Companies have to maximize the productivity of the workforce and reduce expenses to maintain a competitive advantage. For companies operating a fleet of vehicles, fuel is the most sensitive expense head that needs close control and monitoring for which fleet cards are the only solution.
Many kinds of businesses from construction to trucking as well as distribution and delivery, manufacturing, landscaping and logistical services have to maintain a fleet of commercial vehicles. Fuel is a significant expense for these companies, and it is necessary to have proper controls to manage fuel costs efficiently. There is always a lot of scope for misuse of fuels and several irregularities in buying can create a big hole in the operational budget. Fuel theft is a big concern especially if companies have to rely on employees for refueling the vehicles. Unsupervised fuel purchasing can be quite challenging to monitor and control, but business owners have to be smart and active to implement certain measures that can keep fuel purchasing aspects under tight control.
To prevent abuse and fraud of company funds, it is a wise decision to adopt a commercial fleet card system. Choosing a fuel card program not only helps to monitor fuel purchases for the fleet but also reduces the cost of purchasing. By using fleet cards, businesses can operate more efficiently without worrying about fuel theft and misuse of company funds for buying fuel. To know how the system works, keep reading this article.
Fleet cards for business
Fleet cards that are also known as fleet gas cards are similar to credit cards but exclusively issued for purchasing fuels, both gas, and diesel as well as vehicle maintenance items. Businesses that heavily rely on fuel have to work hard to make every dollar count, and fleet cards are the right tools that help to control expenses. A Fleet card is an excellent management tool that empowers business owners to handle and monitor fuel transactions remotely without any operational difficulties. Not only fuel expenses, even controlling maintenance expenses becomes comfortable with fleet cards. Fleet card issuing companies have arrangements with several gas stations and maintenance facilities that offer discounts to cardholders. From small companies that consume 1000 to 5000 gallons fuel every month and have a fleet of at least two or more company vehicles to companies maintaining a fleet of more than 100 vehicles are entitled to use fleet cards.
Opening fleet card accounts
Business owners and their authorized officers are eligible to open a fleet card account. For opening a fleet card account, the social security number of the business owner or the principal account is required. Fleet cards are joint liability shared between the business owner or business officer and the company. Depending on the length of business and annual revenue, some companies might qualify for ‘business only’ liability with nothing passed on to any individual.
Large oil and gas companies offer the facility of opening fleet card accounts, and there are several other card providers specialize in fleet cards. The method of filling online applications is similar to what you do for obtaining personal credit cards. Business owners receive real-time reports of purchases made against fleet card accounts and also it provides comprehensive reporting as well as oversight of the vehicles in the fleet.
A tool for theft control
Possibilities of fuel theft are always high, and managers and business owners can guard against it by ensuring the use of fleet cards. Employees responsible for buying fuel on behalf of the company might always be tempted to cut corners for some quick personal gains which can be effectively countered by using fleet cards. Unlike a credit card or gas card that does not allow full control of the purchases that drivers make, fleet cards are made with the exclusive purpose of monitoring expenses related to fuel purchase and maintenance. If the driver uses a credit card or gas card for fueling their personal vehicles or buying store items, you cannot make it out. But with fuel cards, the tracking is pinpointed.
Creating unique restrictions for each driver using fleet cards is possible. The limits can be on specific fueling stations where drivers are entitled to use the card; there can be capped on the quantity of fuel that a driver can purchase every day and on the type of purchase allowed,i.e., only fuel, fuel and maintenance, etc. Restrictions may also include specific hours for using the fleet card so that drivers cannot use it beyond the duty hours.
Reporting in details
All details of purchasing like what, when and where all find mention in the report of the fleet card. This helps to cut down the lengthy work of matching expense reports to drivers and issuing checks for reimbursement. Fleet card reporting can reveal much important information such as underperforming vehicles and even underline the poor performance of drivers that result in fuel wastage and lead to frequent and costly maintenance. Excessive fuel consumption of a vehicle could be due to poor driving habits as the driver might indulge in idling.
Support for drivers
Some companies operate on a cash basis, and drivers have to bear the work expenses for keeping the vehicle running by paying from their pockets first and then claiming it through reimbursement. For drivers having fleet cards, they do not have to spend anything from their pocket and need not be bothering about tracking receipts and vouchers. All expenses on account of the card are reflected in the report.
Companies offering fleet cards have an extensive business network with fuel stations and maintenance merchants that enable them to get a good bargain and then pass on the benefits to the cardholders in the form of discounts. Money saving is a big attraction for fleet cards because they get discounts on the volume of fuel purchased and also by way of setting purchasing limits on cards that help to prevent unauthorized purchase.
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