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Data Metrics Expose the Small Fleet Challenge

August 28, 2014

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Welcome to your new “small fleet resource.” If you haven’t noticed, we’ve reinvigorated Business Fleet magazine’s weekly e-newsletter to more directly address our intended market — you, the small fleet.

While the newsletter has fewer items by design, we’re curating the content to directly address your needs with best practices, time- and money-saving ideas, data, editorial opinion, “news you can use” and profiles of companies like you.

So, you may ask, why the need to address small fleets, anyway?

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True, small fleet operators have similar challenges to their large fleet brothers. Reducing fleet costs, conserving fuel, managing distracted driving and regulatory compliance are issues faced by fleets of any size.

But small fleets have the particular challenge of a lack of company manpower devoted to fleet. Larger fleets have a fleet manager — and often a team of fleet managers — whose primary job is to, well, manage the fleet. Managers of small fleets have running a business on their minds.

Therefore, in the small fleet world, there is a lot of room for improvement, and that’s where we can help educate you on more economical and efficient ways of operating your fleet — an “outsourced fleet manager,” if you will.

For better perspective on the small fleet market and where you fit in, let’s analyze some data.

Business Fleet magazine’s focus is fleets with 10 to 50 units. These fleets are predominantly sold, financed and serviced by franchised dealers and some regional independent lessors.

Companies that manage fleets in this size range have about 1,707,000 total vehicles in operation in the U.S., which constitutes 29% of the total commercial fleet market. If you count commercially registered vehicles for companies with 10 units or fewer, this combined group collectively jumps to more than half of the total commercial fleet market.

Small fleets, there are a lot of you.

About 60% of this makeup is light-duty cargo vans and half-, 3/4- and 1-ton pickups, with passenger cars the remainder. Not to be overlooked, this market also runs straight trucks in Class 3 to Class 7 and purpose-built, vocational bodies on chassis cabs of all sizes and GVWs.

In terms of business types, Business Fleet’s readers fall heavily into construction/contracting and plumbing, electrical and heating/air-conditioning. This is followed by companies in wholesale trade (i.e. vehicle parts and supplies, equipment sales), business and personal services (health, educational), agricultural services (farms, landscaping) and local trucking/warehousing.

Does your business fit into one of these categories? If it doesn’t, fear not — the tail of business types that receive Business Fleet magazine is as long as the list of different types of small businesses in America.

As you can imagine, our ongoing challenge as a publishing/media brand is to serve subscribers working in multiple industries with much more than fleet on their workload. But we’ve been doing this for more than 50 years — so yes, we’re up for the challenge.

If you run a small fleet, I’m sure your job title requires you to wear many hats in your company. To take the metrics analysis further, I pulled up the job titles for Business Fleet subscribers.

A scan of the job titles of Business Fleet subscribers shows that they are predominantly in managerial and C-level positions. The top five job titles are: President: 25,274 (more than half of the titles), CEO: 1,927, Manager: 1,878, Owner: 1,706 and Principal: 1,695.

From there, the job titles follow the same long tail as the myriad of types of U.S. businesses. Those titles include commissioners, mayors, superintendents, treasurers, police chiefs, plant managers, marketing directors, auditors and all types of C-suite abbreviations.

Yes, there are mayors and police chiefs in charge of their fleets. How’s that for a challenge.

Here’s the kicker: Out of 39,934 job titles on file for Business Fleet subscribers, only 43 have the word “fleet” in them, while only 26 have the title “fleet manager.” In other words, a fraction of 1% of our readers — reflecting the general small fleet universe in the United States — have “fleet” as their primary job function.

That tells you everything you need to know about the challenges of the small fleet.

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Author Bio

Chris Brown

Executive Editor

Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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