How to Minimize Unscheduled Downtime of Your Work Van

25th Sep 2023

How to Minimize Unscheduled Downtime of Your Work Van

For many business owners, a work van is an indispensable part of their operations, so it goes without saying that vehicle downtime can be extremely costly. When your vehicle unexpectedly stops working, you have to pay for repairs, and the downtime can lead to lost revenue and a harmed reputation with your customers.

Even though some downtime is outside of your control, such as accidents, there are steps you can take to minimize unscheduled downtime. Learn more about reducing unscheduled work van downtime, including what causes downtime and the costs involved.

Planned vs. Unplanned Downtime

Planned time is when you schedule your vehicle to be unavailable for a specific period convenient for your company. When you schedule your downtime, you minimize its effects on your business and conduct preventative maintenance. If you are proactive about your vehicle maintenance, you can reduce your unexpected repair costs and prolong the life of your vehicle.

In comparison, unplanned downtime causes your operations to come to a stop. This type of downtime is out of your control and often happens at an inconvenient time when you least expect it. Unscheduled downtime and repairs can be costly and impact your bottom line. Generally, issues that cause downtime could've been resolved in scheduled downtime.

Common Causes of Vehicle Downtime

Several factors can lead to van downtime, such as:

  • Mechanical problems: Consistent wear and the driver's driving style can cause eventual mechanical problems, a common reason for downtime. Without regular maintenance, these mechanical problems can escalate into bigger problems that result in unscheduled downtime.
  • Accidents: When your van is in a collision, it can cause a significant disruption in your business operations.
  • Getting towed: If your van gets towed, it can cause downtime, and you'll have to pay fines and towing expenses because of the violation.
  • Emergency repairs: Some emergencies, such as running out of fuel and getting a dead battery, don't require your van to go to the mechanic. Ensuring your van always has a full tank and maintaining your van's battery will reduce the chance of emergencies.

Hard Costs vs. Soft Costs of Downtime

Two types of costs are associated with downtime — tangible (hard costs) and intangible (soft costs). Hard costs include revenue loss, temporary rentals, towing expenses and paying employee overtime. You incur soft costs during a driver's downtime. Soft costs may look like lost employee productivity, lost opportunities to generate revenue and delays in delivering your product or service to your customers.

When calculating downtime, don't only focus on the time the vehicle is in for repairs. You should include the costs from when you can't use your van until the van can return to operation. Sometimes, the most expensive cost of the downtime is the revenue lost or compensation for your driver instead of the repairs.

Consider the following hard and soft costs when calculating your downtime costs: 

  • Labor costs to repair your van
  • Replacement parts
  • Diagnostic fees
  • Towing costs
  • Employee productivity costs
  • Driver compensation
  • Lost opportunity costs, such as lost revenue

How to Minimize Unplanned Work Vehicle DowntimeHow to Minimize Unplanned Work Vehicle Downtime

Your work van is integral to your business — it keeps your operations running. Let's look at how to prevent the unplanned downtime of work vehicles.

1. Schedule Regular Inspections

When left unchecked, small problems can grow into large ones that halt your van's operation. Scheduling regular inspections allows you to spot issues early, helping you avoid unplanned maintenance and costs associated with sudden breakdowns. You can plan these inspections around your operations to ensure your business carries on running.

2. Conduct Preventative Maintenance

You need to have a plan to maintain and regularly assess the condition of your van. Schedule your preventative maintenance according to your van's user manual to ensure you do so in a timely manner.

The goal of scheduling regular maintenance is to reduce the likelihood of carrying out necessary repairs later and reduce unexpected downtime. Preventative maintenance allows you to stay ahead of van problems instead of waiting for them to pop up unexpectedly.

3. Invest in Driver Training

Accidents are expensive. Between the costs of repairing a vehicle and insurance premiums, it's worth investing in equipping your drivers with safety training. An initial investment like this can save you money in the long run, as you help ensure your drivers operate their vehicles safely and reduce the risk of accidents.

4. Implement Speed Limiters

Excessive fuel consumption and accidents can cost your business a lot of money. Adding a speed limiter to your van can help you mitigate both of these costs. When your van is in an accident, you incur expenses to repair it, and it can also cost you downtime if the driver is injured. Your insurance may also increase your premium if the driver drove over the speed limit.

5. Load Your Van Correctly

If you overload your van, it can cause mechanical failure, difficulties in maneuvering and issues with taking off and stopping. It will likely lead to unplanned repairs on your suspension, brakes and other parts. Making two trips instead of overloading your van for one trip will save you in unexpected repairs.

6. Update Your Van

Older vans typically have more wear and tear, so they need more maintenance and repairs. If you have an old van that tends to break down, consider replacing it with a newer model. A newer van will have less wear on it and include newer technology that improves its reliability and longevity.

7. Rent Additional Vehicles During Peak Seasons

If there are specific periods when your business is very busy, consider renting a vehicle to support your operations. Look into short-term van rentals to avoid overworking your current van. This approach can help you save on downtime costs in the long run.

Choose Advantage Outfitters to Upfit Your Van

Choose Advantage Outfitters to Upfit Your Van

Every business owner wants to avoid unscheduled downtime. Unexpected repairs can be costly and bring your operations to a standstill. Through preventative maintenance, regular inspections, updating your van and other best practices, you can minimize your downtime and keep your vehicle working when needed. 

Additionally, customizing your van to meet your business's demands helps reduce unscheduled work van downtime. When you have an organized van with everything you need in the right place, you can boost productivity and efficiency. At Advantage Outfitters, we can help you upfit your work van to meet your requirements. Improve your business operations with a customized van — contact us today to upfit your vehicle.

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