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Fleet Management Software Under $100

Written by Bill DeRousse

Fleet management software is not just for large fleets. Of the more than 60,000 municipal fleets (cities, counties, states, schools, police, transit, fire districts) in the U.S., less than half have automated fleet management systems. Regardless of your fleet size and available funding, you can have an automated system.

But before I get into what options are available, you should ask yourself, “Do I need a fleet software program?” Also ask, “Do I have the time needed to input the information into a computer to track equipment and costs?” Your answer may be “no!”

Whether you agree with me or not, anyone who owns a fleet management software program must admit two things. First, it takes time to input information into your system, and second, if the information is not entered correctly or kept up to date, it is of no use.

For larger fleets (for example, more than 200 vehicles with an equal number of support equipment), the use of a fleet management software program can provide valuable information regarding equipment costs per mile, capital costs, parts costs, fuel usage and other equipment-related data. Data entry takes time, and your staff’s time should be spent doing the things that are important to the management of your fleet. So you need to determine what information should be gathered.

In our operation, with 550 motorized vehicles and 300 off-road and support vehicles, I have to decide what work each staff member has time to do. Some things we track very closely and other items we do not track at all. So by knowing what is important, we can find a fleet maintenance software program that will do what we need at a low, or no, cost to us.

Before you get all excited about finding one of these low-cost programs, another question to ask yourself is, “Why do I want to do this?” If the answer is because you need to have an idea as to what your fleet costs are or how many technicians you need, your question may be more easily answered by asking the larger fleets in your area that operate in similar road and climactic conditions what their costs are for specific classes of equipment and using their numbers.

You would more than likely be able to come within 95 percent of what your actual costs are. However, if you need to know your fleet operational cost numbers, here are a couple of suggestions to move you toward automating your fleet information.

Hundreds of fleet management software companies exist—just look on the Internet. My suggestions are recommended for smaller fleets not requiring a system that is expected to handle numerous users at one time. Before you purchase any software program, make sure you have a computer system large enough to operate the program you select and a memory large enough for the information you will be storing.

I found one fleet software company—Dossier 32—that offered a free download of its more sophisticated program for fleets with fewer than five vehicles. While most fleets have more than five vehicles, this is a good place to start if you want to find out what a fleet management system looks like and how it might be able to help.

While there are more listings of low-cost fleet software programs on the Internet, I am sure the list in the sidebar will keep you busy for a while and that these companies will have something you are looking for.

Bill DeRousse is the fleet superintendent with the City of Everett, Wash., and may be reached at wderousse@ci.everett.wa.us.

Fleet Management Software Program
Options for Less than $100 (Some limit fleet size, others do not)

www.carcaresoftware.com – Car Care: $99.95
www.plant-maintenance.com/freestuff/640.shtml – Dossier 32: free for fleets with fewer than five vehicles
www.capterra.com – Capterra: lists numerous programs available, some more than $100
www.plant-maintenance.com – Plant Maintenance Resource Center: lists numerous free and low-cost programs written for fleets
www.softwaregeek.com – Software Geek, Fleet Management System Freeware: lists numerous programs at low costs
www.sharewareconnection.com – ShareWareConnection, Fleetmanager: lists some free and low-cost fleet management software
www.fileguru.com – File Guru: lists low-cost fleet software programs

Published in Police Fleet Manager, Mar/Apr 2011

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