A 2017 story in Automotive Fleet Magazine pointed out a trend that should disturb any fleet manager. Employees are increasingly using company-owned vehicles without their employers’ knowledge to earn income in other jobs, such as driving for Uber or Lyft.
Now, maybe your fleet vehicles aren’t exactly ideal for ride-sharing.
Not many passengers are going to be happy about requesting an Uber and then seeing your employee pull up in a plumbing truck. So this specific trend might not have you worried.
But you should be worried about the larger issue—employees misusing the company vehicles you entrust to them, by taking them out into the field for purposes you haven’t authorized. After all, these violations of your vehicle-use policy could harm your company in a number of ways.
Why This Matters to You: 3 Ways Fleet Vehicle Misuse Can Hurt Your Business
1. Fleet vehicle misuse puts your company and assets at risk.
Every time an employee takes your landscaping truck from a customer site to an off-the-record cash job without your knowledge, that employee is putting your fleet vehicle, company, and other assets at undue risk. With each of these side gigs, your employee is increasing the chances of an accident, a vehicle engine or mechanical problem, and even the opportunity for theft of whatever equipment and other company property is stored in that vehicle.
2. Fleet vehicle misuse increases your liability.
What happens if an employee using your company’s vehicle for an unauthorized side gig gets into an accident? Or gets hurt on the job? Or receives a speeding ticket or other type of moving violation heading to or from that off-the-record gig?
Even though you hadn’t authorized the vehicle for that specific assignment, even though you didn’t even know about it, your company could still be held at least partially liable for fines, insurance claims and even lawsuits that result from any of these mishaps.
At a minimum, you should expect that if an employee crashes your vehicle during an unauthorized side job, the insurance claim will likely cause an increase in your company’s auto-insurance premiums. Unfair, but true.
3. Fleet vehicle misuse can hurt your company’s reputation.
Imagine your employee is in the field, finishing up a job at a customer site. He knows your dispatcher expects him to return your truck to the office soon, because this was his last job scheduled for the day.
But he’s arranged a side job on his way back. A job your company knows nothing about.
So the employee drives erratically, speeding across town and cutting off other drivers, to get that side gig done before your dispatcher realizes he’s taking too long to bring your vehicle home.
Anyone who sees that fleet vehicle on the road, or gets cut off by it—or, worse still, sees it pulled over by the police or mangled in an accident—will also see your company’s name and logo. No one will know your employee went rogue and wasn’t representing your company and your brand on that trip. As far as everyone who encounters this driver will know, he is your company and your brand.
The Simple, Affordable Solution: GPS Tracking
So how can you prevent unauthorized use of your company vehicles — or at least significantly reduce it? Unfortunately, your vehicle-use policy won’t be sufficient, no matter how well you’ve written it. After all, most businesses with a fleet of vehicles have such policies in place — and yet that isn’t stopping all of those employees from moonlighting as Uber drivers.
But there is an easy, low-cost solution to help enforce your company’s vehicle-use policy: Tracking your fleet vehicles themselves, at all times, with a web-based GPS fleet tracking service.
The right solution will help you protect your vehicles and prevent rogue employee misuse by:
- Letting you monitor your vehicles’ locations in real time, 24/7 — and even alerting you if they leave a certain area when they aren’t supposed to.
- Giving you a record of each vehicle’s history, down to the minute — so you can spot employee misuse.
- Creating a deterrent to employees misusing your vehicles — because they’ll know you know.
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