Work Vehicle: When Companies Need Fleet Vehicles and When They Don’t
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Work Vehicle: When Companies Need Fleet Vehicles and When They Don’t

Headshot of a man with a blurred background By Ben Reiland March 24, 2023

Categories: Mobile Workforce Vehicle Reimbursement

When you’re drinking a freshly brewed cup of coffee or some other hot beverage, you’re going to want a mug or a thermos. It’s hard to think about drinking it from anything else. Imagine sipping coffee from a regular cup, or a wine glass? When it comes to driving for work, companies aren’t so limited. Most employees can drive their own personal vehicles. However, in some instances, a specific work vehicle is required for employees to do their jobs. What jobs require those specialized vehicles?

Industries Where Fleet Vehicles Are Essential

There are several industries where fleet vehicles are essential. An employee could not drive their personal vehicle to perform their required roles. Among those industries are waste management, aviation, utilities and construction. Let’s go through each one, beginning with waste management.

Waste Management

Waste management plays an essential role in the city ecosystem. Without the proper vehicles, the job would be impossible to get done. There are many types of garbage trucks, or waste collection vehicles. From front-end and rear loaders to manual and automated side loaders, there are plenty of options. These may be crucial as a work vehicle, but not suitable as a personal vehicle.


Airports are full of vehicles. Not just the flying kind, either. There are vehicles to move planes, vehicles to de-ice planes, vehicles to fuel planes and vehicles to provide steps onto planes. All of these are essential to the air travel industry, and, as funny as the Bluth family airstairs may be, none of them are practical personal vehicles.

Utility Companies

Not every call to a utility company requires a utility-company-specialized vehicle. Workers out to mark gas lines or monitor meters could drive any vehicle. Lineworkers, however, need an elevated work platform, or cherry picker, to perform their duties. Again, while the kids might love it, it’s far from the best option for a personal vehicle. Some utility companies also provide employees with trucks like Ford F-150s to ensure they can reach their worksite with the necessary equipment.


When it comes to fleet vehicles, construction has many types. Some might classify as heavy equipment: cranes, excavators, loaders, roller compacters. Without a doubt, these are all essential to the tasks they were created for. But each of them would be impractical personal vehicles. As with utility companies, some construction companies also provide fleet vehicles like Ford F-150s, again to ensure employees and their tools can make it to the worksite.

When isn’t a fleet work vehicle necessary?

Many companies that provide fleet vehicles for their employees do so even when the job requires no specialty work vehicle. Pharmaceutical companies, medical device companies, retail companies, food and beverage businesses, there are plenty of examples in these industries that offer work cars to their employees as a perk of their position. And it might be that some prospective talent view that as a perk. However, fleet programs aren’t without their issues.

The Downsides of a Fleet Program

We’ve talked about when a fleet vehicle is necessary, and we’ve touched on when it isn’t. But we haven’t really explored why a fleet program might be the wrong choice. The problem is, fleet programs are expensive and risky for companies. How? Here are a few of the major issues companies run into with their fleets:

  • Accident Risk: Fleet vehicles put companies at much higher risk than other vehicle programs. When employees driving company cars are found at fault in a vehicle accident, the company is often targeted.
  • Compliance Risk: According to the IRS, personal use of fleet vehicles is a taxable benefit. Inaccurate personal use records can expose companies and their employees to audit risk.
  • Vehicle Maintenance: Fleet vehicles, like any other vehicle, require routine maintenance: oil changes, tire rotations, filter replacements. Unlike with other vehicle programs, companies foot the bill.
  • Vehicle Repairs: Beyond routine maintenance, what happens when a fleet vehicle needs more extensive work? If the driving employee backed into a telephone pole or a hit and run took off with the bumper? The company is paying for those repair costs.
  • Management Requirements: From sourcing vehicles to routine maintenance, managing work cars is a full-time job. For many, this means outsourcing the management of their fleet to another company.
  • Fuel Management: If the employee is driving for work they shouldn’t be paying for gas. Fair enough. But how does your company know which driving is personal versus business? Without a fleet mileage tracking app, they don’t. Companies can limit the use of fuel cards, but that only goes so far.
  • Employee Preference: Fleet vehicles don’t allow for the freedom of choice employees appreciate with the personal vehicle they drive every day.

What should my company do?

For some industries, work vehicles are specialized. The garbage truck isn’t going away any time soon. But companies in industries that don’t require specialized vehicles should consider looking at alternative programs. Alternative programs can provide employees with fair reimbursements for the business use of their personal vehicles. Driving the vehicle they own and love can also be seen as a perk.

graphic stating "Looking to explore Fleet Alternatives? Learn more about your options" with button to learn more, connected to work vehicles

Confronting Concerns

A lot of companies hesitate to get out of fleet for one major reason. They’re worried about how their mobile workers will react. Which makes sense. A lot of driving employees with a work vehicle have had the asset since they were first hired. What if they don’t like the new program? Or they refuse to adopt the new approach? What if they quit over it? These concerns push companies away from shifting to fleet alternatives. One small step in the right direction is a fleet mileage tracking app.

Fleet Mileage Tracking App

Personal use is another conundrum in fleet programs. Because the IRS views personal use of fleet vehicles as a taxable benefit, employers that don’t charge for personal use are exposed to audit risk. Businesses will often charge an average rate every year that employees pay, but unless this amount is substantiated, it remains a point of compliance risk. That’s where the fleet mileage tracking app comes into play.

Employees simply use the app while they’re driving to capture the miles they travel in the vehicle. With the right app, mobile workers can easily categorize trips as either business or personal travel. Using an accurate record of business mileage, employees will only be charged for their personal usage, while employers will gain insight into how much their fleet vehicles are actually used for business. These insights will help your team decide if the fleet program is the right choice for your company.

Next Steps

Maybe your company is ready to switch to a  fleet alternative. Even if it’s only shifting a portion of your drivers from their work vehicle to a new program, you might be surprised by the impact. But if that’s more than your company is ready for, then adopting a fleet mileage tracking app is the right next step. Interested in learning more? Check out our blog on the benefits of a fleet mileage tracking apps.

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