HERE’S an interesting conundrum for fleet managers and SMEs looking into their future vehicle lease planning. Just how many miles are you expecting staff to drive in the future?
The thorny question of business mileage has been raised by FleetCheck as the normal driving patterns have been thrown into disarray during the past year. Clearly driving patterns changed considerably due to lockdowns, but the big unknown is how much of this is going to stick.
Estimated annual mileage is a major component of the cost of a vehicle lease. Over-estimate and you will be wasting money; underestimate and you will be risking costly excess mileage penalties.
Peter Golding, Managing Director at the fleet software specialist, explained that fleets generally believed company car mileage would remain lower than at pre-coronavirus levels but were unsure about how much.
“Most company cars have covered a fraction of their usual mileage during the past 12 months because of the pandemic and, with the growth of videoconferencing as an alternative, it’s generally thought that the majority will not return to the kind of distances seen in the past.
“Very few organisations are talking about getting rid of their fleets altogether because they recognise the contribution that they make to their business – while fewer trips might be made, those that are still being made remain essential or important.
“However, there are questions to be answered and the biggest of these is based around ‘rightmileaging’ – ensuring that employers take out leases that match future usage. Obviously, the difference between a 20,000 mile a year lease and a 12,000 mile one is substantial, especially extrapolated across a whole business, so it is important to get this right.”
FleetCheck’s view is that businesses shouldn’t wait to see what develops because the outcomes are likely to be haphazard, with some drivers choosing to return to their old mileage levels and others being more considered.
“We’d like to see fleets introduce guidance around when journeys should be undertaken instead of leaving things up to employees. Certainly, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest, for example, that monthly client meetings should not all take place face-to-face and should instead use a combination of video conferencing and in-person meetings.
“We expect to see more discussion about this in the coming months and certainly we’re helping some of our clients with their rightmileaging requirements, looking at how they should manage drivers and business needs.”