Fleet maintenance can help a car service company maintain its stable cash position. Whether you are looking to create a company specifically dedicated to fleet maintenance or are considering adding this option to your service menu, this is an option that can certainly be cost effective.
However, working with these large accounts can also be tricky and carry a lot of risks if they are not handled properly. Small Business Trends recently spoke with experts from the automotive industry to gather essential tips for those looking to offer a fleet maintenance service.
Tips for Starting a Fleet Maintenance Company
Consider your return on investment
Before you start, you need to do a major financial analysis to find out exactly how much money you will need in advance and what is the potential market for growth in your area. Then you have to keep in mind these financial terms while trading, while remaining flexible on the details.
Greg Marchand, Automotive Consultant and Convener of Repair Shop Rescue, said in an email to Small Business Trends: "Gross profits can be tricky with fleet accounts, and initial trading with price must be well thought out. Depending on the account, the different fleet maintenance administrators have different requirements as to which parts can be used, the labor that will be paid and the rate of labor that will be paid. they will pay – all of this affects the gross profit.
Create a custom pricing menu
You may already have set prices for the rest of your store. But you will probably have to make adjustments when working with fleets. Consider what you can afford to discount, taking into account that the greater amount of work will lead to higher cash flow overall.
Mike Anderson, an automotive consultant specializing in collision shops, said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends: "Unfortunately, many fleet companies do not want to pay what many consider to be retail prices.
Making conditions clear up
With larger accounts, it is more important than ever to make sure that both parties understand what is expected of them. A late payment or misunderstanding that causes the customer to leave can have an even greater impact on your business than on a normal customer.
Anderson says, "Make sure you have documentation that you give them and clearly explain your expectations from the beginning, and clearly understand what is important to them too."
Focus on Relationships – More Than You Would Normally
In addition, the relationships you form with fleet customers – everyone from the decision maker to the individual driver – become more important.
Merchant says, "The maintenance of the fleet is a very different animal when it comes to serving. Relationships are essential and must be maintained – regular conversations with key people about how the store can provide a higher level of service, regular check-ins with customers to say hello or to leave their lunch or breakfast . keep contracts. "
To be able to work quickly
The maintenance of the fleet requires a lot of work. So, it is well suited for companies as team members who can work efficiently in order to run all vehicles as soon as possible.
Treating vehicles with respect
Since relationships are so important to fleet maintenance work, you must be respectful even when you think no one is watching. Some vehicles, such as police stations or municipalities, could even be equipped with cameras. So suppose the customer is always there when your team is working.
Make sure it does not spoil your flow
If you plan to add fleet maintenance to your existing service menu, you need to consider not only how it will affect your profits, but also how that could change the way your team operates. If a team is already busy with other repair work and can not afford to bring additional help, the addition of a fleet job could end to have a negative impact on your financial results.
Designate employees for fleet duties
In some cases, Anderson suggests that it might even be advantageous to appoint specific employees to the fleet's maintenance work. This way, there will always be other employees at your store available to work on jobs for new customers who are entering.
Creating a practical experience
Companies with fleets are just like any other type of business – they hate wasting time unnecessarily. So, in order to make the process as efficient as possible for them, determine what would be their ideal situation in terms of things such as delivery and collection.
[TRADUCTION] "Anything that can be done to allow fleets to drop off and pick up vehicles will help ensure the acquisition and maintenance of fleet contracts (be very aware of the time that some processes can take and count for that in the prices). "
Special offer to employees of companies in the fleet
Since the fleet service is generally associated with reduced prices, it can have an impact on your short-term profit margins. But Marchand says you could also take advantage of the opportunity to increase the customer base of the rest of your shop.
He explains: "Providing a" special "program of fleet employees where fleet employees receive an advantage by bringing personal vehicles to the shop for work can offset some of the reduced gross profit that Fleet accounts can bring. you money now. "
Photo via Shutterstock
More in: Automotive