FLEETS are paying inflated service and maintenance costs because they are failing to investigate labour rates fully, a leading fleet manager has claimed. In response to our recent story about Mercedes-Benz dealer rates, Richard Winter, fleet manager for the London Borough of Hillingdon, said fleets had to identify the element of labour rates that applied to a technician's work, and the elements that covered value-added services such as courtesy cars.
'If you can control your costs, and find out exactly what you are paying for in maintenance and servicing, you can find good rates,' he said. 'So much of labour rates at dealers goes on paying for overheads like smart showrooms, advertising or loan vehicles, which fleets don't really need.'
Winter has slashed Hillingdon Council's annual fleet maintenance bill by 40% to £600,000 by using reputable independent garages rather than main dealers. These garages still fit approved parts and residual values, warranties or leases are not affected.