Choosing the right software for your business is never a decision to make lightly. It’s an investment of your company’s time, money, and effort to purchase, integrate, and train your staff on new software.

In this article, we want to look at your fleet maintenance management software specifically. If you are a heavy-duty fleet repair shop, the right maintenance software can greatly benefit or greatly hurt your business. Make sure you do your due diligence before making the final decision. 

These are just some of the things to consider, and some specific questions to ask of your potential software partner. 

Here’s a recommended three-step approach to vetting and choosing new software for your fleet repair shop. 

Step 1: List of Requirements

Before you even start looking at a new software partner, think about what’s important to you in terms of features and what you hope to gain from acquiring the new software. Write down a list of needs and requirements that you have of the software. It may be beneficial to split it into two categories: Wants and Needs. Unfortunately, we can’t always get everything we want, but if you put it in two categories, it will help you focus on the needs of the business and focus your budget. 

Your list of requirements should include features within specific areas, such as: 

  • What are your needs for Parts Ordering and Inventory Management? Do you store in-house, multiple locations, do you do counter sales of parts?
  • Do you have specific advanced technology needs? Systems you want to integrate?
  • Do you have customers you need to accommodate? 
  • What features do you need for technicians? Do you need time tracking and scheduling?
  • What are your needs for user access? How many accounts do you need for service managers vs technicians?
  • Do you need a system that will support your expected growth?

It should also include requirements of the software itself, the cost, function, and contract terms:

  • What have you allocated to the budget for software and setup cost?
  • Are you looking for monthly or annual terms? Do you need the option of an easy termination clause? 
  • Do you want a cloud-based / web-based system or conventional software downloaded to your computer system?
  • What type of support do you need? What training is available?

Take a look at our recent infographic for some specific questions you should ask yourself to determine your software requirements.

Step 2: Do Your Research

When you first start looking for a new software partner, it’s important to find a few good options. Some great places to start: look at companies you already know and have heard of. Look at what your competitors are using. Do a search for top fleet maintenance systems. 

You will find many great articles comparing different systems. Make sure to check out the user reviews. There are always going to be good and bad reviews, but make sure that the bad reviews are possibly isolated incidents or issues that you feel you can live with. Do your research and come up with a list of 8-10 solid options. 

Now it’s time to narrow it down further. This is where your list of requirements come into play. Go through each of your needs and compare them to your software options. Once you get through that step, you should be left with a final list of 2-4 software partners that could all be a potentially great fit for your company. 

Step 3: Final Cut

This is where you dig a little deeper. Look at the individual companies and see who you would like to partner with. Who are their customers? If you are a small independent fleet repair shop, do you want to partner with a software company that works mainly with large fleets and enterprises? Or do you find a solution like FleetSquared that is designed specifically for small fleets? Does the company have a good reputation in the industry? How long has the company been around; are they new or experienced? 

This is also where you demo the software systems and review the interface, learn more details about the functions and features, setup process, support and training, and anything else you need to learn before making your final decision. 

You should now have all the information you need to make a sound decision for new fleet maintenance software. Hopefully, you ended up with software you love that will make your shop more efficient. 

FleetSquared is built with the small independently owned fleet repair shop in mind to make sure you don’t have to overpay for features you will never use. However, we also have options for growth. If you have excessive growth goals, check out this pricing and feature comparison with our other well-known industry products that you can easily grow into.