Many small businesses that depend on driving coping with gas prices

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX - We have all seen gas prices continuing to rise. For many small businesses those gas prices are especially painful, because a big part of their job involves driving.

Just ask Ted Nuttle of Desert Moon Fibrenew.

"I would say 2 years ago, gas prices were about 10% of our input costs, and today they are 25-30%," he said.

Even though he is in the leather repair business, Nuttle spends a lot of time on the road. Whether it's picking up a couch or dropping of a motorcycle seat.  Just around the Valley, he can easily travel well over 500 miles in an average week.

"Typically we do all of our service out of a ¾ ton full service van, makes 12 to 15 miles per gallon, " he said.

And that can add up to a lot of fill-ups, so if he knows he wont' be doing on-site repairs Ted switches to a Jeep. That's one tip to saving money savings, if it's an option, use a more fuel efficient car.

That's not an option for Steve Genrich, who owns Genrich Pharmacy and offers prescription delivery.

"Since the beginning, we've had a delivery service, and it has built up a good clientele because we deliver to doctors offices, to patients homes or to patients work," he said.

Because he uses a delivery service the cost is fixed. So he looks for other ways to save, such as combining trips, something everyone can do.

"Because we have some care homes we deliver to, if we can do multiple patients at the same time we try to do that, " Genrich said.

And that is something patients help with as well as they will batch their prescriptions together to refill all at once.

Nuttle hasn't added a surcharge or raised prices, choosing to absorb the costs for now, so he is also learning to combine trips.

He has another tip, use the phone and e-mail if possible to get work done. He said it helps him save trips for estimates.

"We get a lot of request by e-mail, the first thing we do is ask them to send us a photo via e-mail," he said. "It still doesn't take the place of seeing it in person. but we can give them a small ball park estimate of what they are looking at. "

Nuttle also spends more time planning routes in advance. He said planning a route with all right turns saves him both time and gas. He knows it may only be a little here and there, but with prices on the rise they try to do what they can.