12 Things You Can Do Right Now to Help Your Bottom Line and Control Fleet Costs

Controlling fleet cost is about more than the price you pay for an asset. Safety, productivity, and remarketing value also play a big role when you tally your “total cost” column.

FridayFleet asked a few of Donlen’s experts from acquisition, remarketing, consulting, and fleet maintenance for some of their best tips to help you reel in costs. And best of all, these won’t cost you penny!

  1. Make your drivers aware that the price of fuel can vary by as much as $0.15 per gallon within a one mile radius in most major metro areas, so they should not always stop at the same location for fuel. This will save your company money and can also benefit the driver.
  2. Decide whether time or money is most important for your fleet when it comes to oil changes – the most common service required on vehicles – and let your drivers know. Fast lube locations get the driver in and out quickly but come at a higher cost for the service. Other National Account locations provide the service at a lower cost but may take longer.
  3. Make it a policy that every load in the back of a pick-up truck or van is secured. First, cargo rolling around can be dangerous. But it can also cause unnecessary damage – “outies” – to the beds and cargo areas, thus requiring repair or decreasing resale value.
  4. Winter’s coming and visibility is key when Old Man Winter strikes. A clean windshield, wiper blades in good working order, and a full reservoir of window washer fluid will help increase safety. Here’s a great tip to send to drivers: If you have a choice, park facing east or south in the winter; the sun will help keep your windshield clear or at least make it easier to clear.
  5. Overwhelmed with data? Integrate all the vendor reports you receive in one tool and create a single, manageable report. Ask your Account Manager for a demo of Donlen Asset Manager™.
  6. Twice a year, remind drivers to remove any unnecessary items from their trunk. Decreasing vehicle weight increases fuel economy. Live in a state that “springs ahead and falls back”? (Otherwise known as daylight saving time.) It’s a great way to remember it’s time to ask drivers to check the trunk.
  7. Need an easy way to track – and benchmark – your fleet emissions? Whether you’re a Donlen customer or not, if you have more than 300 vehicles in your fleet you’re eligible to join Fleets for Change® – at no cost to participate. Contact Amy Blaine if you’d like more info at 847-412-5384.
  8. Insist that drivers adhere to posted speed limits. Not only will this avoid a costly moving violation – or worse, an accident – but it will also help with wear and tear on the vehicle, keeping the vehicle in better resale shape. Added bonus: it also greatly improves overall fuel economy. Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph: each 5 mph driven over 50 mph is like paying an additional $0.27 per gallon for gas.
  9. Stop idling! Not only are drivers wasting fuel, newer engines don’t require “warming up.” In addition, idling greatly impacts human health and the environment by emitting exhaust fumes into the air. And did we mention extra wear and tear on the engine? Yep, that too. If stopped longer than five minutes, shut it off.
  10. It’s true: driving behavior can affect fuel economy by as much as 33%. Run a monthly or quarterly MPG report that shows every driver (if you’re on our fuel program, you already have this capability in FleetWeb®). Doing so can help you identify areas of improvement or needed training, which benefits everyone in the long run. It can also help you reward good driving behavior, which can lead to “friendly competition” between drivers.
  11. Ask drivers to count to five when they’re behind the wheel. That’s the number of seconds that should elapse before they pass an object that the vehicle in front of them just passed. If it’s fewer than five seconds, they may be following too closely, especially in less-than-ideal weather conditions. By keeping a safer distance the chances of having to stop suddenly decrease, reducing the risk of an accident. The benefits are threefold: increase driver safety, keep vehicles on the road by reducing repairs, and help keep insurance costs from rising.
  12. Vehicle condition directly impacts the resale value of your vehicles. There are many existing or customized reports in FleetWeb that you can use to have conversations with drivers and their managers about their responsibility for a vehicle’s condition. Maintenance, damage, and vehicle grade all contribute to the financial results of sales whether measured against National Auction Index® (NAI) or gain/loss in relation to remaining book value.

