Software links operators with contract fuel dealers

 - October 14, 2009, 11:20 AM

A new product from FuelerLinx (Booth No. 5500), a provider of fuel-management software, promises to make navigating the contract-fuel market easier.

“We offer a contract-fuel price consolidator and accounting system that not only deals with contract fuel but also reconciles and logs regular fuel,” said Kevin Moller, founder and president of the Van Nuys, Calif.-based company. Moller developed the program to help solve his own contract-fuel difficulties. “It was a logistical nightmare. Contract fuelers would send Excel spreadsheets listing every location where they sold and provide different volume breaks by location. One fueler might quote in 100-gallon increments and another in 250-gallon increments–and there might be five options on that field.”

Moller said the program “allows users to load different contract fuelers and consolidate those price lists into one database. Users type in a volume they want and the program will provide the best pricing in ascending order from lowest to greatest–all of the options on that particular field.”

FuelerLinx made its debut in January at NBAA’s Schedulers and Dispatchers Conference and, said Moller, it currently is used by more than 70 operators.
Customers subscribe to the program and install the proprietary software then enter tail numbers and types of aircraft and the names of the contract fuelers with which they do business. The system updates the fuel prices into its database once a week. The users  then enter destinations and scan the prices.

The system will base the price on the amount of fuel requested and advise users as to volume price breaks. Once the user finds the best price and decides on the location and the amount of fuel (or issues a captain’s request for an undetermined amount of fuel), the system will automatically generate an e-mail to the contract fueler and enter the event on a schedule. If the request is cancelled, the system will notify the fueler, also by e-mail.

To aid in reconciling invoices, the system will take an archive “snapshot” of the listed prices. “Contract fuelers will sometimes bill you three months after you take on fuel, and it’s not realistic to go digging through archives,” said Moller. “The program will make this a simple matter. For example, if the contract fueler bills $4.58 per gallon even though it promised $3.38, when you save the entry and try to reconcile it, it will disappear from the pending line item. However, when you go into the reporting section you’ll see a red bar pop up showing the amount of overcharge. It’s a discrepancy accounting chart that will catch overbilling.”

Getting the system to work smoothly involved cooperation from the contract fuelers, said Moller. “I met with every one of the contract fuelers we use and got permission from each. They realize we’re making the end customer’s job a lot easier.”

Cost for a monthly subscription starts at $249 for a single aircraft and increases to $949 for more than nine aircraft. Moller said the program saves users time and money. “Fuel-buying decisions were less important when jet-A was cheaper. People would use the FBO that gave them steaks. Flight departments now are very price oriented.

Here at NBAA, the company is giving away mini-laptop computers to attendees who sign up for a qualified annual subscription plan or as an incentive to flight departments whose referrals generate FuelerLinx customers.