Fleet News

Covid-19 produces 'perfect storm' for fleets wanting short-term hire

The Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in home deliveries has caused issues for fleets wanting to get hold of vans on short-term hires, the Fleet 200 meeting heard.

Delegates at the latest virtual Fleet200 Executive Club event discussed how the Covid-19 pandemic and the increase in home deliveries had meant short-term rental vehicles were often hard to get hold of.

One fleet manager said: “It’s almost a perfect storm really, isn’t it?

“Because we’ve been reducing the number of people per vehicle during the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve increased the number of vans we run by about 15%.

“With the natural Christmas rush from the home delivery guys, the uptake in vehicles has been phenomenal and there’s been a struggle to get hold of short-term rental vans.

“I think everybody just has to sort of accept a little bit of pain on this one and go ‘it's a situation, we have Christmas at the same time every year, we know this comes, we normally manage it’.

“There have been certain situations where we haven't been able to get the vehicle we want, but in fairness to the rental companies, they’ve managed it pretty well.”

The fleet decision-maker said his company had hired from seven or eight different rental companies to make sure they could get enough vehicles.

Another fleet, which said a lack of short-term rental vans “had been an issue”, had kept hold of vans which had been due to be returned to the leasing company to help ease the situation.

“The negative for that is if we can't store these vehicles on our own sites, we obviously have to pay X amount of pounds a day to store them somewhere else,” said the fleet manager.

“With home delivery, we've got the existing fleet and we've had some new fleet come in.

“A new fleet coming in would have released the old fleet and we kept this back to use for the time being.

“There are obviously plusses and negatives to that. Some of that kit is a bit worn out and can be a bit unreliable, but you really have to take your chances, certainly with the refrigerated vans as there isn’t a lot of small fridge stuff you can hire in quantities.”

The fleet decision-maker said his company had hired from seven or eight different rental companies to make sure they could get enough vehicles.

Other topics discussed at the Fleet200 meeting on December 15 included electric vehicle adoption and operation, and the potential implications of Brexit.

Fleet200 Executive Club: join us

If you're a fleet decision maker interested in joining the club and attending the final meetings of this year (November and December) and our meetings in 2021, email emma.bunce@bauermedia.co.uk.

Membership is free.

The Fleet200 Executive Club is a group of the most influential fleets operating in the UK.


It produces research on key fleet trends and holds events which bring together the UK’s most professional fleet decision makers to debate the issues of importance to their businesses, share ideas on new initiatives and industry developments, and hear from outstanding, thought-provoking speakers.

Our next meeting: March 30 (via Zoom)

If you are a fleet decision-maker who like to attend the meeting please contact nicola.durrant@bauermedia.co.uk.


Key speakers on the 30th March include:

Andy Price, director, Fleet Safety Management

He will speak about the launch of the new Fleet Benchmarking initiative, funded by Department for Transport, in partnership with Driving for Better Business, Fleet News and Road Safe. Andy is the architect of the programme and will be explaining to fleets how and why they should get involved, and the benefits to their business

Fleet profile: Peter Kelly, group compliance and fleet manager, Elis

Find out more

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