When running a business, the costs that come with expenses in business travel can have an impact on the day-to-day running of your company.
Whether you provide company cars for your staff or you’re just doing regular visits to see key clients, there are many ways you can cut costs on your company travel. Business membership organisations like FSB can offer advice on the best ways to save money on travel costs in your business, this article gives you the basics.
Set up a carpool
Carpooling or car-sharing can be an effective way to save money on transport costs for the fleet of cars you provide your business. It involves groups of people travelling in the same car together, with the driver taking it in turns on each journey. Sharing the driving means petrol costs are also shared. Operation costs, like for general wear and tear, can also be reduced as each car is driven less frequently.
You could set up a carpool system so that groups of your employees who live close to one another, or on the same commute route, can travel to and from work together. You could also arrange staff car-sharing to save money on costs when groups of staff travel to see clients or attend events and conferences.
Provide fuel cards for staff
This is a type of payment card designed for businesses which allows drivers to purchase business-related fuel for their vehicles. Businesses can provide them for staff to help save money on petrol costs.
Fuel cards often allow savings to be made on petrol costs per litre. This means your company’s transport costs can be reduced significantly over time.
Consider cost-effective cars
When looking at providing company cars for your staff, it’s a good idea to be cost-effective with your vehicle choices. A car with a big engine, for instance, is likely to cost more in petrol. So rather than choosing costly cars that might reflect your business, or impress your staff, think about those vehicles that will be cheaper to run.
Also, think about the type of work your staff do. For instance, if they just need the car for doing local sales visits each week, a powerful car that’s designed for the motorway might not be cost effective.
Avoid travelling at peak hours
When doing visits to see clients, carry out business deals, or attend conferences, consider travelling there outside peak hours.
Avoiding the busiest times to travel on the roads can help you cut down your journey time, which can, in turn, cut your petrol costs. Doing this can also reduce the chance of a company car needing repair, such as because of overheating after being stuck in traffic.
Do more client meetings in-house
It’s a good idea to conduct more meetings over the phone or by internal calling, such as by Skype, so you can do more client meetings in-house. This can save you on money that would otherwise be spent on travel to visit clients.
Also, consider investing in equipment, like a large a TV screen and high-quality audio equipment, so you can conduct effective video calls or conference calls with groups of staff. While this can be costly, it can go a long way in saving on your travel costs in the long run.
Schedule, plan and group visits
It’s also worth planning and scheduling your business visits well in advance. This can help give you time to research the best or fastest route and check when will be best to travel to avoid local events when roads might be busy. It can also help you keep on top of you’re travelling and work out how to reduce your client visits, so they’re only happening once a month, for instance.
Scheduling can also help you combine visits to save costs on petrol. This could include visiting a group of clients on the same day, who are close to one another. Or you could plan a client visit so that it ties in with a trip to a nearby business event.
Arrange to meet half way
When doing client visits, also consider arranging to meet up with your client half way. This is especially beneficial for long-distance clients, or if your meeting is just a general chat and catch up, so you don’t need particular business facilities.
Meeting up somewhere outside a work environment, like an attractive pub or quaint coffee shop, can provide a more relaxed atmosphere too. This can help develop company ideas and business relationships.
Encourage employees to drive efficiently
Finally, it’s a good idea to encourage your staff to be more efficient when driving. This isn’t about telling them how to drive, as that probably won’t go down too well. It’s more about encouraging things like, shopping at the cheapest place for petrol. You can also ask them to only take on what they need when travelling, to reduce car weight and, in turn, vehicle running costs.
You can help with this by doing things like emailing staff to let them know where petrol is cheapest to buy. You can also provide them with information about deals at local car service companies on car maintenance and repair.