Small business owners juggle a huge number of responsibilities! With so much to think about, it can be easy to miss opportunities to save money. Fueling company vehicles can generate big savings, with the right fleet card. Below are five things you need to know to find the right fuel card for your small business.
1. Preferred Fueling Locations
Location, location, location—it’s true for real estate, and it’s true for fuel cards. The first difference between fuel cards is where you’ll be able to fuel. Do your small business vehicles stay close to home with a fueling location nearby? Or do you have a more unpredictable schedule and use whatever gas station is convenient? Do you see this changing in the coming years? All of these questions could impact your choice of fuel card.
For example, the Speedway Business Fleet Card saves you up to 5¢ per gallon, and is accepted at over 3,900 Speedway locations. (If your business is able to consolidate fueling at Speedway, you’re going to save more money.) By contrast, the Speedway Business Universal Card lets you save when you fuel at Speedway, but also allows you to fuel at 95% of U.S. fueling locations. This distinction will make all the difference when you need to fuel with no Speedway locations nearby.
2. Current Fuel Spend
To find out how much you can start saving, it helps to figure out how much you currently spend. The most accurate way to calculate fuel spend is to add up your receipts, but you can also use the equation below for a workable estimate of your average monthly fuel spend.
- The average number of monthly fill-ups per vehicle
- Times the average number of gallons per fill-up
- Times fuel cost per gallon
- Times the total number of vehicles
3. Current Investment of Time
Beyond the money that goes into fueling, you likely invest a considerable amount of time. How much time do you spend per month gathering fuel receipts and entering purchase data? A fuel card can automatically capture purchase data and driver ID numbers, saving you that time.
Do you train your employees to try to reduce unauthorized spending? With the right fuel card, you can set purchase controls. Don’t rely on your employees’ memories or consciences. Reduce the likelihood of fraud by limiting what they can buy. Purchase controls can limit employee spending by product type, purchase amount, time of day, day of the week, and more. With the right purchase controls in place, you can give some of that training time back to yourself and your business.
4. Estimated Savings
Once you know your current fuel and time spend, you can calculate estimated savings for various card options. Start with savings on fuel. Then look at estimated savings from greater control on spending. If you know that employee spending is a problem, this savings could be considerable. Lastly, calculate how much your time is worth and how much time you will save.
Ask yourself how long each fuel card will take to manage. Is there a mobile app that you can use whenever you have a spare minute? Or do you have to be at your desk to monitor fuel spending and credit limits? Does that fit into your schedule? The more detailed you can be, the more accurate your estimated savings will be.
5. Long-Term Business Goals
Just as important as all the immediate needs of your business, you also need to consider your growth. Ask yourself—what will my business need from a fuel card in five years? What about 10 years? Think about the benefits you will need if you achieve your goals. Planning for future growth will save you headaches down the line.
Small Business Matters
A big business starts small. This quote from British business mogul Richard Branson captures the courage and potential of every small business. The decisions you make now will determine whether or not your small business becomes a big deal. Give yourself every advantage for success by choosing the right fuel card.