July 21, 2019

UK businesses lose £2.4 billion a year due to vans being off the road

UK businesses are collectively losing £2.4 billion per year due to vans not being operational, according to a new research study commissioned by van rental company Northgate.

LCV operators that were surveyed estimated that each of their vans spend four days a year in the garage on average. Northgate claims the cost to a business in terms of lost work for each day a commercial van is off the road is £800, meaning an average £3,200 of lost revenue per year.

With 763,000 private sector vans on the road, that’s a staggering loss of £2.4 billion per year to UK PLC. In order to cover the business’s commercial needs, over a third (36%) have had to rent a van on a short-term basis in the past year, pushing the cost of vehicle downtime even higher. In addition, 47% of businesses also incur fines or penalties when their vans are out of action for a week.

Commercial vans are mission critical for many businesses across the country and LCV downtime can become a major source of stress and concern. Aside from the cost implication, vans off the road can present a reputational threat to the business. Almost two thirds (63%) of van operators admit that their business would find it problematic to uphold promises to customers if their vans were out of service for a week.

A survey respondent explained, “We have to either call hire companies that are local to see if they have availability. If not, we either have to get rid of the job or try and pass the work on to a competitor to make sure the customer isn’t disappointed”.

According to the RAC, vans are the fastest growing traffic segment in the UK and their role in keeping the UK’s businesses on the move is predicted to grow. The Road Haulage Association and the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) claim that plans for Clean Air Zones in the country’s major cities will encourage more vans onto the roads – as HGV drivers ‘downsize’ in an attempt to avoid paying charges.

“Minimising time off the road could have a positive effect on the individual fleets as well as the UK’s economy,” says Tim Bailey, fleet director of Northgate Vehicle Hire.

He adds, “As we see the economic importance of vans grow, it is crucial that businesses understand the implications that van downtime can have on drivers’ productivity and on the fleet budget. Whether it’s caused by mechanical problems, incident damage or scheduled maintenance, van operators need to be prepared for downtime scenarios before they become too costly for the business”.

“Our survey has confirmed that businesses who rent their vans, rather than own or lease them, find that breakdown management, maintenance and servicing is a much more streamlined process, with minimal disruption to the business’s operations.”