Gas tips for small businesses

With high gas prices, here are eight tips to help get the most for your money.

May 9, 2014
Supplier News

With the high prices of gas weighing heavily on small businesses these days, Connie Certusi, executive vice president and general manager of Sage North America’s Small Business Accounting, offers the following gas tips for small businesses:

• Plan, plan, plan -
With the help of websites such as Google Maps, plan out your deliveries and group them by area, date and time, when possible. Additionally, change your hours of delivery so that you aren’t sitting in rush-hour traffic, which wastes both time and gas. Using GPS can also help you avoid getting lost and wasting gas by circling the block. Lastly, consider asking customers who live nearby to pick up their orders rather than shipping it to them.

• Do your homework -
Your competitors might be passing along the higher cost of gas to customers, should you charge a fuel surcharge to help manage the rise in costs?  If you do plan to pass on fees to help with rising costs, make sure to communicate that directly to your customers explaining why and position it in a “matter of fact” manner.

• Prepare for higher prices - Use accounting software to manage your cash flow so you can easily tell how much the rise in fuel is really costing your business and identify areas where you can save. Finally, make sure you are tracking your transportation costs accurately and share these with your bookkeeper or accountant.

• There are tax benefits for fuel efficient vehicles - Ask your accountant if there are tax benefits to getting new, more fuel efficient vehicles.  This might be a great way to get some lower tax provisions while upgrading your company vehicles.

• Maintain your vehicles - Underinflated tires, misalignment and dirty filters or oil can decrease your fuel efficiency.  Check your vehicle’s manual to ensure you are maintaining it as recommended by the manufacturer.

• Use the right grade of fuel for your vehicle -
On average, premium fuel can cost 10 to 15 cents more per gallon than regular fuel. Unless your vehicle has a high-performance engine, there typically isn’t any benefit to using premium gas.

• Don’t drive aggressively - Beyond being a display of bad manners, aggressive driving increases your car’s gas consumption. Fuel efficiency dips when you go faster than 60 miles per hour, accelerate rapidly and brake hard. Using cruise control for highway driving can also help decrease the consumption of gas.

• There is power in numbers –
Join additional small business forums to work with government representatives on lowering taxes and surcharges.