Play your cards right with fuel purchases

Did you know a fuel card could save your small business money? The Federation of Small Businesses’ Dave Stallon explains how

Festive staff parties and client gift purchases may have maxed out the company credit card and sent it into hibernation, but there are some cards you should now embrace, to drive your business forward.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), has one suggestion that may convince you to wave another bit of plastic, if your business sees you, or your employees, frequently out on the road.

Following the first oil production cut in eight years by the Saudi-led OPEC cartel, fuel costs rose in early January 2017 and are set to increase, as the cost of crude oil increases.   Whilst saving money on fuel may have been a lesser priority during years of relatively stable or falling fuel prices, hikes will see many businesses suffering an unwelcome impact and looking for solutions. One of the most helpful is a fuel card.

If your business operates a fleet, or you drive many miles on business, your fuel bill could be a major component of expenditure.

Fuel cards not just for big companies

Many smaller businesses graduate from being a sole trader, who filled up and accepted the price at the pump, and do not realise that fuel cards, and their savings, are not just for big companies.

Different fuel cards are designed to appeal to different types of driver, but all should provide welcome savings and other benefits.  With many fuel cards on the market, you will pay an annual fee as soon as you sign up, but FSB members can choose cards that are free-to-use for the first year, before a fee is applied for continued use.

With an FSB Fleet Card, you can also save a generous amount – up to four pence per litre, depending on which of a wide range of cards you pick.  If an increase of four pence per litre would rock your business, it stands to reason that it should have a positive impact if your costs decrease by the same amount.

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Where fuel cards can be used to save money

Fuel cards are often ignored because of misconceptions about where they can be used.  FSB’s options enable purchases to be made at the places most likely to be used by each card’s ‘ideal’ user, whether that’s an HGV driver or a florist making local deliveries.

For instance, an Esso Card is valid at over 2,000 UK-based Esso and Shell fuel stations.  A Fast Fuel Card opens up over 2,000 Texaco sites, whilst a Supermarket Fuel Card can be used at the petrol stations of all four big supermarkets.

As well as saving money on fuel, these cards can reduce time spent on administration, removing the need to collect receipts or keep invoices.

Every week, you will receive an HMRC-approved invoice, itemised by driver.  You don’t need to worry unduly about security, as there is a 24-hour shut down facility.  There are also no set-up or contract fees to pay and you don’t even have to decide which to choose, as an expert team of fuel card specialists will help.

Additionally, employees do not have to carry cash or credit cards to buy their fuel and, with a Supermarket Fuel Card, you can even continue to collect loyalty points.

Make it your resolution to discover whether an FSB Fleet Card could benefit your business. Keeping 2017 fuel costs under control may make all the difference to your balance sheet.

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