When your workshop was young and your fleet was small, it probably made sense to outsource your brake testing to a test centre with its own brake tester.
Equipment can be costly, with an up-front investment that takes time to recover – and it’s not always clear how long you’ll have to wait to start seeing savings.
But as your company grows (and your fleet grows with it), the long-term costs of outsourced tests can start to outweigh the short-term costs of buying your own brake testers.
For every business with a fleet, there’s a point in their journey where the investment makes sense – and we’re here to help you find it.
1. How many vehicles are in my fleet?
This is the biggest question to ask first – and it comes with the easiest maths.
When you outsource your brake testing, that cost gets multiplied by the number of vehicles you have.
When you invest in your own brake tester, that cost gets divided between the same number of vehicles (for each location or warehouse).
So the more vehicles you have, the more you’re paying for outsourced tests – and the more you could save by investing in an in-house brake tester.
2. How many axles do I have on each vehicle?
Every axle needs its own brake test. And when you’re outsourcing those tests, your tri-axle vehicles are costing you extra.
But when you buy your own brake tester, there’s no extra multiplier. So if your fleet is full of vehicles with 3 or 4 axles, you’re squeezing extra value out of every test you complete in-house.
3. How long does it take to drive to the test centre?
If you’re lucky enough to have a test centre nearby, this probably won’t be an issue.
But for some of our customers, they’re looking at a 90-minute trip each way – just to get a single vehicle tested!
That’s a lot of time spent off the road and out of use (for both your vehicle and its driver). So the more time you waste doing a round trip to the test centre, the more you could save by bringing your testing in-house.
4. How many miles is the trip to the test centre?
A long trip to the test centre can waste time. But it also adds unnecessary mileage onto your vehicles.
That means extra fuel, extra wear and tear on your vehicle – and ironically, all those extra trips could mean that your brakes need testing more often!
5. What does a trip cost me in fuel, and wear and tear?
Every trip your vehicle takes comes with its own costs: the cost of fuel, and the long-term costs of repair and maintenance.
And once you start to take note of these costs and see them add up, you’ll get an idea of exactly how much extra you’re paying for every outsourced brake test.
6. How much does the test cost per axle?
Test centres don’t just charge per vehicle – they charge per axle. So if you want a true reflection of what your outsourced tests are costing you, you need to factor in the cost per axle.
7. How much am I paying my driver for the trip?
Every trip needs a driver. And that means every trip is taking chunks out of your payroll, regardless of whether your workers are salaried or paid hourly.
That means a 90-minute journey to a test centre is taking at least 3 hours of your employees’ paid time just in the commute, never mind any possible waiting around once they reach the centre – for every single vehicle that needs testing!
And, if a vehicle fails its test, you’ve got to absorb those costs all over again when you re-test after correcting the faults.
8. What else could we be using that time for?
No matter how you look at it, 3-4 hours of working time is a significant loss.
And if you’re testing a fleet of 50 vehicles once a quarter?
You’re effectively paying one full-time worker to do little more than drive vehicles to their tests and back.
Even on a smaller scale, one single trip could be put to better use. That’s 3-4 hours where your drivers could be making an extra delivery, your sales teams could be closing another deal – or your marketing teams could be finding another new customer.
With a solid understanding of your situation and your costs, it’s time to start putting that data to good use.
So here’s a simple formula to give you the cost per vehicle of outsourcing your brake tests, using your answers from questions 5, 6, and 7.
The total cost per vehicle = The cost of the trip + The cost of the test + The cost of the driver’s time.
With that number at hand, we’re ready for the final question – and it’s the most important question of all:
9. How soon will a brake tester pay for itself – and how much will it save?
In terms of the time savings, an in-house brake tester gives you immediate results. There’s no extra journey, and no time wasted.
But when it comes to the cost savings, things get a little more complicated – and it’ll take some time before you start to see the numbers swing in your favour.
If you’re a business with a considerable fleet, an in-house brake tester should pay for itself within 3-5 years, with positive net savings following every year after that.
And the larger your fleet, the faster you’ll see those savings:
One of our own clients here at Totalkare has a fleet of more than 120 vehicles. After bringing their brake testing in-house, their new equipment paid for itself within 12 months – and they’re set to save as much as £300,000 over the next 10 years.
Ready to see how much you could save?
Crunching the numbers on a new investment is never easy. And with so many costs spread over multiple years, calculating your ROI can be even harder.
So to make life simple, we’ve put together a handy Brake Test Calculator to show you how much you could save over a five-year period – based on the number of vehicles and the number of tests you need.
It’s fast, easy, and completely free. So if you’re looking for the numbers you need to make a decision, check out our free Brake Test Calculator to see how the numbers stack up.