Long journeys: 5 tips for driving for work

In recent years, businesses have been cutting down on the number of long journeys that their fleet and staff have been taking. This has been caused by COVID restrictions, environmental concerns, and rising fuel prices. However, since COVID restrictions have eased and fuel prices continue to fluctuate, businesses will soon find themselves having to reconsider these long drives if they haven’t begun too already.


After a break from long journeys, your staff will need refreshing on the best practice for staying safe and alert on the road. Here are our top tips for long journeys:


Prepare your vehicle

No matter the size, a long drive can be the ultimate test for a vehicle. Make sure that, before starting the journey, the vehicle has been fully checked and is in proper working condition. The fluid levels such as oil, coolant, and washer fluid will all need to be topped up and the brakes and lights will need to be in working order. The vehicle’s tyres should also be viable and match the legal requirements for tread and inflation, the standard of which is 1.6mm tread size.


It is also crucial that your vehicle’s service and MOT are up to date. With telematics, you can keep track of important maintenance dates across your fleet and be alerted when your vehicle’s documentation is running out.

Take supplies

When starting a long trip, it is important to have supplies ready and carefully considering fleet safety is vital. These include general necessities such as healthy snacks and water, as well as a stock of items that may become crucial in an emergency.


The recommended daily intake of water is 6–8 glasses a day which, if 250ml equals a glass, converts to 1.5–2 litres. Bear in mind that this is a suggested figure and can vary based on multiple factors such as age, health, or even the weather. If the driver is going to be exposed to the sun on a motorway for an extended period, they may need to bring more water to prevent dehydration or sunstroke. It is also a clever idea to bring extra water in case the vehicle runs out of screen wash.


In the case of sunny weather, encourage sunscreen use among your fleet to prevent skin damage and illnesses that can be caused by UV exposure.


As well as hot weather, it is important to be prepared for wintry conditions and potential breakdowns. Remember to check out our guide for staying safe while driving in winter. A breakdown-ready kit could include:


• Waterproof clothes and warm jumpers or jackets in case the vehicle becomes stranded in cold and wet conditions with a dead battery.
• De-icer and a windshield scraper.
• Long-life food or snacks.
• Phone chargers and potentially a power bank, especially if you are using your phone for directions.
• A map: in case all else fails.
• An empty fuel can.
• A spare tyre and jack.
• Jump leads.
• Visibility wear and a torch.


In case of an emergency, it’s always a good idea to have a well-stocked first-aid kit in your vehicle.


Smaller but handy items to take are pens, wipes, and a suitable pair of sunglasses. It’s also smart to have some change ready for any tolls or parking fees your drivers may come across on their journey.

Plan your route

It is good practice to plan your fleet’s routes in advance. It can save you and your drivers time, money, and convenience. When it comes to longer journeys, the importance of good planning is amplified. Drivers should schedule regular breaks so that they can remain aware and alert whilst driving. The recommended number of breaks is 15 minutes every 2–3 hours.


As well as plotting the best route for the journey, look up the expected weather conditions and check if there are any roadworks planned. National Highways is a useful resource for this.

Take all necessary documents

Be sure that, when you are travelling, you always have all the required documentation with you. This includes your driver’s license, your company insurance information, and, if you are driving abroad such as in the EU, any additional documentation you will need for that area.

Take the best fuel card

Fleets will often have different fuel cards that they can use at different refuelling stations to get the best value fuel. The best cards for long journeys offer a fixed weekly rate. If your fleet contains large vehicles, you will also need a card that provides access to bunker sites.


To find out the best fuel card for your fleet, you can use our compare fuel cards tool or, if you would like tailored advice, get in touch and we will hand-select the perfect fuel card solution for you.

Visit Fuelmate’s new headquarters: Developed with staff in mind

At Fuelmate, taking care of staff wellbeing is one of our key values. Our company is centred on the belief that a happy and strong team with a good work-life balance will always lead the way in service and results.


As a proud member of the J.R. Rix & Sons group of companies, we undertook a big move last year to take our work environment to the next level. We moved within Hull from our previous site on Spyvee Street to our exciting new location at Two Humber Quays on Wellington Street West.


This is an innovative space that allows our team to work creatively and collaboratively. It also means there’s a premium space for any visitors coming to the site. Why not book a meeting and see for yourself?


Based on the marina in the heart of Hull City Centre, our new location gives us a chance to, not only revel in the most picturesque area of the city but to put our team right at the heart of Hull’s social and cultural hub. We’re a stone’s throw away from the thriving area of Humber Street, where there’s no shortage of shops; bars, and restaurants; as well as art and crafts venues.


The history of the J.R. Rix & Sons group also makes this marina-side location a return of sorts, with the group originating as a shipbuilding business in 1873, under founder Robert Rix.


The J.R. Rix & Sons stakeholders made a significant investment in the site itself, and after the acquisition of the space last year, began working with Chameleon Business Interiors to develop a workplace focused on strengthening and maintaining staff wellbeing.


