Be fleet of foot to get the best fuel card for your business
Choosing the right fuel card for your business can be like trying to pick out six winning lottery numbers.
That’s because there is a myriad of choices for the owner and it may seem difficult to judge what is the best option for a particular business.
Often, fuel cards need to be suitable for different vehicles and fleet sizes, complicating the decision for fleet managers.
The circumstances and requirements of businesses fluctuate, deviate - and what works for one business may not be ideal for another, meaning choosing the right fit for a business owner can become a thankless and time-consuming process.
Here’s some advice.
What type of vehicles suit fuel cards?
Vehicles that make up a business’ fleet may not be limited to one particular type.
They can be served by a plethora of different vans, trucks and cars.
In a fast-changing world, smaller cars prove ideal for quick city journeys while the use of larger light commercial vehicles are the perfect choice for collection and delivery use. But, fundamentally, all of them are suitable candidates for fuel cards.
But it is not just the size of the vehicle that can pose problems. On top of that is the differing fuel requirements.
Today, even with the high diesel prices, many vehicles, both business and commercial, are diesel fed, while others continue to cater for the petrol solution.
Some businesses, of course, will run vehicles with both kinds of fuel but it still remains vital that a fuel card, when chosen, provides the necessary access to both.
Business differing needs will of course have a bearing on the choice of fuel card. Busy couriers who cover many miles carrying out daily deliveries will have much different requirements than an architect providing company cars for its senior executives.
What are the benefits?
Fuel cards can save your business money, simplify your monitoring of mileage and fleet efficiency and make budgeting easier by giving you greater control over your expenses.
They can help reduce your company's carbon footprint, reduce admin and simplify VAT claims.
Some fuel cards can be used not only to purchase fuel, but paying for tolls, or even buy goods or services from the forecourt, such as car washes.
What are the different types?
There are two main options for fuel cards. The first offers a pump-related price, which simply follows the price on the forecourt. This offers great network coverage. Users could also be given a set pence per litre discount or surcharge against the forecourt price.
The second option is a fixed price card, in which your fuel rate is set in advance at a weekly rate. This means you know what you’ll be paying, regardless of fluctuations at the forecourt.
Either way, you’ll get a weekly invoice detailing all transactions for all the cards assigned to your business, which you can pay by direct debit.
There are multiple brands of fuel cards. But businesses are not on their own when it comes to making a choice.
Comparison site iCompario details them all, for example, and gives you the chance to fill in a simple form to guide your choice.
One factor that must be included in any choice of fuel card is the size of a fleet.
Larger commercial fleets may need to ensure they are covered for trips, locally and nationally. They may prioritise having control, along with reporting and operational efficiency, with an emphasis on managing multiple vehicles, drivers and fuel cards.
A smaller fleet operator, meanwhile, could choose to enjoy benefit add-ons with fuel cards, such as loyalty points at supermarkets.
It pays to be wise and have a closer look at the marketplace before making a decision on the best fuel card for your type of fleet, whether you are a one-man band grocer delivering goods locally to a huge commercial operation with deliveries across the UK.
Getting the right fuel card could put more money in your pocket. And that is never a bad thing now, is it?