Tag Archives: cars

Better Than Reimbursing Drivers

Enterprise Fleet LogoBy Bryan St. Eve, Enterprise Fleet Management

For those who wonder how much better it could be to provide company vehicles rather than reimburse drivers who use their own vehicles, it’s easy to count the ways:  improved cash flow, reduced overall operating costs, improved safety, enhanced driver morale and more professional company image. Each of these factors is significant independently; together they present a compelling case.

A recent analysis for a company that has 80 drivers, who average 15,000 to 20,000 miles per year, indicated that about $100,000 a year could be saved by switching from reimbursing drivers to providing company-owned vehicles.  Although the calculation was based on a combination of hard costs – lease terms, monthly payments, maintenance and insurance – and fuel savings generated by having a fleet of uniformly fuel-efficient vehicles, soft costs also were a factor. For example, while some drivers were operating older cars that were not very reliable, resulting in more downtime, others were driving vehicles that were not very fuel -efficient.  In addition, for those in competitive industries, employee-owned vehicles did nothing to enhance the professional image of the company they represented, which impacts awareness among potential customers and prospective employees.

The advantages of company-owned vehicles begin with acquiring vehicles that are the right size, include all appropriate safety features and have uniform fuel efficiency.  Establishing a separate line of credit for vehicle purchases though a full-service fleet management company can eliminate the need to tap existing lines of credit to fund a rapidly depreciating asset. In addition, fleet management professionals can help ensure that vehicles are replaced at appropriate intervals to achieve optimum performance and resale value.

Operating costs can also be minimized with a company-owned fleet.  A managed maintenance program can monitor and ensure regular service checks, examine invoices, and arrange the most economical, timely and high-quality repairs for fleet vehicles.  This program also can yield maximum warranty benefits, rebates, price breaks and other opportunities to minimize expenses.  For example, a fuel card program can automatically monitor fuel purchases and mileage for each vehicle, while giving drivers maximum access to the most convenient fueling stations.

In today’s competitive marketplace, great looking vehicles are good advertising. In addition to promoting the company’s professional image in traffic and at job locations, having great looking cars can enhance employee satisfaction, which impacts retention as well as attracting the most qualified applicants when there are openings.

There are several options to reimburse an employee for using his or her own car on the job – actual cost, standard mileage rate, fixed or variable allowance.  However, a comprehensive cost analysis could show that none of these methods is as cost effective or efficient as providing company-owned vehicles.

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Bryan St. Eve is a Director for Enterprise Fleet Management in Louisville and can be reached at 502-458-3100 ext. 279.  He is supported by an experienced team of veteran mechanics and accredited Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technicians to serve the fleet maintenance needs of businesses with mid-size fleets.  In addition to maintenance management programs, Enterprise’s services include vehicle acquisition, fuel management and insurance programs, as well as vehicle registration, reporting and remarketing.  Visit the company’s web site at www.efleets.com or call toll free 1-877-23-FLEET.

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For more information contact
Robyn Frankel, Frankel Public Relations
Toll free: 877-863-3373, rfrankel@frankelpr.com
OR Ned Maniscalco, Enterprise Fleet Management
314-512-5523, ned.maniscalco@ehi.com

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Better Fuel Efficiency, Lower Interest Rates & Higher Resale Market Drive Need for Long-Term Fleet Management Strategy

Enterprise Fleet LogoBy Bryan St. Eve, Enterprise Fleet Management – Builders Exchange Allied Member

Any business with a fleet of vehicles knows there are six major cost elements: depreciation, interest, fuel, maintenance, risk management and taxes.  Not surprisingly, the ever-increasing cost of fuel is beginning to rival some of those cost elements, including depreciation, and less fuel-efficient older vehicles are the least cost-effective.

The good news is that there has never been a better time to begin to manage fuel expenses.  Not only are 2013 model year vehicles designed for maximum fuel efficiency, but record low interest rates and an unusually high resale market for used vehicles present an exceptional opportunity for businesses with medium-size fleets to take advantage of the opportunity to lower expenses.

But, without a long-term fleet management strategy, getting the most value could still be a challenge. A long-term strategy can help project financial targets for three, four and five-years down the road on everything from acquiring and disposing of vehicles to managing maintenance, risk management, warranties, and mileage, as well as the potential wear and tear a business will inflict on each of its vehicles.

A good place to start is to work with a professional fleet management company that has access to a wide range of makes and models of cars, light- and medium-duty trucks and service vehicles and has the ability and experience to identify the right vehicles and available options to meet the individual needs of a particular business. In addition, they may have the ability to forecast and analyze long-term cost structures to help the business hit specific financial targets.

