Best Strategies and Practices
Learn simple effective strategies that lower costs, improve efficiencies, and improve your bottom line.
I get it. Managing your company’s cars and trucks can be a drain on your time, your profits and your patience! Whether you run a fleet of two or 200, you may find yourself making the same mistakes or puzzling over the same issues over and over. And wondering: is there a better way to do this?
As owner of Lockhart Automotive Inc., a Toronto-based brokerage, I offer a personalized fleet vehicle shopping experience for my clients, backed by 30 years of industry experience and a proven system that helps them save time, lower costs and eliminate the headaches of managing a fleet.
Now I’ve distilled that wisdom into The Fleet Book, a practical, step-by-step guide to help you make the perfect vehicle choices, reduce your real costs and boost your profits. I think you’ll find it useful—maybe even eye-opening!
To learn more and better manage your fleet, you can contact me at 1-800-476-8407 or email at email@example.com. I’d love to hear from you!
Your trucks and cars may just be the hardest-working members of your team. But acquiring, maintaining and selling them can be expensive and stressful. This book will help you make smart decisions about which vehicles to buy, how to pay for them, and how long to keep them.
Learn how to:
President - Affinity Luxury Car Rental
“I have dealt with dozens of fleet managers. Many of them, it seemed, cared little about the challenges we face in the car rental business. When I met Sean, he was different; he asked many questions and wanted to know more about my business model. Most of all, he wanted to know what was important to me! I told him I want to have ‘the ability to predict the future’. I was kind of kidding, but not really. Before I buy a vehicle, I wanted to know if I am making the right decision? What Sean did next was completely unexpected! He developed for us an entire purchasing system, one that we use for every purchase decision today. Now we key in the car’s cost, how much per day we rent it for, our fixed expenses, and the projected residual values. We get the answer: is it a good purchase or not. Today we can actually ‘predict the future’ with reasonable accuracy. We know if the car will be profitable or not, right down to the cost per day. There is no more guesswork! Sean has been invaluable to our company, and I’m sure glad that I met him!”
Partner - Oriole Landscaping/Knowledge Tree Consulting
“At Oriole, we have had the pleasure of doing business with Sean for over 15 years now. He has helped us get the right trucks over 20x with the right specs. Sean has been honest with us and has prevented us from making short-sighted decisions when purchasing. Yes, we may have paid initially a little more for the recommended added equipment, but we got way more in return. I wouldn’t buy my trucks through anyone else when it came to leasing. Sean was way better than the competition in getting us set up with the right deal. In the end, Sean saves us money and a ton of time. BEST ROI in the business.”
President - Shefa Meats
“Lockhart Automotive provided us with seamless results, directing us in the right direction on the refrigeration units. Professional and thorough, he delivered exactly what we needed. Putting full trust in him was a good move.”
Tactics vs. Strategy: Applying both to your fleet
Let’s talk first about decision-making. Most business
owners believe they make strategic decisions in their business, and some do. But my 30 years in the automotive
business have taught me that, when it comes to vehicle fleet management, decisions tend to be more along the lines of reactionary and tactical. Business owners often use the same tactics when deciding which vehicles and how to buy them, over and over. The problem is, those tactics sometimes work, and sometimes don’t.
Strategy vs. Tactics
The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of a Tactic is a) the science and art of disposing and manoeuvring forces in combat; or b) the art or skill of employing available means to accomplish an end.
The definition of Strategy includes the science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological, and military forces of a nation or group of nations to afford the maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war; a careful plan or method: a clever stratagem; the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal; an adaptation or complex of adaptations (as of behaviour, metabolism, or structure) that serves an important function in achieving evolutionary success.
What’s the difference for my business?
A strategy is an overarching plan that allows you to benefit from the (various) tactics you use. If you have a good strategy, the plan works even when particular tactics fail or no longer serve your best interests.
If your business is growing year-over-year and you’re buying lots of vehicles, you may feel you’re doing it right.
But with a clear-headed, long-term strategy, your decisions
could be much more effective, especially for your bottom
line. Let me give you one example of a typical tactic that
misses the bigger picture.
One risky tactic: Focusing on the lowest price
Don’t get me wrong; the price you pay for vehicles and
equipment is important. What I do all day long is negotiate,
trying to reduce my clients’ initial purchase price for their
But here’s where it becomes problematic: Say a business
owner gets an unbelievable deal on a bunch of trucks. He is
so happy to get such a deal. The reason for purchasing these
vehicles, in particular, was the lowest price. He searched
everywhere, and nobody could beat this deal. After taking
the new trucks’ delivery, the business owner discovers the
trucks he bought have lower than expected payload capacity.
The way the chassis and bodies were installed, they could
never legally carry the size of loads he wanted them to.
With the lower payload rating for each truck, extra trips
are necessary to move the same amount of material. These
additional trips mean higher-than-expected operating costs.
The drivers need to take more trips, burn more fuel, and expend more labour hours to do the job than driving the ‘more
Whenever something is significantly lower-priced than everything else in the market, be careful. Typically, though not always, you get what you pay for.
A strategy for success
I’m going to show you a proven strategy for managing
your fleet. You can still use specific tactics if you like, and
some will certainly work. Understanding that if you use the
strategy laid out in this book, you won’t need to worry about
the tactics so much.
The book is a guide to saving time and money and focusing
on the essentials—the choices that matter. Ultimately,
you want your business to run better, which is why you are
reading this book in the first place.
I wrote it to show my clients how to think long-term
about their fleets. Not just about today’s decision, but how
you will shape your business and become even more successful in the future.
When I see waste and inefficiencies, it drives me crazy.
I would rather see money spent on a better vehicle that
increases profits rather than spent on wasted fuel or unneeded
repairs. The benefits go all the way down the line:
The recaptured resources can be allocated to improving the
business and its bottom line. Your employees will now have
better tools to work with. These better tools (new vehicles)
mean better work, more efficiencies and satisfied happy
customers. In the end, there is more profit for the owners.
As a business owner myself, I know it would make me glad
to have better vehicles and lower costs.