Gas prices are unlikely to go down anytime soon. Small-business owners are paying more each month to fill up both personal and business vehicles. Businesses with a traveling sales force or repair service can be especially hard hit.
What can you do to keep gas costs down at your business? This article by Jennifer Gregory for the OPEN Forum offers the following tips:
- Use photos for estimates. Often a job requires two trips to the client site — one to give an estimate and another to do the work. Depending on the type of job, you may be able to eliminate one trip by having customers e-mail you photos that show what they need done.
- Drive at night. Engine idling and air conditioner use dramatically increases gas consumption. So, consider making deliveries or driving to out-of-town business meetings at night.
- Be creative with credit card rewards. You might save money by using a gas credit card with cash-back and/or rewards programs. Or try a card such as the American Express Blue Cash Everyday Preferred card, which offers cash back on gas purchases. Try a website such as NerdWallet to compare credit cards.
- Use load boards for long-distance deliveries. Load boards, such as GetLoaded.com and TruckBuzz, help connect truckers who have space on their trucks with companies that need to ship items.
- Make each trip on the road count. Strategically group your appointments, or establish an informal rule that no one is to go out on an errand without asking all other employees whether there’s anything they need.
- Get online instead of on the road. Check with suppliers and retailers that you frequent and see if they offer free shipping or other incentives for online ordering. Consider whether some meetings can be held via video conferencing or phone call.
Another article by Carol Tice for MSN Business on Main offers these additional ideas:
- Use technology. Check out gas-comparison tools like the Cheap Gas! app or GasBuddy to find the cheapest prices.
- Don't overlook grocery stores. If your company is a member of a warehouse club like Costco, you might fill up at their gas stations, where prices are usually below average. Or, if you shop at a grocery storesthat has a gas station, you may be able to apply store credits against your gas bill or take advantage of discounted gas cards.
- Slow down. Speeding burns more gas, so stay under the speed limit.
- Do work on site. Instead of hauling repair work back to the shop just to bring it back again, consider doing repair work at customers' locations.
- Reschedule. If you're paying commuting costs for workers, consider letting some staff work remotely or on a four-day schedule.