How small businesses can improve fleet cost-efficiency

Small-business owners are constantly thinking about company expenses, and there are some they won't be able to avoid. When an entrepreneur's business operations require them to have a corporate fleet, they run into additional costs that must be taken into consideration and properly managed.

Rather than letting the expenses add up without tracking them, business owners need to be strategic about determining where their most significant costs are coming from and how they can reduce these expenses. With proper oversight and technology, having a fleet doesn't have to be as pricey as it may currently be for smaller businesses.

• Measure current spending and determine where costs can be cut. It will be impossible for a company leader to reduce spending when he or she doesn't know exactly what expenses are or where costs are too high. By tracking what's being spent, an entrepreneur can have more insight into operations and plan a new budget accordingly.

• Lease or buy? While in the long run it may seem cheaper to buy a vehicle instead of leasing one, this may not be the case for all business owners. In some instances, especially if a company may need to replace its cars, trucks or vans frequently, leasing may be a more cost-effective option. A business that has traditionally leased - or bought - all of its vehicles may need to consider if the alternative could be a less expensive option.

• Consider green alternatives. More vehicle manufacturers are developing models that use significantly less fuel than cars and trucks of the past. If a company is looking to replace any of its fleet, it may do well to consider a hybrid or entirely electric vehicle. This allows fleets to cut fuel use, something that can result in significant savings.

• Employ routing software. It's easy for drivers to take longer routes to their destinations without realizing it or make unscheduled stops, meaning they're using more fuel and adding more miles to their vehicles over time. The expenses associated with this behavior can take their toll quickly, and it's essential business owners address the problem before it becomes too expensive. By utilizing logistics software, entrepreneurs can ensure their drivers are taking the most direct routeto their pickups and deliveries, limiting fuel use and adding fewer miles to business vehicles.