What is a grey fleet?

When we talk about a grey fleet, we are referring to when employees are using personal vehicles for business purposes.This may mean something as simple as employees using their vehicles for business travel, but it could also mean that employees use their van to conduct deliveries throughout the day.

Managing a grey fleet will present a variety of different time and cost implications to your business in comparison to the costs of operating a a regular fleet. Although, if you are  able to effectively manage a grey fleet, you may actually find that it works better than a regular fleet - this all starts with an effective fleet management strategy.

It comes down to personal preference on fleet type as well as how you manage the fleet.

A row of parked cars which are part of a grey fleet being tracked for their business mileage.

What are the costs involved in grey fleet management

If you are a business that is just starting out, or just has a smaller fleet and you don't cover a lot of miles annually then using a grey fleet may be the most cost-effective option for your business. It's often a lot cheaper to cover grey fleet operational costs, you will notice it a lot more if your grey fleet infrequently travels. This infrequent travel is when you will really notice that grey fleets are a much cheaper alternative to company vehicles.

However, it can quickly become difficult to accurately track the mileage that your grey fleet is carrying out, this can lead you to also reimbursing them for their personal journeys so you are overpaying. Having a vehicle tracking system in place solves this issue as you have the ability to quickly find the amount of miles covered for business and personal usage.

image of a vehicle collision which could be filmed by a dashcam for evidence of fault

What are some other threats posed by grey fleets?

When your company uses a grey fleet you are liable for any and all accidents and vehicle damage that comes to your employees vehicles as it is happening on business hours - depending on the driving behaviour of your fleet, this could actually lead to a significantly higher cost.

You do have a duty of care to your employees and you have to look after them properly. If you overlook drivers who do not have up to standard or even just poorly maintained vehicles, your employees are at a higher risk or getting into an accident due to the vehicle presenting more dangerous driving conditions.- Ensure that your employees are carrying out daily vehicle checks so your vehicles are roadworthy or you can install dash cams to help to protect your drivers from accidents.

The number of miles that you cover annually is an important aspect as fuel covers 12-17% of your annual operating costs, and if you have a large fleet, this could end up costing your company an excessive amount.

How can RAM Tracking help support your fleet

RAM Tracking is able to provide you with support allowing you to not only reduce your costs but also increase your productivity.

Through the use of our vehicle tracking system you can effectively monitor your employees time spent driving, stopped and idling. By understanding your idle time you understand which of your drivers are wasting the most fuel. These reports allow you to understand where the most money is being wasted.

Our reports also show you instances of speeding, rapid acceleration and harsh braking, this allows you to understand if there are any patterns as to why there's excessive wear and tear. 

We also offer dash cams to help your drivers stay safe on the road, you can help to see their driving habits, and in the event of an accident you are able to give this footage to your insurance provider to exonerate your driver.

Man in blue jumpsuit is writing on a clipboard whilst inspecting a vehicle

What is your Grey Fleet Manager there to handle?

A grey fleet manager has to remain on the ball and keep track of the various pieces of information that a vehicle tracker collects, for example, here are some of the most important things that we suggest monitoring:

  • Overall fuel consumption - is more fuel being used than expected for how far they should have travelled?
  • Daily vehicle check results - is the behaviour of your driver's impacting vehicle wear and tear?
  • Insurance information - are you prepared to deal with everything in the event of an accident?

This allows you to be prepared as well as in a position to save time and money - you can action everything as it happens.

Heavy traffic on a motorway

Is a grey fleet better than a business fleet?

The effective management of your grey fleet allows your employees to use their own vehicles for business purposes which can be incredibly useful to help reduce the overall costs for your business - however, your fleet manager needs to remain on top of the health and general maintenance of the employee vehicles. Your employees using their own vehicles can save you a lot of money on up-front costs as you don't have to purchase or lease an entire fleet for your employees.

However, you need to make sure that mileage claims and vehicle maintenance is properly monitored so you don't overpay and so you don't endanger your employees by subjecting them to dangerous conditions in a vehicle that isn't roadworthy. In-depth insights into your grey fleet's efficiency and the operating costs allows you to realize whether or not a grey fleet is viable for your company.

Top tips for effectively managing a grey fleet

You have to think about a few different things when you're deciding between a grey fleet or company vehicles, here are the most important thing that we think you should keep in mind:

Is a grey fleet the right choice for your business?

It's important to come together and assess the overall travel requirements of your business, take into account the size of your business, the number of miles that your fleet will cover annually, etc. taking this into account could show you that grey fleets are a much more cost-effective option for your fleet. But, in some scenarios, it could turn out that purchasing or leasing vehicles or even just asking your employees to car share could be a much more appropriate course of action.

You and your employees have to be on the same page

The decision to use a grey fleet impacts everyone, employees will either have to begin using their own cars for business purposes or the company owners need to put money aside to either purchase or lease a fleet of company vehicles.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you need a fully fledged fleet management plan which has been agreed upon - you then need to make your employees aware of all of the processes that are in place, for example, so they know how they are meant to properly report and claim on the fuel that they need to be reimbursed for.

Be hands-on, don't leave it alone

If you decide that you are going to utilize a grey fleet, it's time for you to manage it in a fully hands on way, it has to be managed in the same way you would manage a business fleet. If you don't get fully involved, it will be difficult to properly succeed and your employees won't have full confidence in you - it's time to get involved and get the best out of it.

You need to ensure that regardless of the vehicle owner, your business can effectively track the current status of the vehicles to be able to diagnose anything wrong with the vehicles to save money, improve productivity and to have minimal time off the road.

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