From scheduling appointments to taking care of backend paperwork to ensuring the fleet is running smoothly, managing an HVAC company is no easy feat. Depending on the size of the company, as fleet manager, you likely handle everything from keeping track of the technicians in the field to managing daily operations to administrative paperwork. The good news is that technological advances such as GPS HVAC fleet tracking have made HVAC fleet management more efficient.
For HVAC companies, the fleet is the heart of the business. HVAC GPS tracking gives you the insights you need to manage your fleet as well as improve its efficiency and your technicians’ productivity-while also reducing costs throughout the business. This software lets you monitor your technicians in the field, contact them when you need to, optimize their routes, and automate vehicle maintenance. And that’s just the beginning. HVAC fleet management can help you optimize every aspect of your fleet.
7 GPS Fleet Management Benefits for the HVAC Industry
Fleet expenses are some of the highest costs for HVAC companies, excluding payroll. This isn’t surprising considering HVAC vehicles spend a lot of time traveling from job site to job site. In addition, every mile logged by a fleet vehicle creates more costs in terms of vehicle maintenance, fuel, and depreciation. And as the company grows, which is every owner’s goal, these costs can be hard to control.
Below are seven ways HVAC GPS fleet tracking can help you keep these costs in check.
1) Decrease Fuel Consumption
It’s a statistic every HVAC fleet manager knows and hates: fuel costs make up roughly 60% of a fleet’s total operating costs. Here’s another startling statistic you may not know: the difference between the least and most fuel-efficient drivers is about 30% in fuel usage. Even small increases in fuel efficiency can yield substantial savings. HVAC GPS tracking devices play a significant role in helping HVAC companies save on fuel usage, which translates into a fleet-wide reduction of fuel expenses.
HVAC GPS tracking software gives you insight into your driver’s behaviors such as speeding, excess idling, harsh braking, and other aggressive and risky driving behaviors. Consider excess idling. This behavior can waste up to a half a gallon an hour. In-cab alerts let drivers know when they are engaging in dangerous behavior, giving them the chance to self-correct.
In addition, GPS tracking allows you to see when your fleet vehicles are being used for non-fleet purposes. You can set up geofences that tell you when a vehicle is in the wrong location. Then, when you know where your technicians are, you can easily route them to the closest jobs and give them step-by-step directions for the shortest route.
By improving driver behavior and optimizing your routes, you can see fuel consumption reduction that translates to fuel savings.
2) Optimize Payroll
Payroll that relies on paper timesheets filled out by technicians with no way to verify their accuracy creates an environment prone to errors and ripe for wage theft. For example, a technician may take a more extended lunch break than usual and forget to document it. Or they may add 15 minutes here and there to pad their paycheck. Time is money, and for an HVAC business, these extra minutes quickly add up and can possibly cost your business thousands of dollars.
Not only does timesheet fraud cost you money, but it can also result in incorrect billing to customers. This can all be avoided by ditching paper logs and using a telematics solution that generates reports on start and finish times, hours and days worked, average hours, and more.
3) Automated Vehicle Maintenance
Maintaining fleet vehicles can be expensive but not as expensive as replacing them sooner than expected. Although vehicle maintenance is a significant expense, neglected maintenance is even more costly. Failure to regularly check and maintain your fleet vehicle’s health could lead to breakdowns, unexpected out-of-service time, and missed appointments. These events are almost always more costly than preventative maintenance.
When your day gets cluttered with tasks such as payroll, scheduling, dealing with customer complaints, and other emergencies, it’s easy to put off maintenance tasks, even simple ones such as checking brakes, belts, wiring, hoses, and tire pressure. Without a maintenance program in place, tracking how much you spend on maintenance is difficult to track, if it happens at all.
To ensure that your HVAC fleet is running well, it is essential to have a preventative maintenance plan in place. Automating your maintenance schedule can turn what is usually an expense into a cost savings. In addition, well-maintained vehicles run better for longer, provide more reliable customer service, and help you save on fuel consumption.
4) Improve Vehicle Utilization
When your day gets hectic, your primary concern is that your technicians are getting to their job sites. You may or may not know if you have the correct number of technicians and vehicles. It’s pretty likely that your HVAC fleet is underutilized and oversized. You may need to right-size your fleet. This means determining the number of vehicles your company needs, which will help you reduce fuel expenses and new vehicle acquisition costs in the long run.
Fleet tracking software can help you find out which vehicles are over-utilized and which are under-utilized. You will then know how many vehicles you need to right-size your fleet. You can also identify which vehicles have the lowest fuel economy and which ones may have reached the end of their life cycle.
5) Accurate Resource Allocation
HVAC GPS tracking software can let you know which vehicles are carrying items such as tools, parts, generators, trailers, equipment, and more. One of the worst things that can happen for an HVAC company is sending a technician to a job without the right equipment. That’s why the real-time inventory management combined with the optimized routing and dispatching you to get with this technology is so valuable. You can be sure you’re sending the closest technician to the job and that they have everything they need to do it correctly.
6) Reduced Insurance Expenses
Your business has a lot to lose any time a driver gets behind the wheel, yet it can’t succeed without them. Accidents can cost your business thousands of dollars, and if a death is involved, not only does the cost get higher, your reputation takes a hit.
The cost of your insurance is directly related to the number of insurance claims you make and the cost of those claims. Accidents, of course, are some of the most expensive. Risky and aggressive driving behavior increases the likelihood of accidents, which then leads to higher insurance premiums. And if you have too many incidents, your insurance provider might drop you.
Driver behavior and driver safety should be a top concern for HVAC fleets. If you don’t have a driver safety program that addresses risky and aggressive driving behavior, your business may be exposed to insurance hikes, injury claims, lawsuits, or worse, fatalities. A driver safety program lets your drivers know what to expect from you and what you expect from them. And when insurance companies know you have implemented a driver safety program, they may lower your premiums because they see you as less of a liability.
HVAC fleet management software can help you implement your driver safety program with proactive monitoring of driver behavior, send license check reminders, improve driver training, and more.
7) Improved Customer Service
When your customers are experiencing an outage, they expect a quick response. However, you can’t send a team to respond if you don’t know which team is closest. With access to real-time locations from GPS tracking systems, you can quickly send the nearest technician to their next job. This is especially critical for emergency calls.
You can also provide accurate ETA’s for your technicians’ arrivals, closing if not eliminating the typical four-hour arrival time window that customers hate. The system can also provide reports on your technician’s arrival time and how long they spent at each job site so that your billing will be accurate. This adds up to improved customer service, which turns into a good reputation for your business.
An HVAC fleet is more than just vehicles. It is, in effect, your mobile business. Your technicians represent you when they are in the field. Managing them, and your fleet, well is critical to serving your customers and helping your business grow. A well-managed, efficient fleet is your most crucial business asset.
HVAC GPS tracking gives you the insight into fleet operations you need to keep your fleet running efficiently and your customers happy. They can also uncover hidden areas where you may be wasting money. Armed with this information, you can increase efficiency and eliminate waste.
As you can clearly see, there are many ways fleet management software can help you cut costs in fleet operations. And the more you save, the more you can spend on other operating costs that will bring you more value in the future. It’s all comes down to becoming more conscious of the actions of your drivers and making your fleet’s movements on the road more visible with the use of telematics technology and data.