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How do you track Fleet Maintenance? Software?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by merrimacmill, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    As I have started to acquire more and more pieces of equipment, and now have a full time mechanic, I am having a very hard time knowing what has been done to what, when maintenance is coming up, what inspection stickers are due to renewal, etc.

    Its hard for me to believe, but between trucks, spreaders, plows, tractors, pushers, trailers, skid steers, mowers, plate compactors, handheld power equipment, etc I have 43 pieces of equipment that we have to maintain regularly now.

    I tried coming up with a form for each piece of equipment and we fill in what we did and when. This doesn't help the preventative maintenance at all. To be honest with you, we kind of just drive a truck till we remember it needs an oil change and then look in the book and find out we're over due. Same goes with the hourly equipment. The smaller equipment is more of a problem because there is no hour meter. I would say we could take a day or two and go through all of it and know when 90 days has gone by and its ready for another inspection and maintenance period, but there is so much of it now that it takes a long time for one guy to go through it all when we have other stuff for him to do as well.

    So I'm wondering for all those guys on here with quite a bit of stuff to maintain, what do you do? Do you use software? If so, what brand is it? One advantage to the softwares I've seen is that I would be able to track maintenance costs. I have no idea, without pulling out folders of receipts and adding them up, how much I've spent on maintenance for a truck in the last year.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  2. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 6,078

    I think your overthinking it a little... Im still a small company but when i look at your sig, I see your not all that big either...

    IMO, Just get little stickers for the truck like the dealership puts on, and every 5000 bring them in, but I see you got all chevys, from 2000 and up they all have oil life sensors do they not? when that light comes on, bring them in and give them a full service, do all the trannys in the fall, do all the blades in the fall, grease the mowers weekly and change the oil say 3 times a year depending on how many hours you average on them...

    There's no maintenance on line trimmers, plate compactors, hedge trimmers, leaf blowers, ect.... Change the oil and air filters in the spring and dont worry about it... In all honesty the crew should take care of that... We carry a tube of grease in the truck and grease the hedge trimmer on just about every property, and grease the heads on the line trimmers once a month...

    Do the tractors in the fall just before they go to use, or do them in the spring before they go to bed...

    Funny thing is, I know companies much larger then you very well and even they dont have a full time mechanic... It seems like your looking for work for this guy....

    How many trucks do you use in the summer? 3 or 4 of your 6?
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  3. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Well, keep in mind the mechanic isn't just in the shop. I have a large commercial office building he will spend a lot of time at as well doing maintenance related tasks..I have no shortage of work for the guy. I know lots of companies bigger than me as well that don't have a mechanic. I see the owner out in the shop on a saturday wrenching on equipment. Or I see all the crews of mexicans sharpening the mower blades at the end of the week. But thats just not how I do things.

    Its just really organizing it from the get go for me, as well as expense tracking. I don't want to wake up one day and have to go through a whole big process to really track down what maintenance is costing me. For instance, when its time to buy a new mower, if I had proper records I would be able to compare the maintenance costs for a wright mower vs. a exmark mower over lets say a 1000 hour period. Then I would be able to make a more educated purchasing decision based on past history, not just what I thought was right.
  4. deere615

    deere615 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,919

    If I was in you postion I would probably get a big dry erase board at least for the trucks tractors skids and mowers and have all the mileage hours oil/filter inspections and other regular maintenance stuff on there so I can jsut look and see what needs done. I belive thats what Pro-Turf does. Any other major work besides regular maintenance I would keep track of in an excel sheet.
    Smaller equipment like trimmers and blowers I normally just do yearly or twice a year.
  5. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,891

    I agree Chad, it isn't that hard.

    How does your full time guy get paid? Salary or hourly? I mean this in a nice way, but I have alot more equipment then you do, and we get by. Our biggest expense is with 21 inch mowers, and we spend way to much money on tires, gears, self propel issues, welding their terrible decks, and getting by with them. They are the Toro/Lawnboys that are around 799 each. We still have 2 old Suzuki's that are amazing, but we don't let the crews take them because of the confusion of 2 stroke's, and 2 heavy duty's with the kawi's that are bulletproof but heavy.

    We take our trucks to Ford for oil changes, for the cost of a filter and the oil, you might as well. They are all diesels, and the 2 gasses have free oil changes.

    Get him on a different schedule then your workers, so that he can properly go over things and don't have him in at 7 am, have him in at 4pm till 12. That way you will be ahead if you actually need him for that many hours.
  6. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Well, this isn't a huge problem by any means. I'm on a very small scale and I understand that. What I've done in most aspects of my business is have the systems and procedures of a larger company in place before I even get there. This goes back to when I had two trucks and started planning on my 4th. I set it up so I grow into my procedures already in place. Its just how I operate and its proven itself to be successful so far.

    We pay him hourly, but guarantee him 40 hours a week. There is no shortage of stuff for him to do. Between the office building and our shop, he usually has overtime each week and has proven to be the best employee we have ever hired.

    At this point, pretty much what I want to know is, for the people using software to track this, what software are you using?
  7. onsight

    onsight Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    I use Fleetmatics as a tracking device and it is capable to give service warnings also. I only have this on two of my trucks. You can set the mileage/hour parameters where ever you choose them. A note pops up with an alert - and you take care of it.
  8. Bruce'sEx

    Bruce'sEx Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    Most of our stuff is still on paper in books, but I was given a chance to try


    a fleet program, and well it's very well done, parts in it, work orders the whole nine yards. Custom maintenance schedules. etc..
    Not a cheap program however
  9. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,891

    The amount of time spent setting something up software-wise and using it would probably take longer then actually doing the work...
  10. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Well, once its set up, its set up. After that, its just entering milages and times.

    Without having to yank out receipts for parts, then tracking down what man hours were put into what repair on what piece of equipment, how do you track what it is costing you maintain a piece of equipment? Your cost of maintenance should directly effect your hourly rate for that piece of equipment.

    To tell you the truth, I have no idea what I spend on maintenance for each piece of equipment. And thats one main thing I am trying to fix.

    It was a lot easier when I had the dealers do everything, because I had invoices. But now, we do 100% of everything in house. Even if a front end needs to be re-built, or a rear end needs to be replaced, or a transfer case needs to be re-built, whatever it is we do it. I didn't hire a guy just to change oil. I haven't had anything at a dealer or shop since I hired this guy and the amount of money it saves is very significant
  11. redman6565

    redman6565 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,411

    i have a 2 part service report, one part a service check list that makes sure they look at and inspect everything, the other is a write-up section, where they record part numbers, filter numbers, mileage, who did what and when. the report goes into that machine's file folder. then on quick books, i've set it up to cost each mechanic's time for each machine they work on, so at any point in time, i can print out a report that shows how much labor i've spent on each machine, how much in parts. still fine tuning myself, but it's not bad.
  12. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    We have a filing cabinet in our mechanics office that has a file folder for each truck, loader, etc. He fills out a generic service report sheet available at most office supply stores. He is then responsible for keeping track of when a truck or loader needs to come in for service. Its pretty basic, and has served us well thus far, we've only had a full time mechanic for a year now. With our size, it has been kind of a waste this summer, since a lot fewer of our trucks get used, and we gaurantee him 40hours. We are planning on having him work 60 hours Nov.1st-April 30th, and then 20 hours April-Nov. next year.