What is a grey fleet? Here’s everything you need to know

A grey fleet is a system of business transport that many small businesses often find themselves using all across the UK, and most find it a perfectly adequate way of working. However, it’s not necessarily the best way to run things - it can cause its fair share of compli­cations, and may involve a lot of extra effort, time and manpower from managers, as well as no small amount of risk to the business as a whole. Here, we explain exactly what you need to know about grey fleets, and why flexi car hire can be such a practical alternative.

What is a grey fleet?

Basically, it’s a catch-all term that refers to the use of an employee’s private vehicle for business travel. These vehicles might have been privately bought by an employee ownership scheme, privately rented by the employee, or are simply personal vehicles. Whatever the case, they all have at least one thing in common - they’re not owned by the company. Any private vehicle that’s driven on company business can be considered part of a grey fleet.

A common example might be employees taking their personal cars on sales calls, usually in return for a cash allowance or fuel expense. However, as we’ll see, a grey fleet poses quite a few issues for employers, which we’ll explore below.

The risks involved with a grey fleet

Because grey fleet vehicles are being driven on company time, that means they fall under company respon­sibility. This means that you’ll have to take into account a whole bunch of practical and legal factors, including Health and Safety, Duty of Care, and financial reim­bur­sements. What’s more, since employers are liable and thus required to do this by law (and relatively frequently too), it means that even simple oversights can result in expensive consequences for your company.

Here are some of the things you’ll have to consider:

Certi­fica­tions and legal paperwork

You have to keep records of their employee’s driver’s licences and car’s MOT certi­ficates, ensuring they’re valid and keeping track of any upcoming renewal dates. You also have to ensure that the vehicles are taxed properly, and that they’re properly covered by the appropriate insurance. (This is complicated by the fact that the details of some personal insurance policies won’t cover the vehicle for business use. The employee may or may not realise this - the onus rests on managers to check!)

Paper-work

The condition of the vehicle

Since employers have a legal respon­sibility to all employees at work, this means taking a level of respon­sibility for the overall condition of the vehicle. If it’s found to be unsafe in any way, your company will likely be implicated under Duty of Care regulations. Your duty of care also extends to making sure that employees aren’t put at risk by any work-related driving practices.

The overall suitability of the vehicle for work purposes

As well as making sure that the car is in decent condition, it’s also the employer’s job to make sure that it’s up to the task it’s being used for, too. For starters, this means regularly considering the vehicle’s age, and the level of in-car technology - does it have ABS, air condi­ti­oning, and ESP (that’s an Electronic Stability Programme, in case you were wondering). You’ll also need to think about whether the car in general is suitable for the requirements of the journey - if the route involves ploughing through rough country roads, a small city car might not necessarily be up to the task!

In a nutshell, you have the same legal duty of care for grey fleet drivers as you would for a work-supplied vehicle, but with much less control over the details. What’s more, corporate manslaughter laws mean that if an accident occurs, you may find it tricky to prove you’ve fulfilled your legal obligations - which can be a nightmare for any employer.

So how can flexi car hire help?

In short, flexi hiring a car means that we do most of the hard work for you. For starters, here at Intack we provide a whole range of cars and vans suitable for different roles and types of business travel, so you can pick and choose the ones that best fit the requirements of your business. For example, you might prefer to flexi hire a city car if your employees find themselves regularly taking trips to places like Liverpool, Leeds or Manchester, or large cars if your employees need to travel long distances in comfort. This way, you’re not ever ‘making do’ with a vehicle that’s only just about capable of meeting the requirements of the job.

With every car we supply here at Intack, you can count on us to provide detailed service histories so you know everything you need to know about the car’s background - and what’s more, they’ll generally be hired on your company insurance, saving you from having to deal with any associated compli­cations. We even provide extensive maintenance schedules, so you’ve got complete peace of mind that every one of them is in tip-top condition.

And of course, one of the most obvious benefits of flexi hire is especially relevant here - you can hire each vehicle for a period of time that suits you. While being more efficient and cost-effective, it also means that the logistics of your company isn’t ever dependent on the personal life or whims of an individual employee - so if their car ever breaks down or they decide to switch, your normal day-to-day operations aren’t affected.

Those are just the general advantages - you even find that you’re able to enjoy some that are unique to your business! The flexibility of flexi hire gives you plenty of freedom to experiment with different cars, until you find the perfect confi­gura­tion that suits you. If you need any further details, our friendly members of staff are only too happy to help. Feel free to give us a call on 01254 57811, or pay us a visit at the Canal Wharf in Blackburn. We’re always happy to see you!

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