Serves the Commercial Small Fleet Market of 10 – 50 Vehicles

Better Life Maids Sees the Value of Fleet

Providing company vehicles is helping this cleaning company grow its business, retain workers and market itself as an environmentally friendly brand.

January 2013, by Joanne M. Tucker - Also by this author

Photos courtesy of Better Life Maids.
Better Life Maids recently added two Chevrolet Volts to its fleet.
Photos courtesy of Better Life Maids.Better Life Maids recently added two Chevrolet Volts to its fleet.

In a field with typically high turnover rates, co-founder and president of Better Life Maids, Matt Ricketts, is using his fleet as a tool to keep employees at his cleaning company longer.

Having company vehicles has helped this cleaning company retain employees since they're no longer racking up miles on their personal vehicles.
Having company vehicles has helped this cleaning company retain employees since they're no longer racking up miles on their personal vehicles.

Based in St. Louis, Better Life Maids is branching out by franchising its residential and all-green cleaning services. The company has so far sold one franchise in Jacksonville, Fla. and will be opening another in Birmingham, Ala. Adding company cars to the business plan, Ricketts says, has helped the company get to this stage by making it look and feel professional to both customers and employees.

Ricketts recently added two Chevrolet Volts to fleet on top of four Toyota Priuses and a Scion xB, in addition to a Prius that is used by the Jacksonville team. He plans to add three more vehicles in 2013.

‘It’s About Keeping People’

The company doesn’t use mileage reimbursement of a personal vehicle. “Most people in this industry pay the drivers’ mileage, but having company vehicles is not just about the economics of the business, it’s about keeping people,” Ricketts says. “By providing good, reliable company cars, we feel like that is a retention tool.”

Ricketts contends that when companies rely on reimbursement it can be easy for employees to blame the job when their personal vehicles break down. And as an eco-friendly company located in a main transportation hub of the city, all of Better Life Maids’ employees can avoid using their cars for work — not just the drivers. 

“We feel like there’s an overall bigger piece to having company vehicles,” Ricketts says. “You have to figure in the marketing value and also the intrinsic value for the teams.”

Striving to keep employees was also why Ricketts embraced fuel cards, citing that prior to using them drivers didn’t have a uniform way of paying for expenses out in the field.

Better Life Maids also added GPS services from NexTraq. The move was less about keeping track of drivers and more to maintain customer service. He says that teams in the field are sometimes unreachable, so having GPS on the vehicles allows him to remotely monitor their locations and to instantly tell a customer if they are running behind schedule.

The company has four Toyota Priuses and a Scion xB, in addition to a Prius that is used by the Jacksonville team, where there is a new Better Life Maids franchise.
The company has four Toyota Priuses and a Scion xB, in addition to a Prius that is used by the Jacksonville team, where there is a new Better Life Maids franchise.

Charging Up

Deciding on the Volts after getting several incentives on 3-year lease plans, Ricketts says the company wanted vehicles that reflected its environmental consciousness.

Ricketts had looked at purchasing Nissan Leafs since the company’s typical mileage per day wasn’t likely to exceed the Leaf’s range, but he didn’t feel comfortable with the lack of flexibility of extra mileage.

Since the Volts see less than 15,000 miles a year, leases were “attractive” options, Ricketts says. In terms of fuel, the amount saved speaks for itself. He says the drivers are filling up the Volts about once every 60 days, which calculates to about $13.50 in fuel for each Volt monthly. Comparatively, he says he spends about $110 on each Prius and about $220 on the Scion xB, which was converted from his personal vehicle.

Each team leader is assigned a vehicle and route. The Volts are on routes that typically don’t exceed 40 miles.

Ricketts says he will continue to monitor the market for incentives and new electric, plug-in and even CNG vehicles large enough to hold cleaning equipment and at least three people. “As a small business owner, vehicles are one of our biggest expenses,” he says. “It is always a big decision, so we take a lot of time when we purchase a vehicle.”


To see more features from Business Fleet's 2013 January/February magazine issue click here.

You can also read more small fleet profiles at www.businessfleet.com/profiles.

Twitter Facebook Google+

Comments

Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:
 
 

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.

Blog

Auto Focus

Chris Brown
Can Alt Fuels Survive the Era of Low-Priced Gas?

By Chris Brown
Before jumping in, fleets considering alternative fuels or power must define their use cases and tailor them to the solution more than ever before.

Implications of Auto Manufacturers Renting Cars

By Chris Brown

View All

Driving Notes

Mike Antich
2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel

By Mike Antich
We had an opportunity to test drive the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel model and were impressed by its fuel economy, cruising range, engine performance, safety features, and its ability to contribute to corporate sustainability goals.

2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit Diesel 4x4

By Paul Clinton

View All

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Merger Mania Hits Fleet Market, Again

By Sherb Brown
Merger mania is hitting the fleet market once again. We’re hearing about potential OEM consolidations and we now have Element Financial Corp. expanding its foothold in the U.S., with the acquisition of GE Capital Fleet Services on the heels of its recent purchase of PHH.

The System is Still Broken

By Sherb Brown

View All

Market Trends

Mike Antich
New Category of Fleet Manager to Gain Legitimacy

By Mike Antich
For the past several decades, FMCs have employed in-house fleet managers in their fleet administration departments to manage client fleets, but were promoted from within the FMC. Now, we are starting to witness FMCs hiring traditional fleet managers. Does this make a trend? It is still too early to tell, but, what I can say is that it has caught our attention. My prediction is that this is indeed the start of a bona fide, long-term, industry trend that will accelerate in future years.

Vehicle Abuse: An Overlooked Remarketing Cost

By Mike Antich

View All

STORE

Business Fleet Magazine - July/August 2015
$12.95

Featured Articles Include: * Safety First * How Much Does Driving Style Affect MPG? * Hybrid Conversion Cuts Fuel Usage by 30%

Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher