For companies with employees who drive regularly as part of their jobs—whether they’re visiting customers, going to job sites or meeting with clients—choosing a good vehicle reimbursement program provider is crucial to their satisfaction and your bottom line.

But what factors should you look for in a “good” program provider that will truly serve your needs? And how can you tell if a company will actually deliver on their promises—before you commit to working with them?

In this guide, we’ll discuss the characteristics of best-in-class providers, while showing you 8 of the best, clear criteria you can use when evaluating your options.

Read on to ensure you choose a provider that fits your needs in terms of technology, service and business model, so you can achieve the benefits of your vehicle program.

1. Flexibility for your team

When selecting a vehicle reimbursement program provider, it’s crucial you find a flexible one. What types of flexibility are most important? That depends on your team. Flexibility can show up in: 

  • Your choice of vehicle program
    Regardless of whether you want FAVRreimbursements, CPM reimbursements or flat allowances, they should be able to accommodate your preferences and you get the same great experience.
  • Accommodating different needs for different employees
    If it’s best for your business to have some employees on FAVR (like sales reps) and some on CPM (like part-time or seasonal employees), they should be able to support that too.
  • Changes to your program
    Your needs change over time. You should have a flexible and adaptable vehicle program that can grow with you.
  • Technology flexibility, ability to customize features for your team
    A good provider is able to customize key features to speak your team's language.

For example, you should be able to use your own expense codes, tags, trip purposes as well as favorite places and favorite trips, whether at the team or individual level. This way, using the program is intuitive and feels like second nature to all your employees, ensuring maximum adoption. It also makes it easy to integrate with your existing tools and organize or report on trips based on your current classification system. The technology adapts to you, not the other way around.

Conversely, be wary of program providers that push you toward one specific program, such as FAVR. Because Everlance takes a technology-first approach to vehicle programs, we’re program agnostic. Our focus is always on ensuring customers are using the right program for them.

Take note that flexibility doesn’t mean there are no rules, though—simply that the provider has ample room to meet your needs within broad parameters.

2. Reliable and accurate tracking and technology

​​In addition to flexibility, it almost goes without saying that a top-tier provider’s technology should be reliable and accurate. No one wants to get a call from an employee saying the mileage tracking is off or that the app keeps crashing. This disruption can result in lost time for your employees due to interrupted workflows, as well as unhappy team members if they aren’t getting reimbursed for all their miles. 

There are two main problems that are common with mileage tracking software

1. One sign that a provider is prone to inaccurate mileage tracking is if they make estimations based on point-to-point calculations rather than GPS. Only looking at the starting and ending locations can lead to wildly inaccurate mileage. For example, if an employee makes a quick round trip, a point-to-point calculation would determine a trip of 0 miles because they started and ended at the same spot. A good provider should be able to explain to you exactly how their mileage tracking works.

2. Another common issue with mileage tracking is that the technology stops working in areas that are remote or have poor cell coverage. The best technology tracks even when you have no cell signal (you’ll need a signal for the trip to get uploaded to the system) and, much like Everlance’s “Road Match Algorithm” feature, even accounts for when the GPS location is slightly off. 

Overall, there should be no question about whether it works or when it works. The technology simply does what it says all the time—automatically— so you don’t have to worry about it. Your employee starts moving? The technology starts tracking mileage. Your employee stops? The technology stops. The trip is over? The technology automatically saves.

Better yet, it uses rules to automatically classify trips as work or personal for your employees.

3. User-friendly systems

The importance of user-friendly technology that makes life easier for your employees can’t be overstated. If your team finds it easy to use and even enjoys it, they will be able to get the most out of the technology and adoption will be a breeze. 

Your employees are likely constantly on the go with different levels of technology literacy, so having tech that is both intuitive and frictionless is crucial. The last thing you want is for an employee to find the technology too confusing, and as a result, use it incorrectly.

Intuitive technology also means any new employees can get  onboarded quickly and hit the ground running. 

Being user-friendly is one of the key benefits of Everlance’s best-in class-technology. Wil Fischer Companies, a Midwest distributor for alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, saw a significant improvement in adoption and usage simply by switching their software for mileage reimbursement to Everlance. This move led to time savings across the board, as well as cost savings as more and more employees moved from company cars to mileage reimbursement.

“By switching gears and having the same minimum requirements met, but significantly improving the user experience, our adoption and usage has been much better. I feel like Everlance’s user experience is probably the most user-friendly out of the different solutions that we've evaluated. It has a more simple interface, and I think that's needed for our staff. Our adoption got a lot better when we went to a simpler user experience.”

Sean Taylor
Vice President, Business Administration

4. Integrated systems for your whole team

Another important feature of a top provider with best-in-class technology is that it is integrated across drivers, managers and administrators, so everyone on the team stays connected.

