Fuel cards for small businesses

Fuel cards for small businesses are an excellent cost-saving device. Find out more today and compare quotes

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We are a team of writers, experimenters and researchers providing you with the best advice with zero bias or partiality. This article was authored by:
  • Bryn Glover

If you own a small business that operates vehicles for commercial use (such as a bus company), then you should consider using a small business fuel card.

Often referred to as fleet cards, fuel cards take the hassle out of paying for fuel and managing a fleet of vehicles that are all paying for their fuel separately. They can improve the fuelling process for your drivers, whilst reducing the time spent on administration.

Fuel cards can help your business to make some big savings, too – you can compare costs of using a fuel card, versus credit card or cash payments for fuel, using the simple tool below:

How does your business currently pay for fuel?

What are small business fuel cards?

Irrespective of company size, fleet management can take up a considerable amount of the annual budget, particularly when it comes to fuel.

A fuel card is used as to pay for petrol, diesel, and other fuel types at petrol stations. Fuel cards are simple to use – utilising chip and pin technology, they operate in the same way as a credit card.

Small business fuel cards allow you or your employees to pay for fuel in a fast, efficient, and secure way, whilst also enabling you to monitor and manage all of your petrol and diesel expenses in one account. The fuel is charged to a dedicated account, which is then settled (usually a month in arrears) by the small business.

In small companies, capital is naturally more precious than in larger ones. Small business fuel cards can help to reduce expenses, and help make daily operations a lot more efficient.

Fuel cards offer a range of different business benefits, including quick and easy payments and invoicing.

At an agreed interval (typically every seven days), you’ll be presented with a single invoice detailing the total fuel card usage and full amount payable. This will reduce the amount of time and resources spent on administration, and free up more time to work on the rest of your business.

Fuel card services

In addition to the standard benefits and services provided by fuel cards, you can also often add additional features in line with your business’ requirements.

These include:

  • Regular reports and alarms for abnormal card use
  • Account management services
  • Tolls – allow your drivers to pay for toll roads quickly and simply using their fuel card
  • Restricting certain types of purchases
  • Breakdown cover
  • Insurance
  • Accident management

Small business fuel card prices

Many fuel card suppliers offer deals and contracts that are tailored specifically to the needs of small businesses, so you can rest assured that the costs and prices you will be offered will be in line with your expectations and your budget. What’s more, you won’t have to pay interest on your fuel card balance.

However, it’s important to note that many suppliers charge additional fees such as sign up fees, monthly charges, and a set fee per transaction. Make sure you look into these before deciding on a supplier.

Whatever the size of your fleet, cheaper fuel prices can have a direct impact on your profit margin – read our article on fuel card costs for more information.

Van fuel costs and savings

Many small businesses use vans for a variety of tasks. On average, a fleet of five small vans (approximately 60 litres per tank) can expect to save anywhere from 3p per litre (that’s £9 per tank) through to 10p per litre (£30 per tank).

For large vans (120 litres per tank), savings can range from £18 per tank (based on five vehicles) through to £60 per tank.

Heavy duty vehicle costs and savings

Some small businesses also use heavy-duty vehicles to carry out their day-to-day tasks.

For a fleet of five basic heavy trucks (600 litres), savings can range from £90 per fleet tank, through to £300 per fleet tank.

For large heavy trucks, savings range from £210 per fleet tank (again, based on five vehicles), through to £700 per fleet tank.

Small business fuel card suppliers

While fuel cards can offer many benefits for small businesses, finding the best fuel card for your business isn’t always easy. There are many companies on the market offering a wide variety of fuel card options, designed to meet the specific needs of businesses.

When selecting a fuel card, it’s important to compare the different options available to ensure that you are getting the best possible deal for your company.

When choosing the right fuel card for your business, you’ll need to consider a number of factors. These include:

  • Your sector
  • The size of your business
  • Your potential to grow
  • The volume of your fleet
  • The type of vehicles in your fleet
  • Preferred payment terms
  • Preferred billing method

To find out which fuel cards are right for your business’ requirements, check out our best fuel cards page.

Benefits of a small business fuel card

Peace of mind – Fuel cards also give your drivers peace of mind; they won’t need to carry cash with them, and won’t have to worry about being short when they need to refuel during a long drive.

This means that your drivers won’t have to spend time calculating expenses claims as a result of paying for fuel out of their own pocket – reducing stress and allowing them to focus on the job at hand.

Fuel savings – Some corporate fuel cards offer discounts on fuel purchased using the card. Whilst these discounts might not seem significant if you’ve got a smaller fleet, they all add up.

More control – As a small business, keeping costs down is crucial. In order to achieve this, you need to have as much control over your costs as possible. Many fuel cards allow you to restrict what can be bought with them, giving you, the business owner, more control. Restrictions can be placed so that only fuel can be bought, or additional items such as food, servicing, and toll payments can also be permitted.

Compare small business fuel card quotes

The information on this page should help you to understand the benefit of having a small business fuel card; however, this information has been compiled based on general information.

Next, read our pages on best fuel cards and fuel card costs.

Or, for more specific details tailored directly to your needs, you should speak to suppliers today – Startups can help with this.

To receive information and quotes from top UK fuel card suppliers, simply complete our quick and easy form – this process is free, quick and easy, and it could save your small business both time and money.

Bryn Glover
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