TOP 100 TIME: Sizing It All Up

Posted on May 19, 2009 by LCT Magazine

FLEET FIGHTS: The ground rules are clear: Qualified fleet vehicles include those that are operator-owned, operator-long-term-leased, and/or vehicles exclusively doing business under an operator’s name. Fleet totals must be verified through updated insurance records (and by other means when deemed necessary). Any fleet total inconsistent, suspicious, or unverifiable gets thrown off the list — or cut to a number that can actually be counted. (No, we won’t say who).
Each year, the Top 100 list stirs up a lot of attention and feedback, and we have certainly heard it all — especially the roasting LCT gets on the popular and feisty forum, which includes distinguished graduates of the Clearwater Beach School of Rhetoric.
While the Top 100 list has its fans and detractors, one of the best things about it is it forces the industry to confront some tough questions about fleets and operations.
Your arguments are welcome:
1)     Does fleet size matter? As an operator, what does knowing the number of vehicles in a company tell you?
2)     What defines a fleet? Owned and leased vehicles only? Is a network of self-insured ICs truly a limousine/livery operation or more of a reservation and referral chauffeured transportation network?
3)     What about luxury-base operators who don’t own, lease, or insure any vehicles? Should independently owned livery vehicles using a base station be counted as part of a company’s fleet?
4)     Which do you trust more: Fleets counted according to vehicle registrations with DMVs or PUCs; or based on insurance records? Pros and cons?
5)     If some operators own/lease part of their fleets, but also make use of IC vehicles, do you count both types in the fleet total?
Finally, just to inflame matters more, LCT contributor and operator Jim Luff states: “Operations wise, (my responsibilities) include buying tires, buying insurance, managing insurance claims, washing cars and maintaining them,  mechanical breakdowns, oil changes, tire rotations, human resource issues, etc. If you are nothing more than a call center, you don't have TRUE OPERATOR issues of OPERATING a fleet — because you don't operate a fleet. You hand out jobs like candy and that is a whole different ball game.”
-- LCT editors Martin Romjue, Linda Moore, and Jim Luff
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