9 Ways to Negotiate Better Terms & Discounts with Fuel Card Providers

By Ally Burnie

Last updated May 30, 2024

Table of Contents

    If you’re feeling frustrated with your current fuel card provider, you’re not alone. There are plenty of stories online from disgruntled fuel card customers who’ve experienced unexpected fees, confusing terms, and a lack of support that leave them questioning their provider. From late fees that snowball into over-the-limit charges, to discounts that never quite materialise, it’s no wonder so many fleet managers  are seeking a better deal.

    The good news is, you’re not stuck with below-average service or unfair charges. In this article, we’ll guide you through practical steps to turn the tables in your favour. Whether you’re tired of hidden fees or just looking for a more transparent and supportive fuel card partnership, we’re here to help you navigate the negotiation process and secure the best possible terms.

    Think Like a Big Fleet (Even If You’re Not)

    It’s interesting to note that larger fleets tend to be more satisfied with their fuel card providers compared to mid-size fleets. This might be because bigger customers often get better deals since they spend more money, giving them more leverage. Larger fleets also seem to be more used to pushing hard during negotiations to get the maximum discount possible. 

    So, it’s time to start thinking (and acting) like a big fleet. While larger fleets do have an advantage because of their purchase volume, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for bigger discounts. Take a page from their playbook and negotiate hard to get the best possible deal for your fleet.

    How to Get Better Terms & Discounts From Your Fuel Card Provider

    1. Research and Compare Providers

    The first step is to research your options and compare providers. While this is helpful for businesses new to fuel cards, it’s also a smart move for those already using a provider to see what other options are out there.

    • Discounts on fuel prices: Discounts can vary significantly between providers. Be cautious of upfront discounts, as they are often only for a limited time.
    • Card fees and charges: Look out for hidden fees such as transaction charges, late payment fees, and over-the-limit fees.
    • Network coverage: Ensure the provider’s network covers the areas where you frequently refuel.
    • Additional benefits: Consider extra perks like maintenance discounts and data reporting tools that can add value to your business.

    It’s always a good idea to get on the phone and speak directly with providers. This allows you to ask detailed questions and negotiate the best possible deal. Providers are often more flexible in their terms when they know you are serious about switching or comparing options. This proactive approach can lead to better discounts and more better terms tailored to your specific needs.

    For a quick overview of how Australian fuel card providers compare, head here.

    2. Understand Your Fuel Usage

    Knowing your fuel usage and consumption patterns can make a massive difference when negotiating with fuel card providers. By understanding your specific needs, you can clearly demonstrate your value as a customer, making it easier to secure better terms. 

    • Average monthly fuel spend: Knowing how much you spend each month on fuel shows providers the scale of your business and your importance as a customer.
    • Types of fuel used: Different providers may offer better discounts on specific fuel types. By knowing what you use, you can find the best match for your needs.
    • Locations where fuel is typically purchased: If you frequently refuel in certain areas, ensure the provider’s network covers these locations. This can also help in negotiating network-specific discounts.

    Arming yourself with this information not only helps in negotiations but also shows providers that you’re well-prepared and serious about getting the best deal. Plus, it ensures that any agreement you reach is perfectly tailored to your business’s needs, saving you both time and money in the long run.

    3. Leverage Competitor Offers

    Don’t hesitate to use offers from competitors as a bargaining tool when talking to your current or potential fuel card provider. Showing that you have better deals available can push providers to match or even beat those offers to keep your business.

    • Collect several quotes: Get detailed offers from different competitors. Make sure you know exactly what each one is offering, including discounts, fees, and extra perks.
    • Share the details: When you talk to your current provider or a new one, tell them about these competitor offers. Point out where competitors are offering better terms, like lower fees or higher discounts.
    • Negotiate confidently: Use this information to confidently ask for better terms. Providers often prefer to match or exceed competitor offers rather than lose a good customer like you.

    This approach not only helps you get the best deal but also ensures you’re making a well-informed choice based on what’s available in the market.

    4. Negotiate Terms and Fees

    When it comes time to talk terms and fees, make sure you cover all aspects of the contract to get the best deal possible. Here’s what to focus on:

    • Discount rates: Aim for the highest possible discount per litre. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better rate, especially if you’re a high-volume customer.
    • Fees: Look at all the fees involved, including card fees, transaction fees, and any hidden charges. Negotiate to reduce or eliminate these fees wherever possible. Every bit you save on fees goes straight back into your pocket.
    • Payment terms: If managing cash flow is a concern, ask for extended payment terms. Longer payment periods can give you more flexibility and help keep your finances in check.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions and push for what you need. The goal is to find terms that work best for your business and make your fuel card as cost-effective as possible. Remember, you have the power to negotiate a deal that suits you, so make sure you take full advantage of it.

    5. Highlight Your Loyalty

    If you’ve been with your fuel card provider for a while, make sure to use that to your advantage. Providers appreciate loyal customers and might offer you better terms to keep your business.

    Let your provider know how long you’ve been a customer and that you’ve been reliable in your usage and payments. This shows them that you’re a valuable customer. Also, find out if there are any special discounts or programs for long-term customers. Sometimes, there are exclusive deals that aren’t advertised.

    6. Seek Customised Solutions

    Don’t be shy about asking for a customised solution that fits your needs. Every business is different, and your fuel card provider should be willing to adapt to what works best for you. Whether you need special discount rates, specific reporting features, or flexible billing options, make sure to ask for what you need.

    First, think about what could be better with your current setup. Maybe you want a discount structure that matches your fuel use, or more detailed reports to help manage your fleet. Talk to your provider about these needs and explain how these changes could benefit both of you.

    7. Review the Contract Thoroughly

    Before you sign anything, make sure to go through the contract carefully. Double-check that all the terms you negotiated are clearly listed and that there aren’t any hidden clauses that could surprise you with extra costs. 

    It’s easy to miss the fine print, but catching it now can save you headaches later. If anything seems unclear or doesn’t match what you discussed, ask for it to be clarified or changed. This way, you’ll know exactly what you’re agreeing to and can avoid any nasty surprises.

    8. Build a Strong Relationship

    Keeping a good relationship with your fuel card provider can really pay off. Regular communication and a positive connection can lead to better support and extra benefits over time. Make an effort to check in with your provider, share any feedback, and keep the lines of communication open. When they know you and your business well, they’re more likely to go the extra mile to help you out and offer special perks.

    9. Stay Informed and Re-evaluate Periodically

    It’s important to stay on top of market changes and regularly review your agreement. If better deals come up, be ready to renegotiate or switch providers. Don’t just settle for your current terms if there’s a chance to save more or get better service. Keeping an eye on what’s out there ensures you’re always getting the best possible deal for your business.

    Compare Fuel Card Providers & Find the Best Deal Today 

    We know running a business can be challenging, and every dollar saved makes a difference. That’s why it’s crucial to get the best deal on your fuel card. At Fuel Card Comparison, we’re here to help you find the perfect fuel card tailored to your needs, whether you’re a small, midsize, or large fleet.

    Let us take the hassle out of the search and negotiation process. With our expert guidance, you can secure better discounts, lower fees, and more favourable terms. Don’t settle for less—get the savings you deserve.

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