Category: Grey Fleet

Growth of the Grey Fleet

For businesses looking to expand their fleet size, the cost of living crisis combined with the limited availability of new cars has forced employers to explore alternative routes.

Whilst operating costs continue to rise – affecting everything from energy bills to vehicle maintenance costs – many employers are reluctant to commit to extra expenses. As well as the initial outlay, the cost of servicing, MOTs, and maintaining additional vehicles has risen substantially. But it’s not just the cost. With lead times for new cars still spanning up to a year, it has caused significant delays in the process.

Without the extra capacity, fleets could struggle to satisfy customer demand. This can prevent them from reaching their growth targets or realising profit opportunities. However, the current difficulty in attaining new vehicles has forced many employers to seek alternative options…

Introducing: Growth of the Grey Fleet

A quick and cost-effective way to increase capacity is through the grey fleet.

The grey fleet is where the employer reimburses its staff to use their own vehicles for regular business-related journeys. When taking on additional drivers to increase capacity this way, there is no initial cost of acquiring extra vehicles. This is a good option when looking to grow as it keeps fixed costs to a minimum. It reduces the risk and financial commitment, even if only used as a short-term solution.

However, if intending to grow via the grey fleet, it’s key for employers to ensure their team members’ licences are valid and vehicles are compliant.

Requirements, Responsibilities, and Risks Involved

Employers must ensure that all grey fleet vehicles are correctly maintained and roadworthy. This is a legal requirement for UK employers and should be built into their processes, however, is often overlooked. According to research by Arval Mobility Observatory –“62% of companies do not have any form of grey fleet policy in place and only 16% have adopted what they describe as a “comprehensive” policy covering the subject […] A huge proportion of companies don’t have any formal structure in place for handling this crucial safety issue which, if it is not taken seriously, not only increases the chances of accidents but could even see directors of companies being liable in the event of a serious incident.”

Ensuring each driver is correctly licenced is also essential. This can be easily managed using an automated system like Licence Link, returning results in real-time, and managing driver licences in bulk.

Melvin Jeffers, Head of Licence Link summarises – “More and more businesses are turning to the grey fleet for a fast and flexible way to grow, as it keeps costs down. For those doing so, it’s important to establish a sustainable checking routine from the get-go! They need to manage privately owned vehicles and their company-owned counterparts equally. Just because they don’t own them, they are still responsible for their use.”

Navigating the challenges posed by the current cost of living crisis and the scarcity of new vehicles, businesses are increasingly turning to the grey fleet as a viable solution for fleet expansion. This approach offers a cost-effective means to boost capacity without the initial financial burden of acquiring new vehicles. However, for employers considering this avenue, it is crucial to establish a robust framework that addresses the legal and safety aspects associated with the grey fleet.

Prevent Accidents and Protect Your Fleet

We’re all human and accidents happen – it’s inevitable. However, it’s essential that businesses take precautions to reduce the risk their drivers pose to other road users. This is key for HR and Fleet Managers, often liable for handling thousands of drivers at once, with unthinkable consequences should they get it wrong. See how Licence Link, the digital licence checking tool, keeps fleets accountable and helps to eliminate risk:

1. Ensures Compliance with Insurance

Employers must adhere to the terms outlined by their insurance provider, so it’s essential to clarify these upfront. Often policies will exclude drivers with excess points, convictions, or endorsements. Failure to check employees’ licences, or sending out drivers who do not comply is a big mistake! In the event of an accident, the fleet policy could be void, leaving the employer to cover costly repairs or injury claims.

Licence Link makes it easy to comply. Fleet Managers can access a digital audit trail of every driver and branch, saving the search through filing cabinets or spreadsheets to ensure their team meet the insurer’s criteria. With Licence Link, managers can create customisable reports, filtering by driver profile, risk level or business structure – ensuring their team has the necessary training and qualifications specified. Phil Wong, Group Operations Director at T F Smiths UK Ltd explains –

“The service Licence Link provides is excellent – the reporting is vital in keeping our business safe and compliant, and our insurers love it too.”

2. Minimises Risk, Costs and Disruption

If Fleet Managers fail to check future employees’ licences before hiring, they could face driver downtime, a loss of productivity, and having to re-hire – not to mention the increased risk of an accident on the clock! Therefore, relying on new recruits to disclose points or endorsements is a poor gamble, likely to end in excess cost and disruption.

