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Top 10 Tips for a Stress-Free Road Trip

The road trip has become a rite of passage for the average American family. It is more than just a simple journey on the road, it’s a rip-roaring soul seeking adventure where memories are created to last a lifetime.

Unfortunately, the special family moments are often forgotten and instead your kids drive you up the wall. Admit it, “Are we there, yet?”, “I’m hungry” and “I’m sooo bored”, are endless comments we’ve all heard way too many times on long journeys.

However, with proper planning the ride can be painless and an absolute blast for all.

Here are 10 tips to ensure you have a fun, safe and smooth trip.

 

10) Sticky pads – For easy access to important items

Thanks to these sticky car pads, you’ll no longer have to worry about losing your smartphone, iPod, glasses, wallet or any other essential item, amidst all of your luggage strewn across the back seat of your car. Buy them on eBay here.

 

9) Sing along with a movie soundtrack

Buy a catchy Disney ‘sing along’ soundtrack for a fun and hilarious journey. With movies like the Lion King and Frozen, Dad may even want to join in too.

 

8) Plan your route around great American diners

Roadfood is definitely a book that you should carry with you, no matter where you are going in the United States. It contains the tastiest hidden treasures along America’s highways and back roads and will lead you to some absolutely amazing diners. Buy Roadfood on eBay here.

 

7) Create a Food Passport

This quirky food diary will help you plan the exciting food places (using tip #8) that you want to visit as a family along your route. Each time you visit one simply record details of the smells, sights, sounds, dishes and jokes you enjoyed. You can look back and remember these culinary experiences together.

 

6) Use a shoe organizer for back seat storage

The perfect cheap storage for holding all of the kids’ toys, games and snacks. Not only will it save you mess, but the kids will love delving into the different pockets for entertainment. Buy it on eBay here.

 

5) Long journey? Don’t pack in a million suitcases

This snazzy storage solution makes it easy to grab what you need for that spontaneous beach stop off en route. Unloading the whole boot to reach the beach towels gets very tiring – this will save you the hassle and make your journey that extra bit ‘care free’.

 

4) Wherever you have Wi-Fi, screenshot the directions.

It’s a very simple idea, but by screenshotting directions, you’ll always have a backup when you’re in the great American wilderness without any 3G. It will also save your phone battery, data and your bacon more times than you’d think!

 

3) Create the ‘Ultimate’ Snack Box

“Mum, I’m hungry”! Copy this ingenious invention and use a fishing tackle box to make snacking on road trips the best thing ever. Fill each section with some tasty treats and create an in car candy store. Find them on eBay here.

 

2) Multi-way charger for all your tech gadgets

The modern day family has countless gadgets between them, making battery life ‘sacred’. Avoid technology feuds by having a USB multi-way charger for everyones’ electrical items.

 

1) Roadtrip in a box

Create a parcel for your kids to open each hour of the road trip. With exciting new activities to play, time will effortlessly pass by without them even realizing. Ideas for the parcel include puzzles, new books, toys and road bingo.

Why not put some of these inventive travel ideas to the test this summer? Make your journey that bit smoother and more memorable (in a good way) for all of the family!

Original Article Courtesy of: eBay (http://www.ebaymotorsblog.com/10-top-tips-for-a-stress-free-family-road-trip/)

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How To Run An Efficient And Successful Fleet

Running a successful fleet takes a lot of work—but you’ll save time and money, and avoid stress, if you use the following tips to develop a strategy for operating and managing your fleet.

Establish Strong Branding

Strong and consistent branding is an important advertising tool and it makes your company look professional. Take the following steps to establish a strong, recognizable, and respected brand.

  • Have a professional designer create a logo for your company
  • Use the same logo, fonts, and colors on your business cards, letterhead, invoices, and other branded material.
  • Choose a professional vendor to wrap your vehicles with a clean, eye-catching design. Be sure to include your company logo.
  • Consider having your team members wear a company shirt or hat while working.
  • Provide consistent, high-quality service. Your products and services are a key part of your brand. Make sure everyone on your team provides the same quality of service.

Control Your Inventory

As a fleet owner, inventory isn’t just an asset—it is your business. Controlling your inventory is essential to maintaining a smooth operation. Use the following tips to manage your inventory.

