Gassing Up Company Vehicles

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by WigginsLandscaping, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. WigginsLandscaping

    WigginsLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    How do you guys handle this? We are a smaller but growing business and have plans for two crews running next season. We currently have one crew (which doesnt include me all the time) running the route. We currently already require this guy to gas up at the end of the day to save time at the donut-hole etc. But tracking his expenditures? Do you issue gas cards for your guys or what? He currently has a card that we have provided but I am not so sure all the gas on the bill is going into the truck. I am just wondering how others handle multiple crews and the gas/expenses thing.
     
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    I'll tell you what, I know some guys around here, with some considerable sized operations, that could hire a full time guy to just drive the trucks back and forth to the gas staion, and still save money compared to what it costs to pay Moe, Larry, and Curly in the morning. The gas is being pumped, Larry is in buying donuts. Then, when all is set to go, the payment is being taken care of. Then, Curly has to go in and get cigarettes, Moe has to pee, and Larry is waiting for the microwave to warm up his breakfast burrito. 10-12 minutes later, they are able to get on the road.
    Filling up at night is a saver, because just like PMS (preventive maintenance services) and blade sharpening and such, these guys are ready to go home, so everything is done a litle more efficiently than at 8 o'clock in the morning when they are moping around the shop.
    However, I have one friend that his insurance company doesn't allow him to fill the trucks the night before, because of the storage issues (BIG building).
    Another guy I know, had a satellite tank put next to his shop. They deliver gas to him, and the guys never have to stop for fuel in the morning - INCREDIBLE savings to him. On top of that, he signed a contract, and locked himself in at about $2.60 a gallon. Gas is now at about $1.80, and has been at around $2.00 for quite some time. This is the same guy that put the numbers together and figured out the hourly full time fueling employee thing.
     
  3. beransfixitinc

    beransfixitinc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 592

    Geez.. $2.60 a gallon????To come out cheaper.. is that factoring in not having to wait at a station or what?
     
  4. WigginsLandscaping

    WigginsLandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    I see some logic behind that scenario and I can see the benefit. But we had already started making them do that at night. My question is more do of how do you have them pay for the fuel. Do they have company card and if so how do you make sure they dont use that card for personal purposes. But the fuel delivery idea is definately an idea. I would have to check insurance to see if that was a real possibility.....but you still have same "theft" issues unless you are the one holding the key to the pump.
     
  5. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Posts: 949

    With all things there is a level of trust that must exist between you and your employee. I give my foreman a company credit card that is only to be used for company use. I check the statement monthly as well and have had no issues to date.
     
  6. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    There are a couple of lawn companies I see down at a Phoenix/Firebird Fuel depot in Tempe next to ASU. Only pumps, work off credit card so there is no going inside for anything. It's a part of GIant corp. I think they olny sell Diesel but could be mistaken. Could this be an option?
     
  7. beransfixitinc

    beransfixitinc LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 592

    Hmm.. the way I could think of to try and keep track of where the gas is going would be to know how much it takes for fillups on your trucks. Also, the mileage at which the fillup occured should be noted in a log book kept in the vehicles. You, the owner can rough estimate your miles to the gallon. Make it mandatory (as it should be anyway) to have the gas receipts turned in. At the end of the month, or when the statement comes, go through and match up the receipts with the statements. If you find one that shows more gallons pumped than what the truck takes, or find a charge and no receipt or entry in the log book.. point it out to your employees and make them aware they could be made liable for that unaccounted/unlogged charge.

    Sucks I know to have to have ways to watch your own employees, but I suppose that's the world some of us live in now.
     
  8. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    careful monitoring is the key. Make sure they don't take the gas card (or Cell Phone) home at night. We terminated a crew leader from one of the mowing crews and now I noticed that we use on average 20 gallons less fuel per week. Turns our they would fill an extra 5 gallon container a few times a week and use it in their car...
     
  9. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 14,700

    You can also talk to the manager of the gas station and have an in house account setup. You can pay it weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Just make sure that the cashier/attendant writes the tag number down for the vehicle the fuel is going in as well as the time.
     
  10. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    We use Wright Express. Their card is accepted at most all stations. The card it limited to fuel only. The cards are assigned by vehicle. The crews must fill them each day at the end of the day so they are full (as well as the equipment) for the morning work. Wright Express sends us a complete report of usage and also is available online. I can tell how much fuel is being used in each vehicle or equipment. If the usage gets to much above norm then I know something is up. Each driver has a drive ID and a PIN number that I set via online access. Therefore I know exactly who filled each vehicle/equipment in real time with all of the details. I can also order new cards and cancel or suspend cards online in real time. Since we started this program this year is has been awesome. I can tell if a mower is using to much gas that something may be wrong with it and it might need a tune up. Great business tool that I highly recommend.
     

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