right technology can connect fuel receipts to mileage and routes.

4. Cut Fleet Costs: Promote safe driving habits through coaching

So much a driver does in one of your fleet vehicles, from braking too hard to rolling the windows down while the AC is on, has a direct impact on how much your team has to spend on maintenance and repairs. This also includes unsafe driving behavrios (such as texting while driving) that could contribute to pricey insurance claims. As a fleet owner, it’s your responsibility to educate and coach drivers on safe driving habits and general driving standards.

5. Cut Fleet Costs: Stay up-to-date on all things vehicle maintenance

At the end of the day, the more you take care of your vehicles, the less you have to worry about unexpected disruptions. Make sure your team has a clear process in place that relies on metrics (last service date, mileage, etc.) to help you keep vehicles up-to-date on maintenance services. Staying on top of maintenance with a regular schedule means your team won’t be caught with an emergency at the least opportune moment.

6. Cut Fleet Costs: Streamline internal processes to save time and money

Businesses of all sizes across all industries are turning to automation to save time and money throughout the day. For landscape fleets, this could mean automating payroll and driving record checks, as examples. Streamlining processes is also important when it comes to more high-level proceduresm, such as ensuring your vehicles aren’t being used after hours and that your drivers are showing up to appointments on time.

7. Cut Fleet Costs: Invest in route optimization for better customer service

If your landscape crews are driving all over the place looking for their next appointment site, your customers won’t be the only ones who are unhappy. When fleet managers know exactly where every single one of their crews is on the road thanks to telematics, they can easily share the best routes available or even re-route crews with new schedules or stops.

8. Cut Fleet Costs: Make customer billing easy and streamlined

Knowing exactly how many hours to bill customers comes down to one thing: visibility. Just like payroll, if your team manually tracks hours spent on jobs, there might be times missing or mistaken on final invoices. Or a customer might need to know exactly if and when a crew showed up for a job. Telematics allows managers to thwart any potential billing issues by accurately tracking and invoicing customers for the hours crews were actually on site.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This post was contributed by NALP member Verizon Connect.

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