Owning a fuel card as an owner-operator can benefit your trucking company in a variety of ways. Cut costs on fuel, easily load advances to cards for your drivers to use, or even get a line of credit to pay for fuel in advance of that next load.
Premium Fuel Discounts:
By owning a fuel card, you never have to worry about paying full price for fuel. Selecting the right fuel card program that allows you access to freight lanes that fit your company’s needs will maximize the opportunities for your trucking company. For example, depending on what fuel card you have, some networks promise huge discounts but only at certain travel centers. You may get a 12 cent per gallon discount at one store, but then a significantly lower discount at another store. That is why it’s important to do research and find a fuel card program that will give you access to travel centers in areas you frequent. A great example is Pilot Flying J, which offers you flexibility on your routes with over 750 locations nationwide. Many travel centers are regional, and restrict your ability to plan fuel stops in different parts of the country. Make sure to get one that meets your travel needs. It is also important to inquire about the additional fees some networks will charge users to utilize the fuel card. By knowing upfront what travel centers you have access to, what discount you are receiving and what additional fees are included, you can decide which fuel card program will benefit your company the most.
Bonus! Many travel centers have a reward program and/or mobile app that gives you access to parking spaces, showers and discounts. Need a repair? Some programs also offer discounts on maintenance, repairs and tires to cut costs on servicing your fleet.
Pre Pay or Line of Credit?
There are two different options when it comes to setting up your fuel card: prepaid or a line of credit. Having a set prepaid amount on your fuel card to spend is a common option for owner operators. Most factoring companies even offer fuel cards, so that you can get advanced faster by adding the invoice advanced amount onto your fuel card.
Another choice is to apply for a line of credit. This way you don’t have to worry about putting money on your fuel card, you are set up with a line of credit to use, based on what you qualified for. If you are interested in applying for a line of credit, you can check out Pilot Flying J’s application here to see if it is right for your business
More Control over Your Costs
A fuel card can offer you more control as an owner. You can use it as a solution for payroll, per diems, fuel advances and expense reimbursement. If you have drivers working for your company, it allows you to track transaction activity and block or advance each driver’s individual account. This allows you more transparency of your operation costs and minimizes the risk of an owner being taken advantage of. No more check writing or petty cash, your drivers can access their advances via an ATM, or sometimes even from a mobile app. You can also use this data for IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) tax reports to keep your business in check with legal requirements.
A fuel card is a must-have for every owner operator. Whether it provides you with fuel discounts or gives you the flexibility to advance your driver’s fuel card at their next stop, there are countless benefits your trucking company can reap by owning one. Just make sure to select a fuel card provider that fits your business needs. If you have any further questions on if a fuel card is right for you, give one of our TAFS experts a call.