And to make it a Baker’s…er, Driver’s…Dozen, for number 13 on our list, check out Driver’s Corner for one final tip you can forward on to drivers.

Congratulations to Gus Xamplas, VP of Remarketing for Donlen, who was recently named as one of the VPs for the International Automotive Remarketers Alliance (IARA). “I’m honored and excited to be named a VP of the IARA,” Xamplas said. “The organization works on issues affecting all consigners and provides us a voice within the industry. The Board and Committee members are knowledgeable, energetic people focused on improving the remarketing business. I’m proud to be a part of the Alliance.”

Hertz Value Lease™ Deal of the Week

Choose from the vast pool of quality pre-owned vehicles available for lease. Easily search thousands of available vehicles from within FleetWeb [See Figure 2, below] and realize benefits of this innovative leasing program:


2012 Chevy Equinox LT*donlen-hertz-value-lease-chevy-equinox-1012

  • Estimated Mileage: 20,103
  • Exterior Color: White
  • Hertz Value Lease Base Price: $24,546

*Vehicle was available at the time of posting to FridayFleet. The same vehicle may not be available after this date. Photo of vehicle is for illustrative purposes only.

Contact your Donlen Account Manager to learn more about Hertz Value Lease vehicles that may be right for your application.

Figure 2: Hertz Value Lease in FleetWeb



FleetWeb® Tips

Find any billing document in the eBillings & eDocs section of FleetWeb. All your documents are securely and safely stored for easy access. Download any invoice in Excel or PDF format.

Type “eBilling” in the search field at the upper right

  • Select “eBilling & eDocs” from the search results
  • Use the Billing Period dropdown menu to select the period you want to view documents for
  • Download your document as an Excel file or PDF by clicking the blue links on the right columns

Don’t have access to eBilling documents? Contact your Account Manager to get set up.

Driver’s Corner

Did you know there are a few simple things you can do to help keep your company vehicle in top condition so that it yields the best return when it comes time for reselling? In addition to regular maintenance that should be performed, follow these rules:

  • Clean it often, and before any stains have a chance to set.
  • Don’t leave trash in the vehicle. Take it out every day.
  • Don’t eat in the vehicle.

And Finally

And finally, if you find yourself carrying a few extra pounds (in currency, that is), head to London next week for an auction of some of the most beautiful vintage cars we’ve seen. This is no ordinary auction; the set list includes several Aston Martins – including one that once belonged to Sir Paul McCartney with a hefty estimate of up to £380,000 or about $613,000 US dollars. Also up on the block are Bentleys, Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Mercedes-Benzs and Porsches, among other rare brands. Some classic American cars also made the list. What we wouldn’t give to check out that 1959 Ford Fairlane Galaxie 500 Sunliner Convertible in person! Oh, well, we’re content to check out the pics.

Have a nice weekend. Safe travels.

Originally appeared in FridayFleet on October 26, 2012

About Donlen
A wholly owned subsidiary of The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ), Donlen (www.donlen.com), with headquarters in Northbrook, IL, is the fleet industry’s most comprehensive and integrated provider of financing and asset management solutions. Since 1965, Donlen has offered its clients highly personalized and responsive customer service, and their workplace excellence has been recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business “List of 20 Best Places to Work in Chicago” each year from 2009-2011, a Leader on “The Global Outsourcing 100®” list by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) for six of the last seven years, and a National Association for Business Resources “101 Best and Brightest Places to Work For in Chicago” each year from 2007-2012. Donlen’s innovation has been awarded with the Computerworld “2012 Honors Laureate for Economic Opportunity,” named to “2012 InformationWeek 500” for innovative technology; the Stevie® “2012 Gold Award for Business Intelligence Solution,” the Silver Award for “2012 Front Line Customer Service Team of the Year,” and the “2011 Corporate Environmental Responsibility Program of the Year.”