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Plan for future business, not short term gain

Dealers tempted to sign big contracts to service vehicles operated by major fleets run the risk of upsetting smaller company car operators, says Stewart Whyte, managing director of Fleet Audits.

“Too often, dealers don’t think it all through properly before they grab business,” adds Whyte, whose consultancy advises fleets on how they can operate efficiently and in a cost-effective way.

“The dealer/fleet operator relationship is not a black and white affair. It is complex, there are many shades of grey and they have to understand what to do.

“They can fill their workshops by entering into an agreement with a company’s fleet, or with a leasing group. The problem comes when their local business customers want to get cars in for service work, and have to wait. If dealers fail to make proper arrangements to meet servicing needs, they are their own worst enemies.”

Whyte urges dealers to get to grips with the range of demands likely to come from a specific fleet, because they vary. “Some take a direct interest in looking after the needs of their staff – others tell drivers to get on with it, and to have the bill sent for payment,” he says. “All this has to be taken into account when a price is agreed.”

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