Simple mathBecause a fleet of vehicles can represent a major cost, requiring a considerable amount of money up front and demanding a continuing amount of money, time and resources to manage, businesses that have a long-term strategy will do well.  Fuel is a good example.  Combined with inflation, reduced fuel efficiency could lead to as much as a 50 percent increase in annual fuel costs within the next three to four years.  This means that for a business just to maintain its current fuel budget it could ultimately be necessary to get the equivalent of 16 mpg from a vehicle that currently gets 13 mpg.

Today’s fuel reality is a growing concern for businesses that own and operate fleets of vehicles.

Not only can owning and operating a fleet of vehicles efficiently and cost-effectively translate to better customer service, it can lead to a more profitable bottom line and more satisfied employees. The combination of new increasing regulations on vehicle manufacturers to improve fuel economy and steadily escalating fuel prices makes it imperative for businesses to begin now to better manage fuel costs for their fleet of vehicles.

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Bryan St. Eve is a Director for Enterprise Fleet Management in Louisville and can be reached at 502-458-3100 ext. 279.  He is supported by an experienced team of veteran mechanics and accredited Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technicians to serve the fleet maintenance needs of businesses with mid-size fleets.  In addition to maintenance management programs, Enterprise’s services include vehicle acquisition, fuel management and insurance programs, as well as vehicle registration, reporting and remarketing.  Visit the company’s web site at www.efleets.com or call toll free 1-877-23-FLEET.

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Enterprise Fleet Management Sets Record with 15th Blue Seal

The Builders Exchange would like to congratulate our Allied Member Enterprise Fleet Management for receiving 15 consecutive years of the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) “Blue Seal of Excellence” award.  Enterprise Fleet Management offers cost effective solutions to our members for maintaining and management of their fleet operations.  Services offered include but are not limited to monthly vehicle cost analysis, mileage reporting, vehicle acquisition, risk  management and fuel programs.

ST. LOUIS, November 15, 2012 – Setting a record for fleet management companies, Enterprise Fleet Management has received the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) “Blue Seal of Excellence” for the 15th consecutive year.  The recognition certifies automotive repair businesses with the very highest standards of service excellence.

With 87 percent of its service advisors being ASE Certified, Enterprise Fleet Management significantly exceeds the requirements for the Blue Seal.  To qualify for ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition, a business must have at least 75% of its technicians ASE Certified and at least one technician must be certified in each specific service or repair the business offers.

“We congratulate Enterprise Fleet Management on achieving this significant milestone,” said Tim Zilke, ASE President & CEO. “As one of the longest continuously recognized members of the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition Program, Enterprise represents the best in our industry for their commitment to their customers and their technicians by supporting voluntary technician certification through ASE.”

Enterprise was first recognized with the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence in 1997 and was the first fleet management company to receive the honor.  Bob Schurwan, vice president of Enterprise Fleet Management operations, credits the dedication and skill of Enterprise’s employees, each of whom has an average 10 certifications.

“We are very pleased to accept this recognition on behalf of our great team of service advisors who are dedicated to customer satisfaction,” said Schurwan.  “Our National Service Department works hard to make sure that customers receive the best service and value for their fleet vehicles.”

Schurwan added that in the most recent fiscal year, Enterprise’s service advisors saved customers with maintenance management programs more than $13 million by helping them avoid paying for unnecessary repairs, as well as arranging maximum warranty benefits, rebates and price breaks and helping them take advantage of other opportunities to minimize expenses.

About Enterprise Fleet Management

A full-service fleet management business for companies with medium-size fleets, Enterprise Fleet Management supplies most makes and models of cars, light- and medium-duty trucks and service vehicles across North America. Enterprise Fleet Management is owned by the Taylor family of St. Louis, who, through regional subsidiaries, also own and operate Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s extensive network of more than 5,500 neighborhood and airport branch offices, all located within 15 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population.

With 58 fully-staffed offices nationwide, Enterprise Fleet Management has been recognized with the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) “Blue Seal of Excellence” for 15 consecutive years, an industry record. In addition to winning a 2012 American Business Award for Innovation in Customer Service, Enterprise Fleet Management supports a comprehensive set of environmental initiatives that includes helping customers purchase verifiable greenhouse gas emission offsets by pledging to match a portion of each customer’s greenhouse gas offset purchases up to a total match of $1 million. For more information about Enterprise Fleet Management’s environmental stewardship and long-term commitment to the sustainability of the fleet management business, visit http://drivingfutures.com/fleetmanagement/. For more information about Enterprise Fleet Management, visit www.efleets.com or call toll free 1-877-23-FLEET.

