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Merchants Fleet Management Review

Since its founding in 1962, the Merchants Automotive Group has grown and evolved far beyond the small used car dealership founded by Irving Singer in southern New Hampshire. As it enters its sixth decade, it has grown to encompass Merchants Auto (the pre-owned dealership), Merchants Short-Term Solutions (a short-term leasing service), and Merchants Fleet Management, a full-service fleet management concern. It has also expanded its reach far beyond New England, and does business in all fifty states.

Merchants Fleet Management Review
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Merchants Fleet Management Fleet Leasing

A full lifecycle of services are offered to its clients. Vehicle selection and strategic consulting services are provided at the beginning of the process, allowing businesses to plan the type and lifecycle of the fleet, to set up a fleet management program, initiate a fuel management program, and establish fleet maintenance strategies. In so doing, an optimum level of fleet sustainability is ensured.

Lease Options
Closed-end fleet leasing, which allows customers to pay a fixed price by eliminating payment variations and residual risk as well as pooling excess mileage and wear and tear costs
Open-end fleet leasing, which is structured like a traditional lease and allows the business to retain vehicle equity as well as the ability to pay for the vehicle over time
Value fleet leasing involves the leasing of recently-owned or previously-leased vehicles with low mileage, and typically represents a savings for the customer (especially since the vehicles in question are still protected by the original manufacturer's warranty)
Short-term leasing is used to fill in or expand a business fleet on a temporary basis, and is ideal for daily rentals, seasonal businesses, and other organizations (like summer camps, schools, and colleges) that don't typically rely on a full fleet year-round
Re-leasing allows clients to extend the term of the lease in six-month increments for as long as two years, after which the vehicle can be returned or bought out

The lease drawing to a close doesn't mean the end of the client relationship. Merchants advises its clients on the best options for its fleet, offering options to own, remarket, replace, or retain the vehicle on lease. The company will also offer financing and insurance options that are appropriate to the service chosen.

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Fleet Solutions

Technology

Merchants Fleet Management offers telematics systems that control costs through vehicle status reporting and full-time vehicle location (including vehicle speed and idle time). Safety is promoted through full systems diagnostics that track trouble codes, emissions reporting (to California standards), and maintenance alerts. The hardware is designed and built for commercial use, with an emphasis on ease of operation.

Services

While technology is important to any fleet, Merchants Fleet Management's support doesn't end there. They offer end-to-end assistance on fleet management, including fleet maintenance, roadside assistance, accident management, insurance, and license and title services. Drivers benefit from safety and training programs, while personal use reporting, toll management and violations management benefit drivers and their employers alike.

Support

Merchants' telematics suite is based on its proprietary FleetAccess online fleet management tool. Using FleetAccess, business owners have access to a host of useful statistics ranging from maintenance reports, inventory, and order status, while exception reports identify areas of opportunity so that businesses can constantly optimize fleet performance. The software is backed by full documentation, phone, and email support.

Case Study

Merchants Fleet Management helped a major pizza delivery company assemble a branded fleet that would protect and promote the company's image. After assessing whether buying or leasing would be a better option, Merchants helped the company to find the right vehicles under the most favorable lease structure to cover hundreds of locations nationwide. Provisions for maintenance and roadside assistance kept downtime to a minimum, while fleet monitoring minimized drive and idle time to maximize profit.

Conclusion

With a range of solutions including fleet management, telematics, financial services, service and leasing, Merchants Fleet Management has come a long way from its roots as a used car dealer with fifty cars on the lot. Besides the family ownership and philanthropic activities that have defined the brand since its inception, what hasn't changed is Merchants' commitment to taking on the challenges faced by clients large and small alike. That degree of focus has served the company, and its fleet management customers, well.