How to start a career in fleet management

So, you want to be a fleet manager? A career in fleet management is not necessarily one people work towards. Often, it’s a career they stumble upon after having built up many of the prerequisite skills in other careers or more junior roles in the transport and logistics industry. However, those who do become fleet managers often find it a very rewarding career, with plenty of regular challenges to overcome and the responsibility of managing a fleet against a backdrop of ever-changing conditions.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the common routes into fleet management careers and discuss the qualities and skills that are well-suited to the role.

What does a fleet manager do?

The goal of a fleet manager is to maximise the efficiency and profitability of the vehicles used by a company and the drivers who operate them. Fleet managers are typically responsible for choosing the type and number of vehicles to lease or purchase, maintaining them, scheduling their use, keeping records and logging driver routes. They also have to resell vehicles that are no longer needed by the company and monitor the financial performance of the fleet, including the associated costs and ultimately, the profit generated by the fleet.

What are the potential routes into fleet management?

There are several different pathways into fleet management careers. No set qualifications are required for a career in fleet management, but work-based learning and experience, skills training and higher education courses will all stand you in good stead.

– The school-leaver – If you’re an ambitious school leaver and feel like a career in fleet management could potentially be a good fit for you, there are a number of further and higher education courses that could take you towards your goal. BTECs, HNDs and degrees in subjects such as logistics and transport management could be an excellent first step. The UCAS website is an excellent place to find transport management and related courses across the UK.

Training from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) would also provide a good basis for a career in fleet management, while the Fleet Transport Association’s Transport Manager Certificate is an industry-recognised pathway that’s been developed in conjunction with City & Guilds.

– The work-based route – Probably the more well-trodden route into a career in fleet management is vocational training and experience gained at lower levels of an organisation before progressing into a fleet manager role. Apprenticeships are tried and tested entry routes that offer on the job training while earning a salary.

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Alternatively, you could apply for lower level jobs in the industry and progress by gaining experience and taking industry-specific qualifications from providers such as the Institute of Car Fleet Management (ICFM).

What skills do fleet managers need?

There are a number of essential skills you’ll need to even be considered for a fleet manager position. If you don’t possess these skills already, it’s well worth thinking about how you can develop them in the future.

1. Multi-tasking

With such a diverse range of responsibilities, it’s essential fleet managers can switch between multiple tasks quickly and easily. It can be a very fast-paced role at times, so you need to be able to keep up with a workload that shifts rapidly from one task to the next.

2. Ability to adapt to change

The fleet world is subject to a continuous stream of new legislation and technology, as well as plenty of political upheaval (Brexit, anyone?). Fleet managers must be aware of how those changes will impact their fleets and adapt accordingly.

3. Excellent communication skills

It is your job to communicate any internal and external changes and keep drivers up to date, informed and engaged. Choosing the most appropriate communication channels and delivering messages in the right way can secure buy-in and keep the team motivated.

4. The ability to lead a team

As a fleet manager, it is your job to inspire confidence and trust in your drivers and back office team. The ability to solve problems and make decisions based on the information you have available is also critical to the success of your operation.

Why become a fleet manager?

We’ve discussed the skills you need to be an effective fleet manager, but what can the role offer you in return? There are a number of reasons why fleet management careers can be so rewarding.

Salaries for fleet managers tend to be reasonably good and due to demand, they are on the up. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a fleet manager in the UK is £37,671, but that can easily rise to between £60,000 and £70,000 for experienced fleet managers working for large private and public sector organisations. As well as a competitive pack packet, you’ll also be an influential part of a business, potentially managing a huge operation and that has a crucial part to play in your employer’s success.

In recent years, there has also been a new aspect of the fleet manager role. With consumers wanting to reduce their impact on the environment, many businesses are now taking steps to manage their fleets in a more environmentally friendly way. So-called green fleet management can produce long-term gains and become a key USP for a brand, as well as providing another opportunity for fleet managers to really make their mark.

Become an eco-friendly fleet manager

At Dropless, we make it easy to enhance the eco credentials of your fleet and keep your vehicles looking their best. Our waterless fleet washing service completely removes wastewater pollution and runoff issues while saving up to 300 litres of water per wash. If you use the Dropless App, we will log the service history of every vehicle for you, so you will be notified of each vehicle’s upcoming waterless wash. Get in touch for a bespoke fleet cleaning quote today.