Reducing fuel costs, saving on vehicle maintenance, improving customer service and increasing driver satisfaction sounds like a wish list any taxi firm would love to achieve. But surely, you can’t do all those things? Well, you can, if you manage your taxi fleet successfully.

Read our ‘How to’ guide to managing a taxi fleet and you should be reaping the benefits in no time. Our straightforward tips will take you through the basics of fleet management, how to do it, how to grow your fleet and finally how to protect it.

Having the right insurance for a taxi fleet in place is a must-have, no matter how many vehicles you’ve got.

 

What is fleet management?

Whether you’ve got a fleet of three or three hundred taxis, the aims and principles of fleet management are the same.

To keep your vehicles well maintained and on the road, while keeping costs down, drivers safe and customers happy. There’s clearly a lot to do to keep your fleet on the road but here are some of the fundamentals you’ll need to get right.

A taxi sign on top of a car

Managing a taxi fleet – the essentials

On a day-to-day basis there are some tasks you really must keep on top of.

 

Keep a fleet log

No matter what the size of your fleet, keeping a record of your vehicles’ MOT, insurance and service histories is vital to keeping them all on the road.

Having to take a vehicle off the road because of a missed MOT, or even worse carrying passengers in an illegal vehicle can hit your business financially.

While keeping such details in a physical folder is useful, adding the details onto an electronic calendar will mean you should never miss an important date and you can access the information wherever you are via mobile devices.

 

Accurate maintenance records

If you add in details of any maintenance done then you could develop this into a useful vehicle health record. A great way to reduce future maintenance costs and get ahead of any upcoming maintenance issues. But it’s not just accurate records you’ll want to maintain.

Those all-important relationships with local mechanics and garages need to be kept ticking over, too. Having someone you know and trust available to help means that if any issues do arise your vehicles will be fixed and back on the road in record time.

 

Vehicle tracking

Depending on your number of drivers and vehicles, keeping a track on where everybody is can be a big task. But even in a small fleet this can be impossible and lead to costly mistakes if you don’t have an accurate tracking schedule.

Vehicle tracking can range from sophisticated telematics and vehicle tracking products to simple tracking sheets recording basic driver, vehicle and journey information.

 

Looking after your drivers

Owning a fleet of taxis means you’ll have a group of drivers who you owe a duty of care to. Not only do they represent your company and interact with your customers on a daily basis, but they also drive your vehicles. They need to be able to do this safely while also maintaining standards of safety, service and quality at all times.

It’s your responsibility to conduct risk assessments of all your vehicles to make sure they reach the required standard.

This also needs to be followed up with ongoing health and safety measures so that your fleet is safe, roadworthy and well maintained. Allowing such issues to go unremedied could lead to a costly mistake for your business, from which it may never recover.

Taxi driving can be stressful and can produce a range of driver health issues. As well as making sure your drivers are fit to drive, it’s always wise to ensure their physical and mental well-being is catered for. For example, during the recent COVID-19 pandemic taxi drivers ferrying patients and NHS workers were reported to be particularly vulnerable.

Happy drivers who feel valued are more likely to take care of your fleet and let you know when issues arise that need sorting.

A taxi driver smiling as he sits behind the steering wheel of a car

Taking care of passengers

Taking care of the fleet vehicles and the drivers is only part of the equation. By managing a taxi fleet successfully you’ll achieve something all customers want – reliability, safety, efficiency, a good price and, perhaps above all, consistency in terms of the quality of service.

To make sure you provide a predictably high-quality customer service follow these tips:

  • Ensure all fleet vehicles and drivers are clean and smart. After all first impressions count!
  • Encourage loyalty and use a reward scheme. Customers who know and trust you will recommend your fleet to others and are far less likely to cause problems.
  • Modernise your fleet. From electric vehicles to facilitating cashless payments this is a great way to keep on trend and ahead of the competition.
  • Listen to your customers. Whether investing in your fleet or keeping on top of customer complaints, it’s a key part of fleet management. For example, in London the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles has been falling but there’s still a big demand for this service. If your fleet doesn’t accommodate these customers with the necessary facilities then they’ll go elsewhere.

 

How to get the most out of your fleet

Keeping on top of these day-to-day activities is important but if you really want to get the most out of your fleet of taxis then you might need to invest in some more sophisticated solutions.

From developments in fleet management software, driver apps, customer apps and ever-more detailed embedded telematics there are a huge range of technological developments worth looking into.

  • Fleet management software – Often leased from a third-party provider, this software offers a range of functions including invoicing and finance, customer data, booking and dispatch, vehicle tracking and driver performance management.
  • Driver apps – Often used for keeping an eye on fuel efficiency, ensuring optimal routing and allocating bookings.
  • Customer apps – For booking journeys in advance, hailing taxis, estimating journey times, and tracking the location of their taxi while waiting.
  • Telematics – Using embedded sensors, telematics constantly monitors vehicle performance, including engine temperature, idling time, tyre pressure, and fuel usage. This data is then sent to the firm so it can take any action if required. For example, telematics may notice an imminent technical problem or perhaps a tyre that’s going flat. By taking fast action on this you can keep the fleet running efficiently and avoid any preventable breakdowns, or even accidents. Both of which can have dire consequences for small businesses.

Managing fuel consumption is an important part of successful fleet management – fuel is likely to be one of your biggest expenses after all. Fuel cards are an increasingly popular way of keeping costs down when it comes to filling up.

They can be used by your drivers like a credit or debit card to pay for fuel, often at a discounted price. Helping cut back on costs as well as the nuisance of fuel expense claims for drivers.

Many taxis lined-up in a taxi rank

Growing your fleet

Managing a taxi fleet successfully requires you to constantly re-evaluate your taxi business to see whether processes can be improved, costs reduced and hidden opportunities uncovered. For example, could you get a better deal on your taxi fleet insurance? As with any modern business there are always emerging trends in the taxi industry that are worth looking out for.

From innovative technology that introduces new features, to changes in the market that open up new opportunities you always need to be ready to adapt and grow. For example, the issue of climate change and environmentally friendly business is an important one – as shown by the increasing focus on electric vehicles from ride-hailing and taxi apps.

Considering when is the right time to grow your taxi fleet is an important one with a whole host of pros and cons according to your particular business. You’ll need to ask yourself some tough questions beforehand and be careful to not over-stretch your resources.

Whatever innovations you make remember to tell others about what you’re doing. If you don’t communicate your plans and market your business effectively then it’s difficult to succeed in this highly competitive industry.

 

Protecting your business with taxi fleet insurance and breakdown cover

With so many vehicles to keep track of, managing a taxi fleet successfully is a big responsibility. That’s why the specialist team at Taxi Insurer is always looking for ways to help make life easier. After all, you need specialist protection at an affordable price to ensure that if anything goes wrong, you’re covered.

Our insurance cover comes in many different forms to suit all manner of fleets. You might want third party only, third party, fire and theft, or comprehensive cover options. It may also include any driver cover, subject to age and experience of the driver.

We’ve also added mirror no claims bonus from other insurance policies, cover for different vehicles such as minibuses and MPVs, and a 24-hour claims management service. There’s also an option to pay in instalments.

To arrange a no-obligation taxi fleet insurance quote, please call our team or complete the request form and we'll call you back.

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

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