Small fleets, which make up the majority of the fleet broker sector’s customer base, have been told to insist that their brokers provide extra services that have previously only been offered by lease companies.
Services such as green fleet consultancy and accident management have generally only been available to the larger fleets who dealt directly with lease companies.
However, smaller fleets have increasingly begun to demand a similar level of service from their intermediary brokers.
“Running a small fleet is no reason to miss out on the long term benefits of relevant extra services such as maintenance packages or green fleet consultancy,” said Jo Elms, brand director of Network, which provides funding to fleet brokers.
“Cost will of course always be important, but the best brokers are now properly laying out the benefits of extra services to their clients.
"This enables them to generate real value, not just the cheapest short-term solutions.
“The typical broker customer that runs between one and 10 vehicles now has access to a similar range of value-add products as its bigger corporate cousin.
"What’s more, small businesses are taking advantage of these services in increasing numbers,” she said.
“The industry as a whole has undergone a major overhaul in recent years, with many brokers now resembling mini versions of the traditional large leasing companies rather than the one-man-band reputation of the 1980s and 1990s.”
However, while the leasing industry is now recognising the growth and importance of the broker sector, it is still guarded about its professionalism.
“As they develop their working relationship with UK funders it is only natural that brokers will also start providing some value-added fleet management services in addition to the basic car package,” John Lewis, director general of the leasing representative associations, the BVRLA, said.
“But it is important to recognise that not all brokers adhere to professional standards.”
Mr Lewis said the BVRLA is working with the brokers to improve standards.
“Brokers are playing an increasingly important role in the motor finance sales channel.
"The BVRLA’s leasing broker committee now has representatives from Lex, Leaseplan, Arval, Lombard and Lloyds TSB Autolease, which shows how seriously the UK’s top leasing companies are treating this sector,” he said, pointing out that the BVRLA issued a revised code of conduct earlier this year that sets out the level of service customers can expect from its members.