As a small business owner, you would know that fuel is one of your major pain points when it comes to overheads. You need to keep the fuel costs in check to protect your bottom line.
The million-dollar question is, how do you cut down your fuel costs. The answer is efficient fuel management. If you have a large fleet, then every drop of fuel adds up.
Here’s a rundown of some effective tips to manage fuel costs better.
Cost-Effective Tips For Fuel Management
The best way to stay connected to your fleet when they are on duty is telematics. Both historical and live fleet performance is available whenever you need it making it possible for you to take corrective action as and when required.
Telematics allows you to understand the driver’s fuel habits better, allowing you to identify the areas where cost-cutting is possible.
The data for your telematics system is gathered using GPS or global positioning systems. GPS has tools like geofencing, which helps you track the location of the vehicle, movement, and speed.
You can capture driver activity, which could be a cause of excessive fuel consumption like aggressive acceleration or braking harshly. In essence, you can learn the details about fleet tracking from your telematics system.
If your vehicle does not receive the proper maintenance, then you pay a huge price in terms of downtime. This means you stand to lose a customer because of a missed appointment or delayed delivery, or your employee may be late to a critical business meeting.
To ensure that your profits and reputation don’t take a beating, your vehicles need to undergo scheduled maintenance regularly, which would take care of the following:
- Vehicle exterior which includes the tires, any visible damage to the body of the vehicle, and blinkers
- Important fluids required for the vehicle like engine oil, brake oil, and screenwash
- Interiors of the vehicle and any equipment inside it like mirrors or seat belts
- Proper functioning of parts like the lights, fuel, brakes, wipers, or horn
When your vehicles are serviced regularly, you minimize the risks of downtime and enjoy higher fuel efficiency. Regular servicing allows you to identify any serious issues with the engine and enjoy improved fuel efficiency by 27%.
Ensure that your drivers are aware of these best practices so that they can detect any issues and get them addressed in advance.
Saving On Fuel Costs
Fuel costs vary from fuel station to station. While topping up at supermarket fuel stations can lower your costs, fuel at motorway service stations come at a premium.
To avoid this cost, creating a preferred suppliers’ list and making it a part of your company vehicle policy is essential. You can create the list by finding the most economical prices by comparing prices online.
Telematics can solve this dilemma, too, by integrating fuel card companies. Fuel cards are provided by well-known oil companies, and drivers can avail discounts on fuel purchases with these. Drivers can pay with fuel cards instead of cash, debit, or credit cards and get supermarket loyalty points every time fuel is purchased.
These companies ensure that your drivers find the nearest and most economical fuel stations. You get unlimited fuel cards for your drivers.
As a fleet owner, it’s also important to be aware of IFTA or International Fuel Tax Reporting. Commercial trucking companies looking for a way to calculate IFTA miles can use telematics to manage their fuel costs.
Best Driving Practices
Not only does sensible driving minimize accidents to lower wear and tear, but it also helps small businesses save costs in terms of fuel.
To ensure that your drivers follow best practices, you need to educate them. Apart from enrolling them for driver training schemes, drivers need to be taught to watch out for tire pressure, avoiding idling or acceleration, and sudden braking.
Telematics will help you identify drivers who are not following best practices and take the remedial action in advance. Drivers will be informed where they are going wrong and how they can improve their driving.
Your drivers are your most precious resource. They are your link to finding the best cost-saving options like shortcuts, most economical fuel stations, etc. because of their extensive experience.
A driver’s survey is your best bet to collect this valuable data. Using a third-party online service provider for the survey will keep the identity of the drivers’ anonymous.
If you incorporate the feedback given by the driver on the best routes or the cheapest fuel stations in the company fleet policy, they feel valued. This would improve their productivity since they would always try to find ways in which to improve the fuel efficiency of the fleet.
Telematics also provide information on the fastest possible routes, factors that could reduce the probability of road accidents, and road closures. This will significantly improve the efficiency of your fleet.
With technology by your side, you can save a lot on fuel by conducting important meetings with employees through conference calls. Unless it is absolutely essential, face-to-face meetings should be avoided. Apart from cost savings, there are time savings as well, which add to your annual profits.
The different incentives you can offer drivers include monetary rewards like cash or gift certificates. There are recognition rewards where plaques and mementos are given to top performers like the ‘Driver of the Month’ award. If the Driver of the Month can perform consistently, they can be Driver of the Year and be earn a cash bonus.
If drivers feel that the promotion offered by you is attainable, they will consider it an incentive. You could create a reward catalog that could have incentives ranging from t-shirts or coffee mugs to lunch with the CEO or a Professional Development program. A bulletin board featuring the top performers is a great idea too.
Enjoy Higher Revenues With Better Fuel Management
Fuel is a major part of your expense bill as a small business owner. However, with these smart fuel management tips, you can cut down on fuel costs.
Telematics plays a huge role when it comes to cost savings for your fleet. Install a telematics system, educate your drivers on the best driving practices, provide them with incentives, and watch your revenues grow.