Small businesses could be losing thousands each year on preventable breakdowns

Small businesses in the UK are losing themselves an average of nearly £3,500 every year due to preventable vehicle breakdowns, according to a new report.

The research, by RAC Business, found that small businesses report dealing with vehicles being out of action due to preventable faults for almost three working weeks every year. According to the report, vehicles are unnecessarily put out of commission for an average of 14 days per business each year.

RAC Business says this equates to an average income loss of £248 per day or a total of £3,472 throughout the year. For company vehicles not managed as part of a comprehensive fleet or rental plan, it is also generally more cost-effective to maintain a vehicle and avoid potential breakdowns than dealing with faults and breakdowns as and when they appear.

The issue might not be a priority for many businesses but the fact that it is an avoidable expense means it could also be an easy saving to implement. A business that is already struggling could find it to be one of a number of contributory factors that could see them pass a tipping point towards business insolvency.

As well as the purely financial costs, preventable breakdowns can also eat into business managers’ valuable time. 42% of companies report spending 75 hours annually – about two working weeks – dealing with out of action vehicles.

Some of the most common faults and breakdowns reported included flat tyres (reported by 36% of business managers and owners), battery issues (25%), electrical faults (23%) and under-filled oil levels (22%).

Around one in five SMEs said they believed that up to half of the breakdowns they experienced could have been prevented, especially if managers had received early warnings of the problems. As well as regular servicing and maintenance schedules, telematics systems can also help provide advance warnings of issues before they lead to full breakdowns.

Telematics, often known as black box technology, can also bring other benefits such as helping to reduce insurance premium and allowing managers to monitor employees’ driving performance for fuel economy and safety.

By Phil Smith

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