Preparation is Key to Upsizing Fleets Successfully

Venson helps commercial fleet managers take practical steps to prepare the business and its premises for larger vehicles

Whilst 2020 saw a significant decline in new heavy goods vehicle (HGV) registrations[i], the SMMT is rallying commercial fleet operators to invest in the latest low-emission HGVs to help the country deliver on its green goals, while ensuring the economy continues to move. To aid businesses in supporting this ambition, Venson Automotive Solutions is helping fleet managers fully prepare for the acquisition and operation of larger vehicles with its free White Paper ‘Operating Commercial Vehicles Beyond 3.5t GVW’.

Many businesses are looking to streamline their fleets by running a smaller number of vehicles by upsizing to larger vans and trucks. This increases efficiency, cuts costs, and reduces carbon emissions.  However, on top of choosing and leasing the best larger vehicles, upsizing involves many additional operational  changes for a business. For example, new licencing, training and insurance requirements, specific journey planning needs and adequate physical space for storage and manoeuvring.

Danielle Tilley, Business Development Director for Venson comments: “Following a challenging 12 months, and with the future remaining uncertain, businesses of all sizes are looking at ways to increase efficiency and reduce costs to maintain profitability and continue trading successfully post-COVID. But fleet managers must not rush into upsizing without proper consideration and preparation.

“Clearly, larger vehicles require more space for storage, but they also require significantly more space in which to manoeuvre, so access and turning space on site must be sufficient. Of course, it is not just at the business premises where size matters – the usual and most direct route may be inaccessible to large trucks, so we recommend fleets of larger vehicles invest in dedicated truck satnav systems to avoid potential issues.”

Larger vehicles and their contents are also a bigger draw for criminals, so site security must be increased alongside the relevant insurance. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) recently reported that “more than half of all stolen trucks are taken from their owners’ own premises. It is for this reason that secure premises are vital in the fight against theft”. The RHA suggests that businesses consider “perimeter protection, controlled site access, surveillance/alarm systems and key security” when planning their new protection and processes.

Danielle Tilley continued, “Preparation is key in making any big business decision or shift in processes, and upsizing a fleet is no different. To ensure the change increases efficiency and reduces costs rather than bringing added complication and unexpected resource requirements, businesses should take time to carry out the necessary research so they can upsize seamlessly and successfully support their organisation going forward.”

Venson Automotive Solutions white paper, Operating Commercial Vehicles Beyond 3.5t GVW covers the three major areas of the upsizing process, Personnel considerations, Preparing your business and Vehicles, and includes a handy expansion planning checklist for fleet managers.


Physical space – do youhave space on site for larger vehicles to enter, turn, load and unload without risk of damaging property? Do you have space to store the whole fleet, securely, overnight?

Insurance – HGVs, loads, and ancillary equipment may require specialist policies. Take time out to consider the differing insurance needs, from standard vehicle insurance to public liability, and the benefits any specific policy may offer.

Taking work home – Will staff need to take their vehicle home overnight? If so, do they have the necessary space, and do you hold the right insurance to cover it in that location? Consider the potential situation where one of your branded vehicles causes a nuisance to neighbours.

Driver training – Your drivers are the face of your business. You must ensure they are fully trained in driving, loading and unloading the new larger vehicle so they are able to carry out their job correctly, safely and efficiently. It is worth creating a driver handbook detailing all relevant details, requirements and expectations.

Driver wellbeing – You have a duty of care to look after your drivers’ physical and mental wellbeing.  Give them support and guidance and offer help when needed.

Journey planning– Bigger vehicles need wider roads, taller tunnels, more space to turn. They can also incur bigger charges on toll roads, bridges and tunnels like the Dartford Crossing’s DartCharge and London Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emissions zone (ULEz). Invest in dedicated truck Satnav systems and take into account the additional cost of certain routes.

Licencing– Businesses operating vehicles with a GVW of 3,500kg or above require an Operator’s Licence, or ‘O’ Licence from the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency.  Every vehicle must be registered to that licence, and the operating base will be assessed for suitability.

Seek guidance– Businesses can find out more about how to run a safe, compliant and efficient van and truck fleet through the Road Haulage Association (RHA), Logistics UKDriving for Better Business (Highways England) and the National Trailer & Towing Association (NTTA).

Download a copy of ‘Operating Commercial Vehicles Beyond 3.5t GVW whitepaper’