It’s indisputable. The landscape industry is utterly dependent on vehicles.
Landscaping companies need fleets of vehicles to deliver services and products to a demanding, yet appreciative, clientele. Whether it’s a new project or scheduled maintenance, sending the right vehicle is essential in making money in this competitive business.
There is also a seasonal urgency that may translate to stress and client impatience. If one landscape company can’t deliver as expected, quite often the client just picks up the phone and calls the next company on the list. But smart landscape operators have long figured this out and manage their teams with an accuracy that makes them the envy of the fleet management world.
The challenges that face the landscape industry are not that uncommon to many industries. It’s how they have responded that makes this knowledge worth sharing. What are some of the tricks leaders in this industry have embraced to make them more efficient and high producers?
And how can others benefit from what they have learned? The following tips are a good place to start.
TOP 4 LANDSCAPE FLEET VEHICLE MANAGEMENT TIPS
1. Deploy Purpose Built Vehicles
The analogy of “using the right tool for the job” is amplified in this example. Landscape operators know with accuracy what tools will be required for a particular assignment. Each vehicle is should be properly upfitted and equipped to deal with 95% of the potential issues that arise, with enough supplies on-board to last a day or two. Together these items allow for a smaller, more nimble fleet. And all the supplies are at the fingertips of the drivers. So spec’ing the right vehicle is an essential step in making crews more efficient.
2. Use Fuel and Maintenance Cards
With a fleet management company, you can use a single fleet card that’s accepted at nearly all fuel and maintenance facilities. A single fleet card that is accepted at nearly all fuel and maintenance facilities makes drivers more efficient. When they need to “fill-up” they can do so in the most efficient way: along the route to the next call. It also reduces your administrative load by giving you one annotated invoice. You won’t need to collect, record, and reconcile fuel and maintenance receipts anymore.
3. Install Telematics
Dispatching the right vehicle requires knowing where all drivers are currently located. With fleet telematics, a single screen advises the dispatcher of the most available and nearest driver. Shorter trips make the fleet more efficient. This translates to more visits per day, happier clients, and increased revenue.
4. Drive Branded Vehicles
Your vehicles are your company’s brand in the community. They are highly visible when parked outside each of your worksites. Having them properly branded will make sure neighbours know who to call when they need service. And don’t forget to keep your vehicles looking good. If they’re old, or have rust or damage, it says a lot about the company who operates them. Think about it. If you see a service vehicle that is falling apart, you probably assume that the service is equally as shoddy. If you think that way, certainly your customers do as well.
These are just a few of the tactics that smart landscape companies embrace to ensure a competitive advantage in their crowded marketplace. And the bonus is: this knowledge is also highly transferable to other industries.
So no matter which sector you are in, you can always learn from the effective fleet management tactics of others. Don’t hesitate to follow the lead of successful landscaping companies who have taken steps to streamline and improve their processes. Start with the above tips, and enjoy more fleet efficiency, fewer headaches, and a healthier bottom line.
Article by Ryan Hartley
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