Does your business spend a lot on fuel?
Here are our top tips on how to save money on your motoring costs
If your business involves a lot of driving, high fuel costs can quickly eat into your profits.
That said, it’s an expense you can bring down by taking a smart approach to where you fill up. Indeed, according to a recent article in This is Money, individual drivers can save a yearly average of £226 on petrol and £158 on diesel simply by shopping around.
Saving money is simpler to do if you live in an area where there are plenty of forecourts to choose from. As a rule, supermarkets will offer lower prices (largely to lure shoppers into their aisles), while motorway service stations tend to charge top dollar to a captive audience.
The trick is to be organised. If you and your employees or colleagues get in the habit of using fuel comparison services such as PetrolPrices or SimpleMotoring, you can quickly locate the filling station that’s currently offering the lowest prices near you.
If your business has a fleet of five cars, doing this could add up to a saving of well over a thousand pounds each year!
It’s quite an eye-opening figure, but it’s also worth knowing that – with a bit of planning – there are other ways of bringing your business fuel costs down. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Keep your vehicles well maintained
Even something as simple as keeping tyres properly inflated can save you money. At my local petrol station, it costs 20p to pump your tyres up to the correct pressure – which then gives you an average of 0.6% better fuel efficiency (and up to 3% in some cases). If you make sure that you and your colleagues check your tyres as little as once a month, you will find you are using less fuel.
In the same way, don’t be tempted to skimp on vehicle servicing. Engine issues such as a cylinder that isn’t properly igniting can make your fuel usage rocket.
If your business has a number of vehicles, installing a telematics system can be a wise move. These not only track the location of your cars or vans but they also give you vital feedback about fuel usage and driving habits. If certain drivers tend to drive at high speeds, or have a habit of rapid acceleration, a good system will tell you.
Train people to drive in a fuel-efficient way
When people drive too fast or accelerate and brake too rapidly, they use extra fuel. Training them to drive in a more efficient way will help drive down their fuel usage. If you do use a telematics system, it may be able to give drivers feedback that helps them improve their driving styles. Some even offer apps that give drivers challenges, rather like a game!
Use route planning
Seasoned drivers often pride themselves on being able to get to a destination without a map or sat-nav. But now that navigation aids offer real-time updates, they can help you avoid congestion and delays as well as to plan quicker journeys. Quicker trips and fewer delays cut fuel usage as well as help reduce driver frustration.
Only make necessary trips
If you make deliveries for a living, then every trip is going to be necessary (although you can use route planning systems to devise the most efficient circuits for multiple deliveries). However, if you mostly travel to meetings, it might be worth considering whether some of them could be conducted over the phone or via video conferencing. Yes, it’s important to develop good face-to-face meetings with clients and suppliers but not every meeting needs to be in person.
As you can see, when fuel prices are high, there are plenty of strategies you can devise to keep control of your costs. If this is an area you’ve not yet considered, start by shopping around for your petrol or diesel – and if you like the savings you make, try some of the other ideas in this post. Your profit margins will thank you for it!
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About Ben Locker
Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.