Time and again I try to cover what some might think is common knowledge. You would be surprised just how many business owners and drivers don’t think about diesel fuel cost. Oh, sure they do when they are trying to balance their books or standing at the pump. Otherwise, that isn’t something sitting at the front of your mind. Especially with all the other things life throws at us on a daily basis.
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The time to plan for potential cost is not at the moment when it is needed. And it definitely isn’t during a slow time, when money is tight. You need to be proactive and seek out ways to cut cost before they are a problem. With all the rules and regulations, that constantly change, you never know when the extra money can come in handy.
Considering all the business expenses, insurance, maintenance, and overhead cost, many of which can’t be helped, it is nice to know you can control them. Just like buying tires in bulk is cheaper than buying one at a time you can save on your overall fuel expenses, if you go about it smartly.
Fuel prices fluctuate, they can actually be unpredictable. So, plan ahead for the inevitable reality that prices will raise, hopefully they don’t stay there, but they will rise. Here are some suggestions to try and help trim those costs.
Spare of the moment adventures can be fun. Have you ever closed your eyes and randomly pointed at a map, thus deciding where the road trip will go? Perhaps not to that extreme, but we all have done things spur of the moment. This should not be the way to start a business related trip. Those trips need to be properly planned and you need prepare for the road.
Whenever you get an assignment or need to travel anywhere there are few basic things you need to do. Plan your trip properly, not just what are you going to do when you get there, but all the steps from the start to the finish. Because a poorly planned trip might cost you more than you think.
There are so many things to consider when planning for a big trip. You need to check the weather report, so you can prepare for the potential hazardous conditions. Check your routes, be aware of any potential construction projects and time your trip around rush hour traffic, if possible. Pack both for the weather you expect and what might come, additionally it doesn’t hurt to add a couple extra items just in case.
Vehicle maintenance! Check your tires your lights, your brakes, and your fluids. This is important as you don’t want to end up out in the middle of nowhere, stranded. But, after all this it is funny just how many people forget to check their fuel. Plan on when and where you need to stop to refuel. You can mark these in your GPS easy enough.
Ok so you have checked your truck out. You packed all your comfortable driving clothes, to cover any possible weather issue. You have mapped out your entire route, even planned alternate routes. You made sure all your equipment is charged and that you have their appropriate chargers. You doubled checked to ensure you marked all the waypoints in the GPS.
But what if you’re heading out into an area that you haven’t travelled before? Or what if it has been a long time since you went that way? Perhaps they just opened up a new stretch of highway, or it is still construction. What are you going to do?
Years ago you would open your trusty map book and hope for the best. Fortunately all those new gadgets for your truck cabin and the advanced technology are becoming man’s new best friend (but we still love our four legs companion too). All you have to do is a quick internet search. Most of the mapping websites will also list rest stops and fuel stations. Or if you have a favorite company, just visit their website and they will list all their locations. Once you have that information you can preset your GPS, or whatever other system you prefer to remind you about refueling.
While you are online it doesn’t hurt to research a few things. Of course you need to know about service stations and rest stop locations. Perhaps you even like to check reviews about a location, restaurant, or truck stop.
While there, take a quick minute to check the current prices on diesel. Unless you have an actual preference or a company mandated location you must use, check out the competition. Now there are a lot more stations and truck stops than there were just a few years ago. With few exceptions, when there is one truck stop at an exit ramp there are more than likely two or even three, perhaps more.
So see if you can get the best going rate. Of course we have spoken about different apps and programs that will give updated prices and such. This new technology really makes truckers life easier, and by using it you can get a good idea of what the rate will be. Unfortunately, we all know the prices can, and do, change without notice, but if you can save just a couple cents per gallon, that will add up over time. And the actual saving could surprise you!
Most service stations and fuel companies offer loyalty cards and discounts. They have done so almost since vehicles replaced the horse and ruled the roadways. However, it hasn’t been until the last twentyish years that they have gained in such popularity.
Now grocery stores and the larger retail chain stores offer customer reward cards. Though, they call them by different names the concept is still the same. Every time you shop and spend money you earn points towards discounts. These really add up quickly, especially if you have one that is owned by a larger corporation which includes both stores and fueling stations.
These fuel cards are simple to use. Usually you can just swipe it at the pump at the same time you pay, with no need to see the cashier. But, if you have things to buy you can, of course, go inside and earn more points.
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