For more information contact
Robyn Frankel, Frankel Public Relations
Toll free: 877-863-3373, rfrankel@frankelpr.com
OR Ned Maniscalco, Enterprise Fleet Management
314-512-5523, ned.maniscalco@ehi.com

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Steering Around Stumbling Blocks for Ordering New Vehicles

For more information contact
Robyn Frankel, Frankel Public Relations
Toll free: 877-863-3373, rfrankel@frankelpr.com
OR Ned Maniscalco, Enterprise Fleet Management
314-512-5523, ned.maniscalco@ehi.com

 

By: Bryan St. Eve, Enterprise Fleet Management

When it comes to ordering new vehicles, business owners want to make sure they obtain the most competitive prices with the maximum available discounts, rebates and incentives.  For businesses with mid-size fleets, this can be especially challenging due to the many stumbling blocks they can encounter on everything from ordering the right model with the right specifications, to receiving the most incentives, to selecting a fleet-minded dealership where vehicles can be drop-shipped.

That’s why using a fleet management company for acquiring vehicles is a best practice that can save a business both time and money.  In addition to planning ahead to take advantage of various price protection guarantees on all models, a fleet management company may be able to help anticipate and manage supplier shortages or logistic delays that could affect a timely delivery.

Using a fleet management company to order vehicles from the factory can have many additional benefits.  Based on our own clients’ experiences, businesses that order vehicles, rather than purchase from available dealer stock, save an average of 6.3 percent per vehicle.  Other benefits include the following:

  • Prices sometimes increase throughout the model year.  Orders placed early will receive initial model year pricing and may include early order incentives if offered by the manufacturer.
  • Ordering early, it is easier to obtain preferred vehicles, even if demand for those vehicles is high.
  • You can work with the fleet management company to customize vehicles, ensuring that they meet the specific needs of your business, rather than purchasing a vehicle that has been built using more standard retail specifications.  This also saves cost on the back end by cutting down on the purchase of after-market equipment.
  • Aftermarket equipment can be installed prior to delivery of the vehicle, ensuring a complete work-ready vehicle at pickup time.
  • You will generally also get a reduced price because you have ordered the proper vehicle specifications and colors upfront, rather than having to add options once vehicles are received.
  • You typically are able to designate shipment date windows, based on your needs.

Ordering vehicles directly from the manufacturer requires six weeks to three months lead time for delivery.  Increased lead time may apply to limited production models.  Factors that can make a big difference in ensuring a timely delivery include having a strong relationship with the manufacturer and submitting orders that are complete and accurate.  Changing specifications or a drop-ship location after an order has already been submitted can impact the production and delivery time of the vehicle.

Vehicles usually can be drop-shipped to any location in the country, and working with a fleet management company to select a fleet-minded dealership can make a difference in controlling expenses and creating a positive delivery experience.

Cycling Program Manages Acquisition and Disposal

Just as important as knowing when to order new vehicles is knowing when to dispose of older vehicles, a process known in the industry as “cycling.”  Companies with commercial fleets know that negotiating the best buy on the front end is one way to manage costs, but money saved on the back end can also have an effect on your bottom line.  Other factors can also influence when to cycle a vehicle out of a fleet, including the appearance of the vehicle, mileage, wear and tear, resale value and current market conditions.

A cycling plan saves money because of factors like future maintenance, and can also improve a fleet’s fuel economy because newer vehicles generally get better gas mileage.  It can also help maintain the business’ professional image, as well as improve driver satisfaction and safety.   The automotive manufacturers continue to make improvements to vehicle safety and fuel efficiency.

The bottom line is that planning ahead when it comes to both the makeup of a company’s fleet and knowing when to acquire and dispose of vehicles can not only save time, but can really make a difference to the business’ overall financial well being.

Bryan St. Eve is a Director for Enterprise Fleet Management in Louisville and can be reached at 502-458-3100 ext. 279.  He is supported by an experienced team of veteran mechanics and accredited Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technicians to serve the fleet maintenance needs of businesses with mid-size fleets.  In addition to maintenance management programs, Enterprise’s services include vehicle acquisition, fuel management and insurance programs, as well as vehicle registration, reporting and remarketing.  Visit the company’s web site at www.efleets.com or call toll free 1-877-23-FLEET.

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