On the surface, choosing which fuel card is the best might seem like an easy task. After all, how much variation can there be between one fuel card and another? They all do the same thing, right?
Well no, actually.
In fact, there’s a whole host of things to consider when matching a fuel card to your business to ensure you get the best fit and the most value. Here are the seven most important things you need to take into consideration when deciding the best fuel card for you.
1. Where is your business based?
Where your business is based is one of the most important factors in deciding which fuel card is the best one for you. This is because the mix of branded fuel stations is different across every town and city in the UK. Achieving the optimum coverage for your fleet, therefore, means analysing which brands are most common in your area. This might be BP, Shell, Texaco, or even a supermarket brand.
Take, for example, Leicester. Leicester has a high density of BP and Texaco sites within a one mile radius of the city centre. So, if your business is based there, it would make little sense to equip your fleet with a card only accepted at Shell stations.
Knowing the makeup of service stations around your business location is key in identifying the best fuel card. It ensures your drivers can fill up as close to your depot as possible on their way out or on their return.
2. Analyse driver behaviour
Extensive analysis of our customer data has demonstrated one thing above all others; drivers are creatures of habit. They return to the same filling stations time and again, and only break that pattern in an emergency.
Why this is, is difficult to say. It might be they like the coffee, or the toilets are cleaner than other service stations nearby. Or they might be particularly fond of the person who serves them. Who knows?
What we do know though, however, is that examining your driver behaviour could be a key factor in choosing which fuel card is the best one for you. If they are making good choices, for whatever reason, let that inform your decision.
3. Understand where your fleet is doing its miles
Where your business is based is an important contributor in deciding which card to choose, but let’s not forget where you work. Do your vehicles stay locally, or do you have a regional footprint? Does your fleet cover the whole of the UK?
Where you work has a significant bearing on which fuel card is best for you and your business. As a result, it is important to analyse driver journeys and the different branded service stations in those localities. That way, you can select the card or cards that give you the most comprehensive coverage.
4. Do you need motorway fuel card coverage or inner city?
Related to point 3, the amount of time your drivers spend on the motorway network will influence which card is best for you. The UK’s motorway network is dominated by BP and Shell, so if your drivers use motorways a lot, it makes sense to have cards that are accepted at one or both of these.
If your fleet commutes between towns and cities via the motorway network, but drivers spend a lot of time actually carrying out their duties in built-up areas, then a mixture of cards could be the best way to go. This will mean they can fill up at a motorway service station with one card, but then use something like a supermarket card in town to benefit from the cheaper price.
5. Are you price sensitive?
Some businesses are more price sensitive than others, so if that is you, a card that enables you to shave a penny or two from the pump price will be the best one. Sometimes, however, this can lead to a compromise over coverage, so balancing out these two factors is important.
There are some cards on the market that do give extensive coverage at a low price, though. The UK Fuels card incorporates Tesco and Morrisons, so provides great coverage at the pump price plus a small admin fee.
One to avoid, though, is premium cards providing full UK coverage. Not only do these come with an array of hidden extra costs, few if any businesses really need this degree of coverage.
6. Different fuel cards for different vehicle types
The type of vehicles you operate will have a bearing on which fuel card is best for you. The most obvious is HGVs. If you run HGVs then you can really only consider BP or Shell cards because they are bulk filling stations with high canopies – the only service stations able to accommodate HGVs.
If you have a mixed fleet consisting of cars and vans, there are specific cards available to accommodate this. These tend to have a fixed weekly price which is set on the Friday of the previous week and is in place for the whole of the next week. So, no matter the listed price at the forecourt, you will always pay the fixed weekly price previously agreed.
7. Fuel cards for business with no credit or bad credit history
If you are an entirely new business with no credit history but you need a fuel card, don’t worry, we can still help. Our top-up fuel card enables you to load it with credit for your drivers and for them to use it in the same way they would any other fuel card.
This is a great way for new businesses to access all the benefits of a fuel card while at the same time, helping them build a positive credit history.
Which fuel card is the best for you?
So, there you have it, there are a lot of factors to analyse and take into consideration when choosing which fuel card is best for you and your business.
But, don’t worry if all of that sounds complicated or difficult. Fuelmate is here to help. With our analytic tools we can soon build up an in-depth picture of your fleet and the areas in which you operate and find the perfect solution to meet your fuel card needs. To get started with that process, get in touch.