An easy way to start evaluating your total cart ownership costs is to take the grand total you spend in cart maintenance and divide it by the number of carts you have in service (this can be tricky to determine, we’ll explain below). This will give you a “cost per cart, per year” figure. If you can drill down to the store or regional level for this, that’s even better. Once you have a chain-wide number, you can start comparing how certain stores or regions perform against this.
The tricky part is with replacement carts: If a store needs 300 carts to operate but frequently adds replacement carts (say they’ve actually bought 500 in the past 5 years) – don’t add the replacements to your fleet total. Those replacements are really part of your maintenance spend to keep that fleet going (or you have a theft problem). Some stores will spend very little in actual repair costs and instead just opt to replace broken carts. This can make repair costs look nonexistent when really those replacement carts ARE the repair costs.
Here’s a small-scale example: You have 10 stores that require 100 carts each for a fleet of 1,000 carts. You buy 150 carts/year for those 10 stores. Let’s say you spend $10,000 annually on maintenance for your stores. This equates to $10 per cart per year (The average in the Midwest for a metal framed cart is around $9.72). However, that's not all inclusive: Those 150 carts are really part of your ongoing operating costs (as long as they weren’t for new stores). If those 150 carts cost $100 each, then you are really spending $15,000 + $10,000 in maintenance every year to keep your fleet going. That’s $25,000 per year to keep a fleet of 1,000 carts operating. That comes out to $25 per cart annually.
We often separate purchase and maintenance spend when, in many cases, that purchase spend is really for the ongoing maintenance of your fleet. To make things easier, we created a Total Cost of Ownership Calculator. Click here to download a copy.