One trend that is gaining momentum among commercial fleets during the pandemic is the use of mobile maintenance vendors. There has been a substantial uptick in fleet requests for mobile maintenance solutions as fleet managers look to minimize downtime and the administrative burden of taking their vehicle to a repair shop and having the driver wait.
A mobile maintenance solution allows the vehicle to be serviced during off-hours and avoids many fleets from paying the costly expense of renting a temporary replacement vehicle. Many providers can also perform warranty work, avoiding a lengthy visit to the dealership.
“Light-duty mobile maintenance has received a lot of attention recently. Several reasons are driving this including safety concerns due to the pandemic, increased productivity, or simply convenience. Mobile maintenance is easy to schedule, location flexible, and allows drivers to continue being productive while their vehicle is maintained. There are a few things to consider before using a mobile maintenance provider,” said Brian Simek, director – maintenance, repair, & workforce management for Wheels, Inc. “Mobile maintenance does tend to cost more, and you need to determine if the extra costs are offset by the benefits. Although mobile maintenance providers can perform many repairs and services, but not all services can be performed and this needs to be considered depending on your service need. Depending on the location of where you are having the service performed there may be federal, state, or local environmental regulations to be aware of or even homeowner associations or landlord agreements that need to be considered.”
Mobile service offers many benefits, such as overnight service and minimized downtime, but convenience often comes at a higher price. For example, mobile service vendors may charge higher hourly rates and travel time; however, as the market matures the anticipation is that prices should become more competitive.
“Increased utilization of mobile service providers and an expansion of the mobile platform by traditional brick-and-mortar repair providers will likely result in per repair costs going up,” said George Albright, director, fleet maintenance for Merchants Fleet. “However, overall operating costs among fleets leveraging mobile service may decrease due to improved PM compliance and drive downtime reduction.