Tag: 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.

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.

References:

*BVRLA, Grey Fleet, https://www.bvrla.co.uk/industry-campaigns/air-quality/grey-fleet.html#:~:text=There%20are%20an%20estimated%2014,up%20to%20%C2%A35%20billion. [Accessed 10/03/23]

Grey Fleet – The Forgotten Fleet?

Each year in the UK, the ‘Grey Fleet’ travel more than the distance to Pluto and back

It is estimated that the UK Grey Fleet is up to 14 times the size of the Company Fleet of the UK*. Additionally, up to 1.5 billion miles per annum are driven by the Public Sector Grey Fleet and an incredible 11 billion miles by the Private Sector Grey Fleet*. That’s more than travelling to Pluto and back. These figures relate to a huge number of non-company vehicle drivers. However, with many time-intensive inspections, maintenance, and training tasks to perform on company vehicles, this grey fleet element can be overlooked.

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