  • Keep immaculate records. If you don’t know how much inventory you have, you are losing time and money. Keep detailed records and update them frequently so you always know what you have on hand.
  • Consider storage costs. It is wise to consider the trouble and cost associated with storing very large items. Before you decide to store a big-ticket item, check to see if it could be obtained at your destination to reduce storage costs.
  • Make smart investments. If you need to stock a really expensive item, limit the amount to what you need for a few months. You should also remember that storing your inventory isn’t free—if items have been stuck on shelves for months, they are wasting storage space that could be used for more profitable items. Focus on inventory that will earn you the most profit with the smallest amount of hassle.

For more inventory management tips, check out this article.

Build A Good TeamFleet Management Success

Your company is only as good as your team—choose the right team members. Hire responsible drivers and pay them fairly. If you employ people to lift heavy loads, choose smart and careful workers who won’t damage property or be a liability.

You should also carefully choose the other companies and vendors that you do business with. If a vendor is dishonest or unreliable, find someone new.

You can also save time and improve the quality of your service by outsourcing some of the paperwork and maintenance with a trusted company such as FleetServ. You’ll be able to focus on what you do best, and you can leave the other stuff to an efficient and reliable partner.

Running a successful fleet isn’t for the faint of heart, but with hard work, planning, and a great team, you can look forward to success.

photo credit: Portrait of a female executive via photopin (license)

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Tips for Fleet Managers

Whether you are veteran to fleet management or are just starting out, there is always a way to improve your management style, and at FleetServ, we are here to help you find your stride.

Managing a fleet can be difficult work, but if you keep these tips in mind, your fleet will be in top form, all year round.

Design a Fueling Policy

An effective fleet relies on an effective fueling policy, and that means you need to put a policy together if you don’t already have one in place. This policy should determine the kind of fuel that is purchased, monitor those purchases, and have a system in place for breaches.

Be sure to keep your employees informed of all fuel policies so they can help your company save money.

Know Your Vehicles Fleet Management Tips

Every vehicle is prone to particular problems, so be sure you are up to date on all of your vehicles so you can get preventative measures in place.

Preventative care is always cheaper than fixing a big problem down the line, so get to know your vehicles and get a good preventative care system in place to prevent problems in the future.

Always Comply

Compliance with state and federal regulations will help you to be more successful and to avoid hassles along the way.

Learning to comply can be difficult on your own, but with the help of the experts at FleetServ, compliance is a breeze. Make sure that compliance is a priority for every one of your vehicles!

Visit FleetServ today to get on top of your compliance and make fleet management much simpler!

photo credit: dave_7 via photopin cc

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40 Ways to Reduce Truck Fleet Costs

TIRES

Properly choosing and maintaining tires can significantly affect lower fleet fuel expenses and extend tire life.

1. Develop a tire retreading program. Retreading existing radial ply tire casings can add an additional 120,000 miles per retread at about 35 percent of the cost of a new tire.
2. Poor alignment wears out tires as much as it cuts fuel efficiency. Check alignment on a regularly scheduled basis.
3. Check alignment under these special circumstances: if the truck has been towed; if unusual wear is noticed; and anytime tires are changed.
4. Make certain all tires installed are properly balanced. This will help eliminate wear and cab vibrations.
5. All tire valve stems should have a seal-type valve cap to protect tires from road dirt entering the stems and starting slow tire leaks.
6. Remember both underinflation and overinflation of tires will increase tire wear and reduce fuel efficiency.
7. Have drivers carry a pocket air pressure gauge to ensure proper tire inflation when they do their pre-trip inspection

 

DRIVER BEHAVIOR

The way drivers handle their trucks has a major impact on fuel economy. It pays to encourage drivers to adopt the most efficient driving techniques.

8. When starting a truck, don’t rev the engine. Let the engine warm up on its own.
9. When warming up the engine, take about 10 minutes to reach adequate operating temperature. Warm-ups longer than 10 minutes, except in subzero temperatures, simply waste fuel.
10. Run at the most fuel-efficient engine speeds.
11. Avoid idling whenever possible. If you leave your truck, shut it off. Just one half hour of excessive idling before or after a 100-mile trip can reduce mpg by about one-third.
12. Keep in mind an engine wears out twice as fast idling as under normal operation. One hour of unnecessary idling a day, over the course of a year, adds the equivalent of 26,000 road miles to an engine’s wear.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

13. When spec’ing vehicles, make sure all components—the drivetrain, tires, engine, and aerodynamics—are properly matched to maximize fuel efficiency.
14. Adding aerodynamic features to vehicles can be cost-effective. Rule of thumb: each 10-percent reduction in air resistance increases mpg by 5 percent.
15. When spec’ing a vehicle, be aware of the weights of the various components. Extra weight not only increases fuel consumption, but also cuts down payload.
16. Give careful thought to the way vehicles are painted and lettered. An attractive truck can serve as an excellent and cost-effective advertisement for your business.

