Whether you’re running a small or large fleet or something in between, understanding the ins and outs of commercial vehicles is essential.

This guide will take you through everything you need to know about what makes a vehicle “commercial” and how to manage them effectively.


What Makes a Vehicle Commercial?

A commercial vehicle is defined as a vehicle that is used for commercial purposes such as the transportation of goods or services. This includes vans, trucks, buses, delivery vehicles, and semi-trucks—a $485 billion market in 2021. In the United States, commercial vehicles are classified based on their gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). GVWR is the maximum weight that the vehicle is designed to carry, including the weight of the vehicle itself. Commercial vehicles are typically much heavier than non-commercial vehicles, and this can affect the type of license and insurance the driver needs to operate the vehicle.


The intended use of the vehicle is also important in defining whether or not it is a commercial vehicle. For example, a pickup truck used for personal use is not considered a commercial vehicle, while a similar pickup truck used for hauling goods or work equipment is considered a commercial vehicle. Similarly, a vehicle with branding or signage for a business is more likely to be considered a commercial vehicle than a vehicle with no branding.


In addition to weight and intended use, another factor in defining a commercial vehicle is the frequency of use. If a vehicle is used for commercial purposes more than 50% of the time, then it is likely to be classified as a commercial vehicle. This can include vehicles used for delivery, transportation, and construction work. Companies must ensure that their commercial vehicles meet the requirements for safety and compliance, including regular inspections and maintenance.


Keep in mind that the specific definition of commercial vehicle can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so make sure you know what the specifics are for your market. 


Managing Commercial Vehicles

Managing commercial vehicles can be daunting at times, but it doesn’t have to be. With better strategies and the effective use of technology, you could streamline your entire fleet management process. Here are some essential tips to help you manage commercial vehicles effectively:


  1. Establish Fleet Policies and Procedures


Making sure your entire organization has access to specific rules and regulations about operations, maintenance, employee training, and safety is crucial. Ensure that your employees understand the policies and procedures and follow them accordingly. This will minimize downtime, save costs and improve safety.


  1. Use Telematics and Fleet Management Software


Telematics and fleet management software like GPS Trackit provides real-time data on your vehicle’s location, fuel efficiency, and driver behavior. This technology helps to optimize routes, scheduling, and maintenance, reducing fuel consumption and idle time while improving overall efficiency.


  1. Schedule Regular Maintenance


Regular maintenance of commercial vehicles ensures that they remain in optimal condition and reduce the likelihood of breakdowns or accidents. Schedule routine maintenance checks and repairs for each vehicle in your fleet, including oil changes, tire rotations, brake inspections, and other necessary repairs. Preventative maintenance helps keep vehicles on the road and lets you plan vehicle downtime without disrupting your operations. 


  1. Train Your Drivers


One of the biggest assets for your commercial fleet is your drivers, and providing them with proper training is essential. Train all drivers on safety rules and regulations, vehicle operation, and response to emergencies. Regular driver training and continuing education will help ensure the overall safety and success of your fleet.


  1. Stay Compliant with Regulations


As a fleet manager, you must stay up-to-date on all regulations related to commercial vehicles in your jurisdiction. Stay informed of any changes related to safety regulations, emissions standards, insurance requirements, and other relevant policies. The best fleet management software automates the record-keeping aspects of many regulatory responsibilities, giving you more time to focus on generating revenue and keeping customers happy. 


To learn more about how fleet managers are getting more out of the assets and drivers they already have, talk to an experienced Fleet Advisor today for a demo customized for your business.