The Advantages of a Fuel Card

Truckers live on fuel, and it makes infinite sense for them to carry a fuel card for a plethora of reasons. This is why full-service freight factoring companies such as TBS Factoring offer it as part of their packages.

Fuel cards are just as good as cash. Many of the better known fuel card service providers such as Comdata and FLT are accepted in major gas stations and truck stops in all parts of the US for a small transaction fee. Moreover, a fuel card is not as negotiable as cash; if you lose a fuel card, you can instantly have it cancelled. If you lose cash, that’s the end of the story.

Fuel cards usually come with rebates and discounts. Using the card to make fuel and other purchases translates to considerable savings that increase with use that just doesn’t come when using cash or credit cards. The more popular fuel cards are accepted in thousands of establishments with attractive incentives.

Fuel cards come with fuel management tools. Internet-based fuel cards provide access to real-time money-saving information such as the best truck stop and gas stations with the lowest prices. It also allows fleet owners to manage fuel use, expenses, invoicing, reports, and many accounting applications.

Fuel cards make it convenient to get money fast. Most fuel cards allow users to make a check or cash advance for a minimal fee. This can come in handy in an emergency, such as purchasing a tire or having repairs made.

Fuel cards are a good way to get factoring payments. Factoring companies with a tie-up with fuel cards can provide the option of making payments for the loads they factor into the cards for their clients. This typically translates to smaller remittance fees.

Cash may be the king of the road, but is it infinitely better (and safer) to bring around a single card than wads of cash while on the road. Whether you are a fleet manager or a truck owner-operator, you will find many reasons to prefer fuel cards in your business.

Patent Procurement in the US

The protection that a government provides to inventors and research and development companies for their creations is a major driving force in the economy. Without this protection, creators would be reluctant to publish because they have no guarantees that they will benefit exclusively from its use. Intellectual property law in the US does precisely that, albeit for a limited period only, after which the invention becomes public property.

In order to claim protection under these laws, the inventor must go through the patent procurement process. However, as explained on the website of Gagnon, Peacock & Vereeke, P.C., there are some things that have to be considered prior to patent procurement, including making a patentability and freedom-to-operate search as well as the eligibility of an invention to obtain a patent. Once these are satisfied, a patent may then be applied for.

In the US, there are two phases to patent procurement: preparation and prosecution. Preparation pertains to the drafting of the patent application itself, which is in two major parts:

  • Specification
    • Summary in non-legal language
    • Detailed description of the invention and its applications
  • Claims – defines the scope of the invention including devices, processes, and compositions

In the application process, the specification must match the claims, otherwise the application becomes invalid. An inventor may choose to file a provisional application as opposed to a full utility application to establish a priority date, but must file a full utility application within a year of the provisional application. It is usually advisable to have an intellectual property lawyer prepare the draft and file the application as well as negotiate with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), also known as prosecution.

In general, patent procurement in the US takes about three years, although the time frame varies widely depending on each case. One factor may be the backlogs in the USPTO, which can significantly delay the process.

Employment Law and Wage Disputes

There are many laws that impinge on employment, ranging from fair labor practices to aspects of employment discrimination. On the whole, employment law guarantees the rights and responsibilities of both employers and employees on the federal as well as state levels. An employment lawyer would have a thorough knowledge of each and every law that may be used as a basis for a claim as well as for defense.

The most basic employment law in the US is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) enacted in 1938 which primarily deals with overtime and wage disputes. It is a federal law and is widely used as a reference for state-specific minimum wage and overtime pay laws. Since its enactment, it has been revised and added to as circumstances demanded. One of the more important additions that reflects the changing work environment is the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which basically states that employees doing the same work should be given the same pay, regardless of gender or any other distinction. In the spirit of the Equal Pay Act, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles claims of discriminatory practices in employment.

Wage disputes are mostly based on claims of unpaid overtime, but it may also include violations of the minimum wage law as well as disputes of Equal Pay Act violations. Pursuing cases of wage disputes is complicated primarily because of the fact that there are so many different laws that may be cited for each case. It is also difficult to put together a convincing case unless one knows the applicable laws. Employees who may have wage disputes should consult with an experienced employment lawyer rather than trying to resolve them on their own to their detriment. Employers will be more likely to settle a wage dispute out of civil court if they see that the employee has strong legal standing.

For new hire testing, make sure to contact a pre-employment testing service.

Concerns for Business Owners

Business owners in general are concerned with two things outside capitalization: their labor force and their security. The labor force is often the lifeblood of any business, be it a force of one or one million. It is the employees who do the actual work, and it is important that they are qualified for what they are tasked to do. In terms of security, the business owner has to protect the assets of the business from theft, natural calamity, and other outside forces. For the former, pre-employment screening will go a long way towards finding the right person for the job, and for the latter, the appropriate insurance cover will take care of any unforeseen contingency.

Pre-employment screening should be scientific and objective, using standardized tests to identify risk factors that may impact on performance and attrition. Employees who satisfy the functional needs of the work are less likely to have problems with absenteeism and work-related injuries, both of which have a significant effect on productivity. There are companies that offer this service to forward-thinking employers who want the best possible labor force driving their business.

Business insurance represent a considerable cost for the company, but it is necessary to secure coverage in case of theft, property damage due to storms, floods and fires, and business income losses due to natural calamities or other adverse events. The savvy business owner will not stint on full insurance coverage, and will also guard against insurance bad faith when they do not get the coverage they paid for in a timely manner by engaging experienced insurance claim lawyers whenever a claim becomes necessary. They know that insurance companies will try to minimize their exposure, especially in the event of hurricanes when numerous claims may all come in at the same time.

These two concerns of business owners should be included in the business model. This will ensure that productivity is high and losses are minimized.