 

MAINTENANCE

Preventive maintenance pays off by avoiding unnecessary and expensive repairs in the long run.

17. A preventive maintenance program is well worth the investment. It minimizes downtime, increases equipment lifespan, and saves fuel.
18. Winterize vehicles by checking cooling systems, tires, and electrical systems.
19. Don’t forget to service air filters frequently. Before every trip, drivers should look under the hood and check:
20. All fluid levels.
21. All hoses, lines, belts for tightness and fraying, and electrical wiring for fraying, cracks, and worn or burned spots.

 

MANAGEMENT

When more efficient operating methods come along, test them, and if they work, use them. Here are some proven suggestions your company might want to try:

22. Educate company drivers on the various ways idling can substantially raise fleet costs.
23. Create a driver training program with incentives to promote more efficient fuel use.
24. Start a company driver committee to discuss and offer cost-saving ideas to management with rewards for implemented ideas.
25. Computerized routing and scheduling are available to cut overall mileage.
26. Use computerized management reports to monitor fleet performance such as fuel consumption, maintenance costs, driver productivity and total cost per mile.
27. Know the vehicle’s operating costs per mile.
28. Driver-assistance hiring programs that explain mandatory drug testing and CDL requirements result in better hiring practices.

 

SAFETY

Take a look at the factors affecting your fleet’s safety. This can save not only money, but also lives.

29. Keep the entire truck clean—the engine compartment, the drivetrain, the frame, the axles, and other undercarriage components—to improve visual inspection in all areas.
30. To reduce sick time and workers’ compensation claims, hold a back-injury prevention seminar. Back injuries are the most common, but preventable, worker-related injury among truck drivers.
31. Develop a professional driver safety program to reduce accidents, citations, and insurance premiums.
32. Provide drivers a training seminar on safe winter driving techniques.
33. The Federal Highway Administration conducts safety reviews and assigns safety ratings. Keep all safety program paperwork in order.

 

Here are steps a driver can take to improve his or her physical safety:

34. Perform pre-trip inspection the same way every time. Establishing a routine prevents oversights.
35. Make sure drivers always carry: spare electrical fuses, three red reflective triangles, properly charged and rated fire extinguishers, and extra headlamps and light bulbs.
36. When checking wheels, look for rust around lug nuts. This may indicate they are loose.
37. On wet, icy, or snow-covered roads, it is best not to use an engine retarder. Engine retarders can cause the truck to go into a skid.
38. Remember that empty trucks take longer to stop than heavier trucks because there is less friction between the tires and the road surface.
39. If the road is wet, stopping distance is doubled, so reduce speed by one-third. On snowy roads, reduce speed by one-half. On icy roads, slow to a crawl and stop as soon as it is safe to do so.
40. For a more complete list of driver safety precautions, contact your regional Department of Transportation office.

Original Article Courtesy of: Work Truck Magazine (http://www.worktruckonline.com/article/story/2007/07/40-ways-to-reduce-truck-fleet-costs.aspx)

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CARB: How to Comply and Stay on Budget

When it comes to the success of your fleet, compliance with state regulations is absolutely necessary.  But, when your budget is tight, compliance can seem too expensive and overwhelming.

FleetServ is here to help you comply, and stay on budget.  Understanding the benefits of FleetServ’s Retrofit Finance Program will help you make the best decision for your fleet!

FleetServ Retrofit Finance ProgramFleet Finance

Because compliance, and especially diesel retrofitting, is both necessary and potentially expensive, FleetServ has come up with a plan to help diesel fleets comply even on a tight budget.

This Finance program can help you and your fleet to:

  • Consolidate. This means that you can combine your existing loan payment with your retrofit compliance fee, and have just one convenient payment.
  • Pay Low Starting Costs. FleetServ generally only requires the first payment in advance.
  • Penalty Avoidance. Compliance with FleetServ will save you from huge non-compliance charges in the New Year.

With the help of the experts at FleetServ, you can get your fleet up to code within your budget.

Choosing FleetServ

Complying with regulation is important, and will save you money in the long run—and FleetServ is here to help.

If you have any questions about how FleetServ can help you meet your compliance goals, contact the FleetServ office today, and our expert staff will be happy to help you.  Or, to get started on your Finance Program, click here to fill out your application today!

photo credit: ota_photos via photopin cc

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