Imagine getting a call telling you that one of the trucks in your fleet hit a car in the parking lot. There is no video evidence — just the accuser’s word against your employee’s word. This claim, whether true or not, could cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

This is a frightening, yet not uncommon, scenario for landscape businesses across the country. Your employees are not just responsible for producing high quality work, they are also responsible for safely operating company vehicles, and losing money is just one of the big consequences to your business if they are not careful.

That is why many companies have turned to, or considered, more heavily monitoring their fleets. Not monitoring your fleet, whether through software or through another avenue, can affect your employees’ safety, your team’s productivity and company’s costs.

Ben Hatch, product marketing manager of Fleetmatics, a provider of fleet management solutions, provides the top four issues that result from not properly managing your fleet.

#1. Decreased productivity

You most likely trust your crews to go where they need to go when they need to go there. You also trust them to do so efficiently. Unfortunately, that may not always happen, and blind faith can hinder your productivity. Putting trust into your employees is important, but customer satisfaction is even more important.

As Hatch explains, when you keep an eye on your fleet you can ensure they are doing their jobs in the quickest and most professional way possible. For instance, you can make sure drivers are taking the smartest routes to make every appointment possible in the day.

“You can’t manage what you can’t see,” Hatch says.

#2. Increased operating costs

Just as you can’t manage what you can’t see, you can’t protect your vehicles if you can’t prove where they are at all times.

Hatch tells the story of a landscape contractor who experienced the theft of a vehicle and its belongings. Including the equipment, that company could have experienced a $20,000 loss. Since they had employed fleet management software in all of their vehicles, however, authorities were able to locate the truck and equipment.

#3. Diminished customer service

When you are in landscaping, your customer service makes or breaks your business.

Just as you cannot prove if one of your trucks didn’t hit the car in the parking lot, how will you prove your crew has a legitimate reason for being late to a maintenance job without proof from monitoring? Being able to keep an eye on your crews when they are out not only holds your employees accountable, but it improves your customer service. It ensures your employees are making their appointments and allows you to answer to your customers when there is an issue.

#4. Inflated fuel costs

Taking the most efficient routes possible and the least amount of unnecessary pit stops can have positive effects on your productivity. While these stops and longer routes may not seem like much of a problem, the more gas your team uses every day, the costlier it becomes — and quickly.