Ask the Expert: How to Save Money on Fuel – Advice for Courier Drivers
A few hints and tips from the road to help couriers save money on fuel
Being a courier driver can feel like the Wild, Wild West.
You have to arrive at the depot, load (or find) your vehicle, sort your packages by order of manifest, and decide on the shortest route. Then you have to find and deliver to each address in zero time and try not to make a mistake.
That’s without making sure that you even have enough money to put fuel in your tank before you start.
It is exhausting and stressful. This is why you keep as much of your hard-earned money as you can and save money on fuel.
A courier driver’s greatest enemy is time. Spend too much of it backtracking, and you’ll burn fuel and time.
And time is money.
So how can you save money on fuel and make your stressful work more profitable?
In this post, I want to show you a couple of hints and tips from the road to help keep those purse strings tight.
#1 Get VAT-registered
The best thing you can do is VAT register. If you’re not VAT-registered, you’re giving money away. For twenty percent of every bill you pay, ten percent of it will disappear.
Any courier worth their salt will be VAT-registered, and so should you. This means that you can claim the VAT back and not lose anything.
You can then put the money saved towards tires and other wear and tear on your vehicle.
Unsure how to get VAT-registered? Don’t worry – the folks over at the Federation for Small Business have put together a great guide on how to get VAT-registered, which I highly recommend you have a look at.
#2 Get a fuel Card
You get a fixed price and a month to pay when you open a fuel card account. Your fixed price will be without the VAT, so you can fill up anywhere without fear. They should also give you a group price if you have more than one vehicle in your fleet.
Pro tip: Sometimes, it’s wise to get two or three fuel cards because then you can actually barter for a lower price between them. Suppose one card has quoted you a fuel price of £1.03 per litre and another at £1.04. If you are prepared to contact different fuel card suppliers, you can play one off against the other to get the cheaper amount. It’s often worked for me!
What if you can’t get a fuel card and aren’t VAT-registered?
Check the fuel prices. Start mentally noting the cost as you’re driving around. You’ll probably find that the best places to fill up will be supermarkets, which tend to be cheaper.
#3 Don’t waste fuel
Don’t drive here, there, and everywhere for no reason. Reduce your dead miles.
What are dead miles?
This is between stops or when you’ve reached your destination and are returning. You don’t want to get halfway through your run and realize you’re on the other side of the road from where you were hours before.
Get yourself a decent multi-stop app, like Circuit Route Planner. That way, you won’t be driving miles between drops when you could only be driving a fraction of them. Route planners don’t just save you on fuel. They save you the costs of wear and tear on your vehicle and extra time on your day, which means you get the opportunity to get another job or go home early.
How to save money on fuel: Driving it home
Being a delivery driver is a tough job. But there is money in it if you know a few small tricks, such as saving money on fuel.
As a recap:
- Get VAT-registered
- Get a fuel card, or maybe more than one fuel card
- Get a multi-drop app. It will save you money.
Time is money, and the more you can save, the better your take-home pay.
If you follow these tips, you should manage to save a little more every month, and as they say, every little helps – especially in the courier game.