First of all, what is Fleetio? Fleetio is a web based vehicle maintenance system aimed primarily at companies that manage fleets of vehicles, which is where it got its name… strange about that. This is not to say that it is not useful for us “regular” people who have multiple vehicles, or even one vehicle, it really does handle them all, but it does shine and is primarily designed for those with the large fleets. That’s enough of that, on with my thoughts.
Now why would I be interested in this solution, well apart from being a sole trader, so tracking my vehicles expenses is to say the least very important to me so I can claim the maximum amount back from the tax office, I also have multiple personal vehicles, including motorcycles, work vehicles and a convertible all that need to have maintenance and other expenses tracked to ensure its all kept up to scratch, and having complete logs when you go to sell it certainly helps.
I have been using Fleetio now for several months, well its getting close to 12 I would think and I can honestly say I love it, its not perfect, nor does it do everything I need/want it to do but it is honestly the best solution I have used.
The prices for the service range from free for one user and five vehicles, this is suitable for many Sole Traders and families, up to $149 (USD) a month for 250 vehicles and unlimited users, personally I simply use the free one at this point, although I am considering using the $9.00 in future to add the other vehicles in the family, including several collectors vehicles, a forklift and a boat, this will be a true indication of how well it runs when I do this, but at least all the records are in one place.
Fleetio has many features, many I am simply not going to cover as I have not used them, and if you want to know more about them I suggest you head over to the website (http://www.fleetio.com) and check them out. The features I currently use are; Service Logs, Service Reminders, Fuel Logs, Renewal Reminders and Documents. As I said however there are many other features including reports that can be useful but you really need to check them out for yourself as I don’t use them, but for the features I do use, here is a rundown
- Service Logs: As the name suggests, this is where you log the work you have done to your vehicle, be it an addition such as driving lights, or maintenance such as the regular oil change, it records what was done, who it was done by, the date it was done and what it cost, all the relevant details, but there is one thing that I do wish it had, the ability to attach one, or preferably multiple files to the service, things such as receipts, quotes, warranties etc. The system handles that under the documents function, which I will get to later in the article, so why not add the ability to link a document, or as I said preferably multiple documents to a service.
- Service Reminders: Again as the name suggests this allows for the setting of reminders about services, dependent on the way the vehicle is tracked it is done through Running Time, Hours or Date based periods, for example one of my service intervals for one vehicle is 5000KM or every 6 months, what ever is first. In my case this is set up as an “Oil Change” service which to me is a basic service of oil, filter, grease points etc. This feature also allows you to have subscribers that receive emails when something is about to become due (this warning activates at a pre-determined time prior to the event happening, in the case of the service I have set this to 500KM/2 Weeks) it also emails you until you have completed it, if its overdue.
- Fuel Logs: Basically the same as service logs, tracks (depending on settings I am using metric) Fuel input, tripmeter reading, cost and cost per unit, with this data it can calculate fuel economy and show you on graphs what is happening, a very useful feature, but it could be made better as I will discuss further on in the article
- Renewal Reminders: Well what can I say, its a reminder, it reminds you of something, in my case I have commonly set (in addition to service reminders above, these are a different item all together) Registration and Insurance, it also handle inspection and emissions test reminders.
- Documents: This function allows you to upload documents, any type of documents you need, nothing special, useful but not as useful as being able to attach them to a service or fuel entry, that’s not to say I don’t need to add “normal” documents such as manuals to the information, but I also need the ability to link a document, or as I have previously said, multiple documents to a service and fuel entry, service in particular, but fuel entry would also be useful
Now as I said above, I am not saying Fleetio is perfect, but it is the best that I have used so far, and I have used quite a few programs for this kind of thing. Firstly if I were over there I would add an API and application interface, now this does not sound like much but there are several benefits and things that could be done with this that can not be done with a website only product, the first is cashing of data, now whilst I am not the same as everyone and I realise and accept this, in my situation even though I predominantly work in IT, I am not always connected to the internet, allowing me to store data locally especially the fuel log would allow me to enter data on the spot, then when the device gets an internet connection and can establish a link back to the Fleetio site it can upload the newly added or changed data.
Secondly and this is the other major change/addition I would make to the service is that of a trip log, this would simply be starting KM/Miles (automatically filled in from current trip reading/end of last trip reading) and ending KM/Miles. This would allow me to keep a log for tax purposes as well as anything else that I might require it for, this kind of data is better cashed in an application and uploaded when available than having to have an internet connection all the time, having said that, even adding this to the web interface would be a good start. To further expand on this if they wanted, they could offer GPS logging of trips, these files could then be automatically uploaded to the website when a connection was available, and be overlayed on a Google (or other) map, and the GPS file available for download if required. To add further function to the trip log, a simple “Toll Cost” field could be added so that the cost of toll road(s) could be recorded for each trip as well
Over the period I have been using Fleetio, I have made several suggestions, some have been acted on, some not. However each and every time I have gone out of my way to help them, (for me this is a big thing as I do not waste time on things that are not useful to my family, friends or myself as it serves no purpose) I have got a response saying they will look into it, they will add it or they do not plan to add it at this stage etc. even getting this response as a NON paying service user means I have no hesitation recommending them to others.
I urge people to check it out, its one useful site I just had to share