By Mary Motzko | March 4th, 2021 | | 0 Comments

So, you’ve been offered a job as a fleet manager – that’s awesome, congratulations!

Like all career changes, you’re probably entering it full of expectations and ideas for how to be successful in the role. However, as with most jobs, the reality of being a fleet manager may be different than your vision (and it’s likely definitely more work than those outside of the industry will ever understand).

Take a look at how these potential expectations for your job compare to the reality of the day-to-day role:

Expectation: I’ll have a large staff of experts

Reality: The reality is my operation is ALWAYS short-staffed. Either due to budget restraints or turnover, I never have enough technicians. Or drivers. I spend much more time than I anticipated working with our shop manager and human resources department to put out job postings and attract new staff members. I also must focus on employee retention more than I thought. To try to reduce the number of open spots on the staff we need to keep the people we have, get them the training they need, and make sure they want to keep working here.

Read: How to Retain Your Staff

Expectation: I’ll have a budget big enough to support my operation’s needs

Reality: My budget is never big enough. It doesn’t matter how much it’s increased; the reality is there is always more I need – from more staff members to new vehicles. This can lead to tough decisions when it comes to prioritizing what projects to pursue, what positions to create (or which ones to cut). The budget can cause tough conversations – between myself and upper management, as well as with my staff.

Expectation: I’ll be able to quickly convince upper management of the importance of the fleet department.

Reality: This is an ongoing challenge. I make it a priority to share what the fleet department is working on, what our goals are and how we’re helping the company succeed. It’s a constant struggle to get some leadership members to understand what we do and why the work is important.

Expectation: I’ll be more organized than my previous fleet managers.

Reality: Saying I will be more organized than my previous managers is easier said than done. The reality is there is A LOT of paperwork that comes with running a fleet. From daily metrics to personnel paperwork to work orders, purchase orders and more, there is so much to keep organized. While I started out filing each paper as it came in, I quickly got tied up in the day-to-day and soon piles of forms were filling my desk.

Read: Benefits of Fleet Management Software

Expectation: I’ll get the immediate respect of my staff and their buy-in on the direction I want take the operation.

Reality: Respect is earned, and I need to set the direction and tone – and demonstrate it daily – for my staff. If I don’t practice what I preach, then no one on my staff will do it either. If I show my team I respect them and value them, then eventually the feeling can be mutual.

Read: Tips for Being a Good Leader

Expectation: I’ll be able to sit in my office and relax now that I’m running the department.

Reality: I’ve never been busier and more stressed out. Being a fleet manager is a lot of work and comes with a lot of pressure – both to succeed at my individual role and to make my operation a success.


We understand that you are buried in work. So, let us help. Reach out to our team to learn how RTA’s software can make your day-to-day job easier.