Choosing a Fuel Card for Your Business

Whether you’re a sweeper start-up or growing business, a fuel card could provide you with benefits. If you’ve never used or set one up, here is some information to think about.
Many owners buy fuel with credit cards because it’s quick, convenient, and accepted everywhere. But if they’re using a credit card, you might be overpaying. If you look carefully, you may notice that your local gas station charges slightly more per gallon when paying with credit.
Unlike credit cards, discount fuel cards are cash-based, so they qualify for the lower cash price posted at the pump. But that’s not the only way discount fuel cards help you save money. You’ll also get discounted pricing negotiated by the card provider, beyond the cash price. When multiplied by the gallon, and by the sweeper, these discounts can add up.
Do you actually need a fuel card? If you’re running a business with one sweeper, fuel cards will probably not offer any real benefits. But if you’re confident that a fuel card could be right for you, then it’s time to start looking at and comparing what’s out there.
There are a lot of companies offering fuel cards, some brands you’ll instantly recognize, others, maybe not so much but every card will have different benefits and suit different types of businesses.

Things to Consider

Fuel type – Do you use gas and diesel, just gasoline or just diesel? Different businesses have different needs, and you should be aware that you can get fuel cards, diesel cards, and mixed fuel cards.

Location – Where will you be using the cards? Some fuel card companies only operate in specific states or regions. Others may only be accepted at particular gas stations. This could limit your team to just a few stations and burn up a bunch of extra fuel and valuable time finding a pump.

Pricing – The price you see at the pump is not always what you get with fuel card purchasing. Certain products will allow you to batch your fuel purchases and issue volume-based pricing after a certain period. This has the potential to save your company money but could come with added requirements or fees that other cards may not. The key here is to have an idea of what you are currently spending on fuel and if that trend will continue, increase or decline in the foreseeable future.

Controls – Fuel cards let you limit your card usage however you want. Cards can be restricted to gas stations only, or the gas station and convenience store. So, you know that employees are much less likely to abuse a company card.

Connectivity – If you are merely getting a statement at the end of the month, then you aren’t doing enough with your fuel expenses. Many fleet management software now integrates with major fuel card providers and can create directs link to the rest of your vehicle information. With this data, you can get an overall cost/mile for your sweepers, see automatic fuel economy calculations, monitor irregular fuel purchases and more.

Hidden costs – It’s important to check more than the cost of the fuel, in some cases, there will be failed payment fees, charges for paper invoices and card protection. Some cards will also charge a nominal annual fee so check that you’re happy that the benefits outweigh the costs.

If you want to get the maximum performance from your fuel card, it’s important to keep reviewing how the card is performing and if it’s still meeting the needs of your business. In lots of cases, companies stick to the same card even though their requirements have changed since they initially chose it meaning it’s no longer delivering the performance they initially wanted it for.
Many people think it’s too much hassle to switch or keep continually looking at alternative options when it only takes a matter of minutes to check to see if there is a card that could be better suited to your needs now. So always keep shopping around.

Sweeperholics creates quality, original content for sweeper enthusiasts. Celebrating the inventions, the personalities, and the aesthetics that ignite our collective love for the sweeping industry. We are fans, fanatics, business owners, technicians and operators, and we seek to inform, entertain, and inspire the sweeping community and pique the interest of those who are not familiar with the sweeping industry or street and parking lot sweeping in general. www.sweeperholics.com

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