When we moved into the site at the end of 2021, there was an overlap with the work at home advice from the government due to an increase in infections of COVID-19. As such, the introduction to the new site was more phased than we initially planned, with many staff members working from home. However, when the restrictions lifted and everyone returned to the office, they made their way to our brand-new headquarters. It was then that we saw the results of what we’d been working to build for so long: a hub of connectivity that would bring the group together.

Communal area

When developing our workspace, our ethos was to keep the design community-based and flexible. We wanted to give the staff the ability to communicate and connect face-to-face that they’d previously missed out on. As such, our offices consist of large, light, open-plan workspaces. We’ve heard constant feedback from staff since the move about how this has brought them closer to departments that they previously would have had little to no interaction with.

Open plan office

There is also still the option for an enclosed workspace if needed. Throughout the site, there are solo seating areas, soundproof booths, breakout spaces with whiteboards, and meeting rooms, including our innovation hub. These give staff the option of working at their desk or going somewhere more private. For example, if they need to take a phone call, have a silent working period, or meet with suppliers or clients.


However, there’s more to these investments than just the obvious design choices. We’ve also made sure that our staff are safe and comfortable with our state-of-the-art air filtration and temperature system as well as many other finer details.


Our ground floor contains a flexible café area: the social hub of the building. This can be used for breaks, catching up with colleagues, meetings, and the furniture can even be cleared away for an event. The Fuelmate sales team uses one of the meeting rooms in this area for our daily catch-up, and you may recognise the café area from our photo of the recent collection for Ukraine!


We know that exercise and mental health are intrinsically linked, and we wanted to give our staff the means to take care of themselves after an unprecedented couple of years. As a result, we’ve also included a dedicated gym, which contains a variety of equipment that’s free for all staff to use.

Fuelmate's Gym
Our New Gym

The Fuelmate team ourselves are based on the second floor in our own lovely open plan office area which overlooks the marina. As well as our desks, we have our own booths and sitting areas, as well as a nearby auditorium-style meeting room which is perfect for presentations. There’s also, of course, a handy kitchen area which is currently working away at producing a frankly huge level of tea and coffee.

We’re proud of our new location and are delighted to be investing in our staff.

Second Floor


“Our new building offers a state-of-the-art contemporary and versatile workspace in an enviable location within a vibrant part of the city.

With people at the heart of its design, it will ensure we have a desirable workplace to retain and attract talent as Fuelmate strengthens its position as one of the largest independent fuel card providers in the UK.”


Andy Smith, Managing Director


On the third floor, we have our largest and most impressive meeting rooms. This space can either be a large conference room or split into two smaller spaces. These meeting rooms have their own dedicated kitchen area which makes this space perfect for entertaining visitors and showing off our amazing views.


Conference Room
Third Floor

Although this is the most deluxe meeting room, our new location provides plenty of space for meetings and visitors so, if your fuel card contract is coming up for renewal, why not book a meeting with us? Not only would this give you the chance to see our new site in person, but we also offer a free invoice analysis of your fuel spend and consultations on what we can do for you. Get in touch with us today!

How small businesses can save this tax year

The beginning of a new tax year has left many businesses swamped with paperwork, reviewing outgoings, and planning for another challenging and uncertain year ahead. If you’re a small business owner or manage a fleet for a small business, you will no doubt have been feeling the pinch over the past year, if not longer on the back of an unprecedented increase in operating costs.


The lifting of COVID-19 restrictions dramatically and suddenly raised demand in many industries and saw the price of many vital commodities surge. The recent rises in wholesale oil prices have also had a drastic effect on the market, especially for small businesses. There are many ways that small businesses can save money for their fleets. Here are our top suggestions:


Track your fleet data


Rising oil and fuel prices are the main topic of conversation for small businesses at the moment. Not only have they been steadily climbing, but the upfront cost for fuel is also pushing up overhead costs due to the logistical supply of all products being affected.


The best practice to employ to save some of your budget is to encourage your fleet to use as little fuel as is possible. In the first instance, this can be handled by encouraging safer and more economical driving. With telematics, you can monitor your drivers’ habits and see if anyone is increasing their fuel usage by driving aggressively, such as driving in low gears, unnecessarily braking, or harsh accelerating. You can then use these insights to train your drivers and save your fleet money.


It’s worth keeping in mind as well that simple maintenance needs, such as underinflated tyres, also use up fuel. This tax year, use your fleet data to stay on top of repairs before they become an unexpected drain.


Streamline your journeys


During the COVID-19 lockdowns, small businesses had to assess what travel was vital and what journeys could be avoided. In the past months, many of these commutes have resumed but, in the current financial climate, is worth reviewing again what travel is essential. It’s important to be economical.


For some sectors, such as freight and transport, cutting out journeys is not an option. In this case, it is instead a good idea to look at streamlining your drivers’ routes. Telematics can also provide a wealth of data to be reviewed, which can be used for assessing if your fleet is using routes that are longer than is needed.

fuelmate journey planner

Our journey planner can help you plan routes for your drivers.

With a Fuelmate account, you’ll be given access to our journey planner, which can save you fuel by reducing detours as well as advising on where you can get the best price. We offer a large array of cards with access to sites both along the UK motorways as well as within urban areas. We’ll advise on the perfect selection of cards for you and your drivers, giving you absolute coverage.