Your drivers may use a mobile app and your managers/admins a web dashboard, but as soon as a driver classifies a trip as work-related, the trip should be available for managers to see. Integrated technology means you don't have to chase down employees for documentation and or waste time due to miscommunication. 

The technology should also be integrated in that it provides a similar experience across platforms, which can be controlled centrally.

As mentioned earlier, it’s important that the provider’s technology can put everything in your language, whether it’s custom expense codes, tags, trip purposes and more.  Customization should be a “one and done” for all employees, so all users are standardized around the company’s language. If they each customize it to their own “language” or shorthand, you won’t get the same benefits, and worse, it could lead to confusion and errors.

With Everlance, an administrator can set the organization’s purposes, tags, favorite places and expense codes centrally, and then publish them for all employees, across different platforms. This ability saves time as well since each user doesn’t have to make these updates on their own.

5. Innovative technology and improvements

Technology is constantly evolving and improving. With the rate that technology progresses, businesses across industries need to keep up with the latest improvements, and the same goes for your vehicle program provider. 

Their technology should keep getting better and better at meeting your needs—and not just paying lip service.

How can you tell if a vehicle provider is innovative? 

  • Do they have a strong track record of releasing new features on a regular cadence? (You can ask any provider directly about this!) 
  • Is the product or engineering team interesting in hearing customer feedback to help improve the technology? 
  • What portion of the company is made up of employees in these R&D functions? 

These factors all indicate if a company is regularly investing time and energy into continuing to improve the product. 

Sometimes you can even get a sense just by looking at a company’s recent news and current openings, which provide insight into what direction they’re heading in. So when evaluating a program provider, be sure to ask yourself whether you get the impression a commitment to ongoing investment and innovation is there.

6. Top-tier customer service

When it comes to managing your vehicle program, receiving okay service simply isn’t enough these days.

Customers expect, and frankly deserve, more from their providers. They need to go above and beyond in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.

So how do providers do this?

1. Top providers should respond quickly to any of your inquiries so any issues you do have are addressed quickly.

2. Providers should be able to tell you what their average response time to support issues is (and it should be less than a day).

3. Providers should offer a variety of channels through which you can contact them—such as chat, email and phone—so employees can pick whichever method works best for them. 

4. The best providers help their customers ensure their vehicle programs are achieving their business goals. They understand that just having a program isn’t the goal—it’s tied to something more impactful, whether that’s to reduce costs, increase employee satisfaction or something else. 

Look for a provider that dedicates a Customer Success Manager to your business. This person can play a huge role in the success of your program by sharing best practices, training employees and driving adoption. 

7. Clear pricing models

To evaluate if a provider is a company you want to do business with, another important criteria is transparency.

Unfortunately, receiving deceptive or misleading information about costs is an experience that one too many people have had. Whether there's costs that constantly creep higher year after year or hidden fees that catch you by surprise, misleading or inaccurate pricing is a major red flag. If your provider can’t be completely honest and transparent about one of the most important parts of a service agreement, what else could they be hiding?

Their prices should be available for everyone to see, and everyone should receive the same pricing, so if you ask your friend at another company what they’re paying, it’ll be the same as what you’re paying.

Pricing should not depend on how good of a negotiator you are or how important the provider wants to make you feel. 

Be aware of nickel-and-diming as well. Honest providers will give you a price for everything up front, likely with a few optional add-ons for flexibility, but there are no extra “gotchas” or “little” extra fees that get tacked on and end up adding up to a lot.

See Everlance pricing

8. Customer reviews and testimonials

One final but very important way to evaluate a potential program provider is to see what current customers are saying.

They obviously know best, and can provide an unbiased opinion. If the technology is an app you can download, how does it rank in the App Store? Does it also have customer ratings or reviews? What are users liking or disliking about the technology?

Even better, can you speak to the provider’s current customers? If the provider is hesitant or doesn’t refer you to a customer, that’s a warning sign. Ideally, you can speak to current customers, especially ones that have experience with the providers that you’re considering. 

Thinking about Everlance? We have many customers who have switched from other providers or compared us to others and decided Everlance was the best fit for them, and we’d love to put you in touch with them.

How to Choose a Best-in-Class Vehicle Reimbursement Program Provider

When choosing a good vehicle reimbursement program provider for your team, remember the factors we outlined above. From offering flexible, reliable and accurate technology that is integrated across platforms, to constantly innovating and providing top-tier customer service, a best-in-class provider checks all these boxes, plus has people that you want to do business with. On the fence about one? Look for shining testimonials and customer reviews as well as the ability to speak with their current customers. 

Schedule a free consultation with one of our experts and learn about how you can save time and money on your company’s vehicle reimbursement program. Let’s make sure each of your dollars is working as hard as possible.

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