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Shaun Sadlier's blog - 1 November: A different animal

Date: 01 November 2016

We have many customers who operate a mixed fleet of vehicles - cars and vans. Even for business fleets predominantly made up of cars, there is often a need for a few vans, and vice versa.

The task of managing this should not be underestimated. Anyone with responsibility which crosses this line will know that they are drastically different animals which require a very different approach. That's exactly why we employ car and van specialists within our business.

Of these differences, the first is picking the right vehicle for the job. The options for a car fleet generally focus on choosing the right make, model and powertrain. However, when it comes to vans there are far more variants to choose from and selecting the wrong one can render it useless. Too small and it can't carry the load, too big and it can cost the business much more than it should.

Specification is also much different in the van world. Car users will be considering features like leather seats, sat nav and safety equipment. In a van it's often more about creating a unique specification for that vehicle and the job at hand. We have customers where the kit within the van is worth as much as the vehicle itself.

For this reason, the final key difference that I'm going to highlight is the management of downtime. For all fleets, vehicle reliability is key and having vehicles off the road for maintenance is a hassle to be managed. However, a car can be replaced much more easily either through a pool vehicle or short-term rental. Generally as long as it is the right size it can do the job for a short period. Conversely, a van which is uniquely kitted out with specialist equipment can't and time off the road can bring the business to a halt.

Of course mixed fleets can be managed very effectively, we work with customers to ensure that's the case every day. But anyone assuming that they can manage their cars in exactly the same way as their vans could be setting themselves up to fail.