Contributing author Joey Slaughter is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC. A Ringgold, VA based carrier. Joey started his company in 2010 after serving time as an unhappy employee with a local trucking company. The time spent there was not fun but, in hindsight, was a turning point that propelled Joey into the wonderful world of being an entrepreneur. Please visit JoeySlaughter.net for more insightful blogging.
This may be a controversial statement, but I believe that it doesn’t matter what the cost of fuel is; as long as you’re spending less than the competition, you’ll have an advantage that can help you succeed. When I started out as an owner-operator, my fuel buying strategy was pathetic. I would buy fuel at the first truck stop that I came to when I was approaching empty with my Visa credit card. After a little mentorship from more experienced owner-operators, I learned better methods.
Saving money on fuel purchases is more of a strategy than it is just one thing. You have to predetermine fuel stops based on price and route as well as factor in the state tax. Another thing you must do, is acquire a fuel card that allows you to save money off of the pump price. The tough part about purchasing fuel with a fuel card is that the funds are taken out of your banking account weekly. You can usually set up the day of the week, for example every Wednesday the funds come out my account automatically. Typically, I get paid at anywhere from 2 weeks to a month after I’ve transported a load through a broker. This makes it very challenging as fuel expenses can approach $1500-$2000 a week!
Here are some resources for you to obtain a fuel card like I did and begin saving. I’m a member of the National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC) and belong to their fuel program. I save on average around .20 a gallon which is around $30 a fill up! Check out the link for details.
The Owner-Operator Independent Driving Association (OOIDA) had its own program for its members. I am a proud member of OOIDA, but I don’t participate in their program so I’m not an expert, but do believe that you can save .10 to .15 a gallon at the participating locations. Check out this link to find out more about OOIDA’s fuel partnership program with Fleet One.
Team Run Smart has a new fuel discount program for its members as well. There’s no cost to join Team Run Smart so that could be a bonus for some. The card gives a discount of .06 a gallon at their participating locations. The card can also be used for DEF, oil and maintenance purchases, but with no discount on those. You can find out more about the Team Run Smart fuel discount program by following this link.
There are other resources out there so find what works best for you. I can definitely vouch for the resources that I provided as they’re all top notch organizations with tremendous memberships that can leverage their purchasing power for your advantage.