Streamlining your SME fleet

Sam Sterry, Director of SME, Europcar UK Group looks at the fleet management issues faced by SMEs, and how vehicle hire can come to the rescue

How many small businesses have the resources for dedicated travel or fleet management personnel? In my experience, not many. It’s a job that often gets left to the office manager or MD, who doesn’t usually have the time needed to carry out the job effectively.

Logistics, finance and tight budgets can prove difficult to manage, especially when juggling other business priorities. It takes a lot of research and a detailed understanding of requirements and limitations to discover the best solution and the best price. Plus, it’s not only vehicle types and cost to consider.  There’s also the safety aspect – company vehicles need servicing and maintenance.  And employee mileage needs monitoring too. No simple task, especially when trying to juggle other business priorities.

Keeping both people and cash moving

Keeping staff on the move safely and efficiently is one of the biggest financial and administrative burdens for SMEs. However, vehicle hire offers a real alternative to ownership. Vehicle rental frees SMEs from upfront finance and the long-term investment in a depreciating asset.

Reputable car hire firms such as Europcar can provide businesses with access to a wide range of newer, well-maintained vehicles. Whether petrol, hybrid or electric, newer models deliver better fuel economy and help meet environmental targets. Rental vehicles also include roadside assistance as standard, removing another headache if company or employee’s own vehicles breakdown.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Newer models typically offered by reputable rental companies also have better business-relevant solutions installed, such as Bluetooth, on board Wi-Fi and integrated satnav, to keep employees travelling and working efficiently. Flexibility is another key benefit of rental. The vehicle requirements of smaller companies can fluctuate significantly. It may be that there is one period in the year where many employees will be out and about, but the rest of the year it’s only one or two who need a car. Why pay to keep fifteen vehicles on the road all year, when you can rent as and when you need a vehicle? You could have two cars on long-term rentals, and pick up any extras for the necessary hours, days or longer, to cover the busy period.

When it comes to controlling costs, vehicle hire is a neat solution for SMEs looking to reduce risk in an uncertain financial climate.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024