How do you deduct mileage as a fleet owner?

A lot of fleet managers make the mistake of trying to deduct standard mileage. While you don’t qualify for standard mileage, you do qualify for much bigger savings opportunities.

As a fleet owner, you can deduct your entire operating expenses. Operating expenses go far beyond the cost of mileage. You’ll be able to deduct things such as insurance, parking fees, license fees, registration, and of course, gas.

What other mistakes in fleet management should you look out for? Read on to find out.

1. Forgetting Continuous Safety Training

One of the biggest mistakes in fleet management is forgetting about safety training.

A well-rounded driver safety program sets positions your company for success. Instead of hoping your drivers are being safe out there, you’ll be providing them with tools and resources to handle any type of situation.

A lot of vehicle accidents happen because of similar reasons. The worst part is a lot of those reasons are entirely preventable. By raising safety awareness, you’ll be able to prevent accidents.

As you invest in a quality driver training program, you’ll be able to provide each driver with defensive driving instructions and the best plans of action for different types of accidents. Preventing accidents doesn’t only improve efficiency; it also saves you a ton of money.

Insurance providers love safe driving records, and they love safe driving programs just as much. When you can prove that your drivers are accident-free, and you’re taking steps to keep it that way, you’ll be able to get the best insurance rates.

2. Having a Poor Fleet Management Strategy

Another mistake to avoid is failing to make a management strategy. What does your fleet management strategy look like now? Are you closely monitoring drivers’ behaviors to make sure you’re not wasting money?

Simple things like idling can cost you hundreds of dollars in gas each month. You’ll also want to double-check that the routes you’re providing drivers are as efficient as possible.

If you haven’t reviewed your routes recently, take a moment to do so today. Notice if there are any construction projects or changes in traffic flow that you need to consider. Then have a conversation with drivers and find out if there are any parts of their route where they experience heavy traffic.

You could also look into getting a mobile fleet fueling service to save time. Instead of drivers having to hunt down available gas stations, you’ll have all of your fuel needs brought directly to the vehicles.

3. Not Investing in Fleet Management Software

The easiest way to perfect your management strategy is by getting the correct type of fleet management software. Using advanced GPS technology, fleet management software can help you have a bird’s-eye view of your entire operation.

You’ll be able to set parameters that notify you when a vehicle enters a particular area and when it leaves. You can monitor driver behaviors, route choices, and so much more!

For instance, specific software comes with the option for live camera viewing. Using an HD camera in the vehicle, you’ll be able to see what the driver is seeing, and in real-time.

Another advantage of management software is that you’ll be able to handle traffic holdups more easily. As you get real-time traffic information, you can instruct drivers on the best way to optimize their route.

Similar to the insurance discount you can get for a driver safety program, fleet management software is something insurance companies love too. They’ll know that you always have tabs on your equipment, which makes preventing theft much easier.

4. Hiring the Wrong Drivers

You can have the best safety program, and top-of-the-line fleet management software, but it won’t matter at all if you hire the wrong drivers. Do you have a thorough vetting process for hiring your fleet drivers?

Are you checking for red flags that could point to potential safety issues? In today’s job market, it can be tempting to hire the first qualified applicant.

However, as an intelligent business owner, you’ll have to push past initial appearances and dig deep to make sure you’re making the right choice. Along with a safe driving record, you’ll want to hire drivers who are interested in being part of a team. When you have a community-minded workforce, it’ll be easier to create a positive work culture.

Whereas when you’re hiring employees who are simply in it for a paycheck, your customers will notice the difference. To avoid making the wrong hiring choice, we suggest having 2-3 rounds of interviews.

5. Neglecting Regular Fleet Maintenance

Finally, one of the worst mistakes you could make is neglecting preventative maintenance. To avoid falling into this pitfall, go ahead and set up a maintenance checklist today. Here are a few of the items you should keep a close eye on:

  • Inspect cooling system
  • Check driveshaft
  • Get regular tune-ups
  • Consistently change the oil filter
  • Check transmission mounts

You’ll also want to pay close attention to the condition of the tires. As the seasons change from hot to cold, be careful.

The hot temperatures can cause the tires to swell and burst. To avoid blowouts, monitor the tire pressure and replace them as needed.

Driver Accountability

Don’t assume that drivers are keeping up with the maintenance checklist. You never know when one of the items on the list might be unclear or when drivers might not have the tools necessary to complete it.

To improve communication, create an accountability system for the preventative maintenance checklist. We suggest designating someone on your team to periodically inspect the vehicles themselves to make sure they’re up to par. You can also put one person in charge of reviewing checklist reports.

Avoiding Mistakes in Fleet Management

Now you know about some of the biggest mistakes in fleet management and how to avoid them. It’s clear to see that safety should be at the top of your list of concerns.

Start a safe driving program for your fleet today. Include periodic training, and team meetings to discuss safety issues. Once you have a safe driving program, reach out to your insurance provider to review discount opportunities.

For more ways to get ahead, see what the rest of our blog has to offer.