There are many times when it makes sense for employees to have use of a car that belongs to the company they work for. However, it doesn’t always mean that they should get a company car. Often, that is far too expensive and even very complicated.
This is why many companies these days choose to have pool cars rather than company cars. Even though this is usually a better fit and not as expensive, there are ways that they do need to be managed to make sure that the company is getting the most out of the arrangement.
At the time this article is being written, the pandemic has made commuting less of a thing and sharing a car has its downsides during these times. However, as life slowly returns to normal, the idea of a fleet of pool cars will surely be making a comeback as people seek greater mobility with less strain on the environment.
In this article, we will go over how to manage that fleet once things do get back to normal.
The problems with fleet pool cars
One of the biggest problems with having a gray fleet of pool cars is the cost. Though many companies have switched to buying old cars rather than use the newest models, there is still some cost involved that can add up. One of the most important management aspects to utilise will be lowering the cost of maintaining the fleet.
Related to the cost is the fact that sometimes the cars are sitting idle and not used. Having cars that sit and not in use is a waste of resources. In terms of costs, your idle car is still costing you money to insure and there is a team of people that are being paid to manage and maintain those cars even as they sit idle.
In short, pool cars can be resource intensive as they require more attention than a company car that is assigned to a single driver. In fact, there is more wear and tear on the car because they are shared so there is less of a sense of ownership on the driver even over the people who use a company car to themselves.
Create proper policies
Before you get into the management side of having pool cars, you should have some set in stone policies. The way the cars are used will help determine how they should be managed.
Many employees assume that a pool car is for them to commute in or to use as they would a company car. Make sure that however you want those cars to be used is understood by all so there is no grey area. If you don’t want people using the cars except for doing business errands or to commute then you need to be explicit about it.
How the cars are driven is also of importance. Make sure that all employees are trained on how to best drive. Not only for safety, like defensive driving, but also in terms of how to brake and make turns so that there is less wear and tear on the cars.
Pool car management tips
It really pays off to have a dedicated software system for the scheduling of the cars. Often, companies use Outlook to save money, but that is incredibly inefficient. When you use an app or something similar, employees can see at a glance when a certain car is going to be available without needing to send an email or ask anybody any questions.
Thanks to the Internet of Things, vehicles can be tracked and also let people know by an alert if the car is going to be brought back in time as it will register when it hits a geographical boundary. Make sure to have this implemented as it can save a lot of time. Likewise if the car is going to be returned late.
The key is to make sure that there is a buffer time between bookings of at least 15 minutes. This gives people the opportunity to not lose their booking if somebody gets stuck in traffic on the way back returning the vehicle.
Make sure to have some software installed in the car itself so you can see reports of how the car is being driven. There are drives that can be connected to the car’s computer that will allow you to see how hard the brakes are applied and how fast the car is driven. If you see that the car is being driven carelessly then it is time to have a meeting about it. If you can pinpoint specific drivers to careless driving then you may have to threaten them with revocation of their driving privileges.
Key management is also crucial to the success of your management. Having keys in a central location can cause a lot of problems. Go with keyless entry into the vehicle where they can access the keys when they have their booking. This prevents people from forgetting to hand the keys back or that they get lost. Tracking down keys is a waste of resources and causes delays. If you use keyless entry and a key is taken away from the car, then it can be tracked down easily since you will know who had the car at that time.
Make sure that whatever system you use is going to ensure that car usage is high. It costs money even if the cars sit in the carpark. The right software will enable you to be more efficient with the booking which helps the cars get used. Have a target of 90% usage, but accept whatever you get over 50% which is the average when the management system is not being properly utilised.
Having pool cars is a lot more to manage than issuing company cars. Yet, it saves companies a lot of money when managed properly. Use the above tips to manage your fleet and you will have a cost effective plan that works much better than individual company cars.