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Counting the cost of personal mileage

By Simon Austin April 30, 2021

A little personal mileage may seem inconsequential to your drivers. A short detour back home here. A quick personal errand there. But such instances can soon add up across your fleet, with potentially severe consequences for your business.

Personal mileage can impact your fleet in several ways, opening your vehicles and drivers up to increased risk, minimising the profitability of your operation and even causing long term damage to your brand.

Below are just five ways that unchecked personal use of your vehicles can harm your organisation and its bottom line.

Wasted fuel

There’s no such thing as a free mile, so fuel is the obvious place to start when discussing the potential impact of excess personal mileage. Of course, some personal use is permitted in many fleets. And there is no issue there, as long as drivers are accurately logging and reporting usage.

Unfortunately, however, we know that is not always the case. Unauthorised vehicle use and fuel card fraud are more common than many fleet managers would like to think. Without an accurate way of monitoring and managing the personal use of company assets, you could be paying for your drivers to run personal errands.

Wear and tear

Use of your company’s vehicles doesn’t just carry a fuel cost per mile. There are indirect costs, too, such as the wear and tear on vehicle parts and the use of oil, coolant, and other consumables.

Not only can unauthorised use increase the cycle of tyre changes, filter replacement and other routine servicing, but it can also affect the safety of your vehicles. If you’re planning maintenance based on time intervals, then additional miles could result in your cars and vans operating in less than optimal condition.

Additional mileage can also impact both the lifecycle and resale value of your fleet vehicles.

Increased risk

The longer your vehicles are on the road, the more likely they are to be involved in an accident. Particularly if they are operating outside the guidance and monitoring of your office staff.

Vehicles kept in unauthorised locations such as private job sites and public car parks also exposes your assets to theft and vandalism.

There are issues here with insurance too. Many policies will only cover authorised personal use as set out in the terms and conditions. If vehicles are used in a manner unbeknown to you and your insurer, you may find that your policies are invalid.

Damage to reputation

An often-overlooked impact of personal use of company assets is damage to reputation. There are two main concerns here.

For one, if you are not monitoring your vehicles outside of working hours (assuming them to be unused), you will not be aware of speeding or other harsh driving events. If you are unaware that your branded vehicles are driving unsafely or antisocially, you cannot take action, and your business may soon get a reputation for poor driving. 

Secondly, if your fieldworkers are using your vehicles to carry out private jobs, your brand is tied to the quality of that work. Should any issues arise, your reputation will likely be damaged, despite the work taking place in an unofficial capacity.

Keep control of what matters

When closely managed and monitored, personal use of company vehicles is unlikely to cause a problem for most fleets. With no way of knowing how many miles are personal, however, it can quickly begin to harm the efficiency and productivity of your organisation.

Fleet management technology can help you keep personal use under control, allowing you to see exactly where vehicles are and what they’re doing at any given time.

To see how such a solution could help your fleet, request a short product demo today.

Simon Austin

Simon is the Associate Director, International Marketing, EMEA & APAC. With over 20 years marketing experience in the IT software and business analytics industry, Simon believes passionately in the power of data and how it can help business realise their full potential faster.

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