Grey fleet management and vehicle tracking have become a vital aspect of business fleet management as more employees opt for car allowances. Referring to vehicles owned by employees but used for business travel purposes, the management of grey fleet cars holds unique opportunities and challenges. Continue reading to learn more about grey fleets, their advantages and disadvantages, and how you can improve the management of your company’s grey fleet vehicles.
Understanding Grey Fleets
Before discussing the concept of grey fleet vehicles, let’s look at the type of vehicles employees have access to for work purposes. These include:
- A company car (purchased by and belongs to the business)
- Cars bought or leased using a car allowance scheme (paid for using a car allowance benefit and belonging to the employee)
A grey fleet refers to the vehicles owned by employees but used daily for work-related journeys. This includes journeys such as travelling to other office locations, attending out-of-office meetings, or visiting clients.
Therefore, vehicles bought or leased under a company’s car allowance scheme that are used for business-related journeys are classified as grey fleet cars. Additionally, employees who use these vehicles are known as grey fleet drivers.
- Couriers: In the courier industry, employees often use their own vehicles to deliver packages and documents. This flexibility allows couriers to operate more routes and cover more ground, especially in areas where company vehicles might not be readily available.
- In-field Customer Care Agents: These professionals use grey fleet cars to visit clients or customers at their homes or businesses. This approach provides the agility to schedule multiple visits in different locations without the constraints of a company fleet schedule.
- Salespeople: Sales representatives frequently travel to meet with clients or attend sales events. Using their own cars allows them greater freedom to plan their routes and schedules, often resulting in more effective client engagement and time management.
In each case, the use of grey fleet cars offers flexibility and convenience, but it also requires careful management to ensure compliance with legal and insurance requirements, and to maintain oversight of business-related travel expenses.
Pros and Cons
Owning a grey fleet holds the following advantages and disadvantages for businesses:
- Owning a grey fleet has positive cost implications for the business – it removes the burden of maintaining company vehicles. Employees are responsible for daily vehicle maintenance expenses, running costs, and monthly insurance premiums.
- The business does not have to purchase their own vehicles to build a fleet.
- Owning a grey vehicle allows business drivers flexibility. They can use these personal vehicles for work-related tasks and other travel requirements.
- Offering employees a car allowance helps lower individual tax costs and might help attract new talent to a company.
- Owning a large fleet of grey fleet business vehicles makes tracking and maintaining vehicles difficult. Grey vehicles are outside the control of the fleet manager and thus may make adhering to regulations and safety standards challenging.
- The vehicle owner has to record their travel distances and expenses, which can lead to human error.
- Implementing a grey vehicle scheme at your business might deter new talent from accepting a job offer. Even though employees will pay lower individual taxes, they are liable for paying income tax on this cash allowance.
- Fleet managers can’t install a vehicle tracking system without the employee’s permission.
- When resigning from their job, the employee gets to keep the car.
Exploring Vehicle Tracking for Grey Fleets
Using fleet fuel cards can play a crucial role in managing the monthly fuel expenses of grey fleets. Some of the benefits of using a fuel card include:
Cost savings: Fuel cards offer users savings through discounts, rebates and loyalty programme benefits. Fuel card providers often have standing agreements with petrol stations to ensure their clients pay discounted fuel prices.
Expense management: Fuel card providers send users a monthly expense and transaction report. These reports help fleet managers stay updated with fuel expenses and monitor monthly fuel costs and mileage claims. They help staff accurately track their spending patterns an dbetter manage their fuel use. The reports can also help identify unauthorised fuel card purchases.
Time-savings: Because monthly fuel card reports are available in digital format, it removes the need for a paper trail to track expenses. The time and resources saved can be redirected towards other tasks and projects.
Enhanced security: Fuel cards come with a range of built-in security features, making them more secure than other payment methods such as credit cards. These multi-layered security features help prevent fraud and unauthorised card use.
Improves staff safety: Using fuel cards brings peace of mind to many fleet managers. Employees are less of a target for criminals when they use fuel cards because they do not have to carry large amounts of cash or credit cards on their person.
Convenience: Fuel cards provide an easy and hassle-free way to pay for fuel purchases. A company fuel card also ensures employees do not have to use their personal cards or cash to pay for fuel purchases.
Crystal Ball’s fuel cards – issued in partnership with BP – offer fleet managers and their employees access to thousands of fuel stations across the UK. They are also an excellent tool to help control costs, save money, and improve fleet efficiency.
Mobile Phone Tracking
Mobile phone tracking is another tool to help manage a business’s grey fleet. Business phones – issued to staff members – can be remotely tracked and help monitor the movements and schedules of employees. These tracking devices provide real-time location tracking of employees and their personal vehicles, as well as historical journey recording and monitoring
Crystal Ball’s mobile phone tracking solution is another practical grey fleet management tool. These state-of-the-art car trackers provide essential tracking-specific metrics and analytics, which can improve fleet efficiency and save businesses money.
Grey fleets – personal vehicles owned by employees and used for business purposes – are a flexible way to minimise a business’s capital expenditure. Because these vehicles are paid for and maintained by employees, the company can also save on monthly operating expenses.
While managing a business’ grey fleet may seem challenging, it can be effortlessly done if fleet managers use the correct tools and strategies. Fleet managers can use fuel cards and mobile phone car trackers to easily improve the management of their fleet of employee-owned vehicles.
Fuel cards help businesses save costs and time, improve expense management and staff safety, and offer enhanced security features that prevent theft and fraud. Using a fuel card in collaboration with a high-quality vehicle tracking system, such as a mobile phone tracker or in-cab tracker, is a cost-effective option that enhances operational benefits for many small, medium and large businesses.
Contact Crystal Ball today to learn how our range of fuel cards and mobile phone trackers can contribute to and enhance your fleet management. Request a demo and learn firsthand how our top-of-the-range vehicle tracking systems can help your business maximise its operational effectiveness and boost your bottom line.