Review your fuel card deal

In preparation for the new tax year, you have likely been spending a lot of time pouring over invoices recently. During this time, you may have noticed a few surprises in your fuel card deal. The increased fuel cost was probably the most unpleasant factor, though not particularly a surprise. If you have a current fuel card contract, there is also the unfortunate chance that you will have seen some hidden fees added by your provider.


If this is the case, it may be time to review if your provider is the right one for you. Those working for small businesses often find themselves in roles covering multiple responsibilities when compared to their counterparts at larger companies. As such, you need a provider that is upfront with you regarding any additional costs instead of expecting you to find them in the small print during a hectic work schedule.


In terms of the fuel cards themselves, it’s always worth looking at what additional benefits you can be earning from the fuel suppliers. Most fuel providers, such as BP and Esso, offer reward schemes that provide some support to those who have a regular and consistent fuel outgoing.


At Fuelmate, there are no hidden fees hidden and we pride ourselves on being transparent about what you will be paying. We provide a free invoice analysis before you even sign up to show you what you would be spending with us and allow you to make an informed decision about your fuel solution.


Call us now

If you manage the fuel spend for a small business, and are wanting advice on your outgoings, get in touch with us today. Our priority is ensuring that you get the best fuel card solution for your business, and we are always here to offer support and advice.

Fuel Cards for Businesses: 5 Myths and Misconceptions

Across the UK, fuel cards are accepted as a popular and effective solution for saving your business time and money. However, we often hear a number of misconceptions about fuel cards from both large and small businesses.


Here are some of the top fuel card myths:


Fuel card prices are higher

One popular myth we hear is that using a fuel card will actually lose you money. Although card prices can fluctuate, this is usually not the case. Fuel cards can save your fleet and your business money in many ways.


When benchmarked against the national average price for fuel, fuel cards deliver a noticeable annual saving. This is especially true for cards offering a fixed weekly rate. Fixed weekly rates are a great way to manage costs, particularly when fuel costs rise exponentially, as they’ve been known to in recent weeks. In this event, a fixed rate saves you money by keeping the price consistent instead of rising daily.


If you’re dubious about a fuel card saving you money, get in touch with us for our free invoice analysis. We compare your recent fuel spend to what you would have spent using Fuelmate. We are upfront about your potential savings, allowing you to make an informed decision about your fuel card provider.


If you use fuel cards, you are tied to a fuel provider

A common worry for fleet managers unfamiliar with fuel cards is that, upon signing up to a card, they will be tied in with that fuel provider and have limited choice of refuelling sites for their drivers.


Actually, you can use multiple cards to get your drivers the best prices depending on where they refuel. Also, cards themselves often offer coverage at a vast range of third-party sites as well as their core locations.


We offer packages tailor-made for you and your business requirements. If you are after access to specified sites, such as bunker locations, we have fuel cards for you. The same is true if having access to a range of locations is a higher priority. For example, our BP List and Shell Fleet 2 cards both offer access to an extensive network of over 3,500 fuel stations nationwide, including Texaco, ESSO, Gulf, Morrisons, Gleaner, and Circle K fuel stations.

Fuel cards just create extra paperwork

If fleet managers are used to handling expenses manually, the idea of switching to fuel cards can be daunting. If you are used to your previous system, such as refunding your employees’ fuel spend through expenses, a new way of operating may leave you worried about increased administration work, managing a new provider contract, and related expenditure. However, fuel cards consolidate all of your company’s fuel spend into one account. This makes your outgoings easier to watch and manage.

With our online dashboard, you have access to your account 24/7 and can get pin reminders, view and download your invoices, search your fleet’s fuel transactions, and plan journeys with our Journey Tracker. Overall, using fuel cards makes managing your fuel spend more convenient.

Fuel cards can only be used by large businesses

Some smaller businesses believe that fuel cards are only a suitable solution for companies operating large fleets. As a result, small businesses can pay more for their fuel when they would benefit the most from fuel savings. Small businesses are eligible for fuel cards and benefit greatly from using them. In fact, in small businesses, effective time management is essential and fuel management solutions provided alongside fuel cards are vital.


The amount your company spends on fuel also has a large effect on the profit margins for small businesses. This makes it crucial to keep an eye on costs and finding savings where you can. Fuel cards are an excellent way to achieve regular savings and reduce unnecessary admin.

All providers are the same

The prospect of signing up with fuel card providers can be disheartening if you’ve been stung in the past. Fleet managers can be put off by previous experiences with high prices, hidden fees, or bad service. A common misconception is that all fuel card companies operate the same way. Alongside this is the belief that they all have the same outlook on how to treat their customers.


At Fuelmate, we put our customers first. We are upfront about all costs associated with your account so you’re never caught out by hidden fees. With our free invoice analysis service, you will be given an honest and complete breakdown of how much you can save with us before signing up. What’s more, once signed up, you will be assigned your own respective and committed account manager who will always give you the service you deserve.

For correct and up-to-date information about UK fuel cards, give us a call today and let us find the best solution for you and your business.

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