Using Licence Link, the HR team can send an eDeclaration to the candidate to sign from their phone, taking just moments. Results are returned in real time, removing any delays throughout the hiring process. Approval lasts three years, so the employer can carry out recurring checks without any further paperwork or hassle.

Fleet Managers must account for all remaining drivers. This includes grey fleet (employees who use their own vehicle for work-related journeys), plus associated drivers (partners or spouses who share company cars). It can be tricky to keep track when organising checks internally. With Licence Link, grey fleet and associated drivers are seamlessly maintained and checked alongside employees. Both driver types pose the same risk as a direct driver, so must not be overlooked.

3. Prevents Accidents and Unanticipated Costs

The stakes are high for using a high-risk or uninsured driver. This ranges from fines to invalid insurance, damage to reputation, and injuring other road users. A recent RAC survey indicates that a quarter of motorists with penalty points did not disclose them to their employers. Worryingly, this could lead to an increased risk of staff causing a road traffic accident, so employers must take their duty of care seriously.

Licence Link helps to maintain a frequent checking schedule without the responsibility of managing it manually or on a per-employee basis. It’s important to incorporate routine checks into the company policy, providing transparency and assurance for both driver and employer. Licence Link checks drivers in bulk, provides automatic alerts for upcoming checks or renewals, and makes it easy to alternate the frequency of checks. Will Blackshaw, Dealer Principal at Blackshaw’s explains –

“Each year I would chase over 50 staff members for licence copies to check with the DVLA and would find errors, then spend periods concerned about any potential unknown issues. I can now relax knowing that everything is checked on a regular basis. This has removed a big admin task and given us better protection for a very small cost.”

Advice from the Experts at Licence Link

The key to managing risk is to prepare ahead. There’s no excuse for non-compliance, especially with a system like Licence Link that handles every driver, eliminating human error, missed checks or delays. Accidents happen when businesses behave negligibly, so digitalising the process is the best course of action, especially with a sizeable fleet.

Learn how Licence Link can support your business.

Check Your Grey Fleet Or Risk Non-Compliance

In recent years, factors such as COVID-19, the limited availability of new car registrations, and the cost-of-living crisis, have encouraged many employers to move away from offering company cars. In addition, companies like Deliveroo and Uber have largely embraced this, with the majority of their drivers using their own cars. Now, more privately owned vehicles, or cars funded through cash allowance schemes, are used for work-related journeys instead. Known as the ‘Grey Fleet’, according to the BVLRA, there are roughly 14 million of these vehicles currently on UK roads*.

Despite many employers relinquishing ownership of company cars, they’re still responsible for checking that every driver has a valid licence, and that vehicles used during working hours are fit for purpose. This applies to organisations in both the private and public sectors – some of which rely on thousands of Grey Fleet vehicles.

Whether managing five or five thousand drivers, it’s essential Fleet Managers have the tools to support their team. Otherwise managing compliance can be incredibly risky and time-consuming. Luckily, Licence Link – the digital licence checking solution – automates the job, relieving hours of admin and reducing the risk of missed licence checks.

Many employers still handle licence checking in-house – maintaining spreadsheets, diarising reminders, manually inputting driver details online, and gaining approval for every check. It’s easy to see how a driver could slip beneath the radar. For fleets looking for a faster and more reliable option, Licence Link streamlines the entire process, managing Grey Fleet and company car drivers as one.

Here’s how:
  • Employers can get fast, digital approval from their drivers. It takes just minutes to sign an eDeclaration, can be completed from their phone, and lasts three years.
  • Set auto alerts in advance of upcoming checks.
  • Alter the frequency of checks based on driver risk or vehicle category.
  • Schedule in advance to prevent missed endorsements.
  • Licence Link returns results in real-time – reducing downtime and delays.
  • All previous checks are readily accessible in the reporting suite.

With Grey Fleet vehicles accounting for a significant (and growing) percentage of those used for business travel, it’s important employers don’t overlook licence checking for this category. Failing to do so could result in hefty fines, invalidated insurance or endangering other road users – regardless of whether the business owns the vehicle or not. Licence Link is cost-effective, hassle-free, and user-friendly, so there’s no excuse for non-compliance.


*BVRLA, Grey Fleet,,up%20to%20%C2%A35%20billion. [Accessed 10/03/23]

Scroll to top