Fleet News

Cultural change needed to tackle rising SMR costs

Preventive maintenance, with drivers taking responsibility for checking oil, coolant, anti-freeze, screenwash, treads, wipers and lights is also important.

Ian Thomson, head of fleet operations at Lex Autolease, says: “We use the mantra ‘right dealer, best franchise’ model – sometimes that means an independent.

“We put all MoT work through independents because MoT is a strict standard and most fails are easy fixes. It saves us about 50%.”

Collins emphasises laying down the ground rules: “Don’t be afraid to tell the workshops that you will be supplying your own oil for your service instead of paying sometimes extortionate prices.

"The more you question the more likely they are to be focused on your costs upfront.”

ATS Euromaster also recommends using a fast-fit operation wherever appropriate.

“Using a one-stop-shop all-makes outfit, can prove cost-effective for fleet managers,” says Fairlie.


Roddy Graham, Leasedrive commercial director, on getting best SMR value.


Consider servicing options with non-franchised dealers, and compare with franchised options on cost and service levels. Be prepared to change to an independent if the figures and offering stack up. Regularly review costs to ensure value for money.


If you are placing work with an independent, check that they are qualified and have the resources to do the job.

Go online

Use an online service booking tool for speed and manageability.


Service top makes and models with franchised dealers to protect residual values. Today, 65% of Leasedrive SMR work is placed with franchised dealers; 35% is with independents which saves around 30% on SMR costs.


Minimising downtime and service excellence are critical. Have sound KPIs for service contractors and monitor them; or ensure your leasing company monitors them. Encourage a ‘right first time’ mentality. Good SMR providers are customer focused.

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