With customers always looking for a deal on large ticket items like furnaces and air conditioners, HVAC companies must find ways to lower their overhead and pass those savings to customers. Fleet tracking is one tool that HVAC companies can use to reduce their expenses, and here are three ways it can do so:
1. Cut Fuel Costs
One of the biggest benefits to fleets using GPS technology is the lowered fuel costs. How does GPS fleet tracking lower fuel costs? First, it decreases time on the road. When you know where your vehicles are at all times, you can dispatch the closest one to the next job. You can also route drivers around construction and other traffic delays to ensure they do not spend too much time sitting in traffic, using fuel but getting nowhere.
These are the obvious ways that fleet tracking reduces fuel costs, but it also helps in other ways. First, driver accountability lowers fuel costs. Drivers will drive more safely and spend less time idling when they know their behavior is monitored. Also, fleet tracking limits problems with personal trips taken in company vehicles. Therefore, drivers will likely stay on task and be more productive knowing that their locations are monitored.
These fuel savings are significant. Idling for 15 minutes uses a quarter of a gallon of gas. Across multiple vehicles, excessive idling will add a large expense to your budget, all without your drivers spending any time on the road. Aggressive driving can also add to wasted fuel. Chrysler tested this fact, and found that one aggressive driver used 43 percent more fuel than a driver using safe driving practices on a test course. The average fuel savings with safe driving practices is around 20 percent.
2. Cut Labor Costs
If you are paying your team for their time, not just at the job but also on the road, your labor costs can be cut significantly with GPS fleet tracking. Consider this scenario: You receive a call from a customer with a furnace emergency that cannot wait long to be addressed. The technician you think of first is on the other side of town, and you know he just finished his job. Thinking this is the fastest way to address the customer’s concern, you dispatch that technician, not knowing that a technician working just a few blocks away is also nearing the end of his job. In reality, the closer technician not only could get to the customer first, but also would take less time, and therefore cost you less, to do so.
While it may seem that it would be easy to track vehicles, any company owner knows that once the day starts, it’s difficult to keep tabs on the locations of multiple drivers and multiple vehicles, especially when making split-second decisions about which one to dispatch to an emergency. Instead, with GPS fleet tracking technology, you can glance at your monitor and see exactly where your technicians and vehicles are. Noting that one is located close by, you can call that technician and see where he is with his work. Knowing that he will be done soon, you can schedule him to address the emergency customer. Not only will you get the technician to the job faster, but you will also save money on labor costs.
3. Cut Insurance Costs
Insurance providers recognize the benefits of GPS fleet tracking in protecting the fleet, and offer discounts for GPS fleet tracking. When GPS fleet tracking is installed on vehicles, driver behavior improves because of the accountability the systems provide. This, then, reduces the risk of collision or crashes that would require an insurance payout.
Also, when GPS fleet tracking systems are installed on vehicles, recovering stolen vehicles is easier. These two factors combine to reduce the risk to insurance providers, and they reward that reduced risk with lower insurance rates. Automotive Digest indicates that insurance rates could drop up to 15 percent with the use of GPS fleet tracking. Across multiple vehicles, that discount grows quickly.
Fleet tracking systems do represent a cost, but that cost is dropping as systems are getting smarter and more streamlined. For the HVAC company, the cost savings easily outweigh the costs of the system. Consider adding fleet tracking to your company, and watch the savings grow.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in vehicle tracking GPS software and systems for small and mid-sized companies.