How to Calculate Technician-to-Vehicle Ratios

To properly maintain and manage a public sector fleet operation, determining the necessary ratio of technicians to vehicles is key to keeping vehicles on the road and operations running smoothly.

January 2011, Government Fleet - Feature

by Sal Bibona

Calculating technician-to-vehicle ratios is important, not only in analyzing staffing requirements, but also when making benchmarking comparisons on an inter- and intra-organizational basis. To begin learning how to calculate technician-to-vehicle ratios, start with the fundamentals and learn from real-world examples.

Using Simple Ratios

The most simplistic approach stipulates that a specific number of technicians is needed to support a fleet of a given size. The following table summarizes typical ratios used for different fleet types:

This is the most fundamental and rudimentary type of staffing ratio; it has the advantage of being easy to use. When applied to a specific vehicle type, such as a police car, fire truck, school bus, or trash compactor, this approach can be used in situations where quick and approximate comparisons must be made. When applied to a "mixed" fleet, such as a local government fleet operation, this approach can work if it can be assumed the mixed fleet under review has a composition of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles and equipment, somewhat similar to those of peer fleets from which the ratio was derived. Otherwise, the simple ratio approach may not be fully satisfactory.

Vehicle Equivalency Ratios

A more precise approach takes into account the size and composition of the fleet by applying vehicle equivalents.  Most notable are Maintenance and Repair Unit (MRU) factors, which index the maintenance and repair requirements of a vehicle class relative to a base vehicle class, typically a passenger car. Thus, a heavy truck, which has greater maintenance and repair needs than a basic passenger sedan, has a greater MRU factor than a passenger sedan.

MRU factors by class are then multiplied by the number of vehicles in each class to produce the number of MRUs by class. These factors are summed for the entire fleet to result in the total MRUs, or vehicle equivalents, of the fleet. Through this process, a mixed fleet size is converted to its vehicle equivalent size, which in turn can be used to estimate technician as well as indirect staffing requirements for the fleet operation. 

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