Adapting to Economic Change: What Does a Scalable Vehicle Program Look Like?
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Adapting to Economic Change: What Does a Scalable Vehicle Program Look Like?

Headshot of a man with a blurred background By Ben Reiland March 7, 2024

Categories: Mobile Workforce Vehicle Reimbursement

It’s hard to deny that we’re living in uncertain times, especially when it comes to the economy. That’s why adaptability is so crucial for businesses to survive. Flexibility is key to staying afloat in the choppy waters of market instability. A scalable vehicle program comes in handy for this. They’re versatile tools that let business fine-tune their programs to keep up with changing times. So, what are scalable vehicle programs and how will they help your business thrive?

When It Comes to Vehicle Programs, What Does Scalable Mean?

Scalability is a system’s ability to handle increased demands or changes in size without compromising performance or racking up additional costs. With vehicle programs, scalability refers to the program’s ability to adapt to fluctuations in a company’s size, operations and economic circumstances.

Scaling Up

When a company grows, it needs a scalable vehicle program that expands appropriately. This expansion typically involves hiring more drivers or enhancing support systems to meet increased demand. However, scaling up requires careful planning to ensure the program stays cost-effective and efficient.


On the other hand, when a company downsizes because of economic challenges, its vehicle program may also need to shrink. Downsizing often includes reducing the number of drivers, optimizing routes to reduce costs or renegotiating contracts with providers. Effective downsizing strategies focus on cost reduction without sacrificing essential operations.

Things to Consider When Scaling

While expanding or shrinking a vehicle program may seem pretty straightforward, several factors are often overlooked. Besides the obvious adjustments in driver pool size, companies should consider several other expenses. These include maintenance and fuel costs, changes in insurance premiums and the potential impact on driver productivity. Effective management of a scalable vehicle program requires clear communication, proper tracking methods and sharp decision-making.

What Vehicle Programs Have Limited Scalability?

Not all vehicle reimbursement programs are created equal. Some traditional methods have a difficult time adapting to changing economic conditions. Below is a look at these programs and the limits of their scalability.


Fleet vehicle programs have problems with scalability because they involve a big investment in assets. Managing a fleet requires a lot of resources for purchasing and maintaining vehicles, which limits flexibility during economic fluctuations. High vehicle prices increase the cost of expanding the fleet, while downsizing may cause lower returns on investments. Personal vehicle use may also cause liability risks and increased insurance costs. 

Car Allowance 

Car allowance programs face scalability issues because of their fixed monthly stipends. These often fail to account for variations in mileage and fuel costs. As gas prices rise, employees paying for expenses without adjustments in their allowances may find they don’t have the money to cover operating costs. This may lead to poor morale at best and a reduction in business driving and employee retention issues at worst. Car allowances also cause significant tax implications for both employers and employees. While some companies supplement allowances with fuel cards, this approach is both expensive and difficult to track. 


Cost-per-mile (CPM) reimbursement programs can run into many scalability issues, including

  • The reimbursement rate per mile may be spread too broad to be accurate. 
  • As gas prices rise, the fixed CPM rate may not adequately cover the higher expenses employees incur. This is especially problematic for those driving long distances or in areas with high fuel costs. 
  • High-mileage drivers can take advantage of the system by accruing significant reimbursements without proportional expenses. 
  • The unpredictability of driving schedules can make it difficult for companies to budget effectively and ensure fair compensation for employees. 

What Does Scalability Look Like in a Vehicle Program?

A truly adjustable vehicle reimbursement program involves more than just implementing cost-cutting measures during difficult times. There should be solutions that offer flexibility, efficiency and transparency across all areas of the program. 


Fixed and variable rate (FAVR) reimbursement plans let companies adjust reimbursement rates based on individual driver needs and current economic conditions. By tailoring reimbursement plans to reflect actual expenses, FAVR programs ensure fairness and accuracy while meeting IRS compliance requirements. FAVR also allows companies to increase rates during good times without sacrificing control over costs.

How Do I Choose a Vehicle Program for My Company?

When choosing a vehicle program, it’s important to consider scalability to ensure it adapts to your company’s changing needs. Consider factors like its ability to adjust reimbursement rates based on fluctuating costs and employee driving behaviors. Look for a program that offers flexibility, such as a FAVR reimbursement program. By choosing a scalable vehicle reimbursement program, you can manage costs, improve employee satisfaction and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

Looking for a New Vehicle Program?

Learn what to look for when exploring possible vendors. Check out our guide to Choosing the Right Vehicle Program Vendor today to take the first step toward improving your vehicle program.

Read the Guide

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