Many counties and public fleets allow employees to take vehicles home. But what does this option cost a fleet, and how do you ensure that this option doesn't get abused? At the 2013 Government Fleet Expo, John Webster, CPFP, Salt Lake County, Utah, went over what he has learned in implementing a policy on take-home vehicles, and how fleets can do the same.
Webster first explained that you should set a criteria on what situations consitute a vehicle to be taken home. This criteria should include how many miles out a vehicle can go, though he said the best practice is keeping vehicles within the county line. He said that fleet managers must ask themselves why they allow take-homes.
"Policymakers can change policy; it's hard to police them, so you have to have a set criteria for yourself," Webster said.
In order to prevent too many personal requests from changing your proposal, it's important to have every piece of data and analysis on why you've selected that criteria. "Make sure those policymakers are made aware on what the cost is to allow these take-home vehicles," Webster said.
In the case of Salt Lake County, Webster explained that when he first proposed a policy, it went to a steering committee four times before it was voted on by the county board. Because of personal requests, "it gets watered down," he said.
He admitted that this can be difficult since oftentimes it's the policymakers who have their own requests that deviate from the proposed criteria.
But, if you have a cost-analysis prepared for every department, then it's easier for them to see why a policy is necessary for take-home vehicles. "A cost-analysis is one of the biggest ways to influence a decision," Webster said.
This is also why he suggests that every employee looking to take a vehicle home should have to fill out a form — essentially an application — and that these requests should be required to fill out or reviewed annually. This form, he said, helps enforce the policy.
In reviewing forms in addition to creating a policy, Webster said that a steering committee — if not already available — should be created, or a fleet board. "However you want to route it," he said.
Audience members also made their own suggestions on how to enforce the policy once it's created. One suggestion, for example, was to require a mileage log and/or use telematics to track vehicle use.