Pain at the pump has been a bit more painful for self-employed business owners, new research has found. In that research, a majority of self-employed business owners said they have had to cut back on their business activities as a result of high gas prices.
"High gas prices are still hurting the self-employed, many of whom depend on their vehicles to conduct the day-to-day work of their businesses," said Kristie Arslan, president of the National Association for the Self Employed, which conducted the research. "When business and personal finances are so closely tied, as they often are for the self-employed and micro-businesses, any rise in cost can be significantly damaging to the health of a company."
More than half of the respondents agreed, saying the cuts they made moderately or significantly affected their business in a negative way, while 70 percent of people said that gas prices had changed their driving habits. Nearly 40 percent of business owners responded to rising gas prices by increasing prices for their goods or services and 15 percent reduced their work flow. Other ways that self-employed business owners said they were combating gas prices included:
- Opening a new office 40 minutes away in an attempt to help patients living in that area who could not afford costs of travel.
- Increasing prices, reducing work force, and implementing policies on energy use.
- Reducing the events attended for business training, professional associations, and meetings.
- Consolidating business travel to save gas.
Despite cuts and changes, nearly half of self-employed business owners said they were still spending more than $250 a month for their gas. Compounding the problem is the fact that 75 percent of self-employed business owners said they use their vehicles for both work and personal reasons. Business owners, however, can help themselves immensely in one simple way, Arslan said.
"What the self-employed and micro-businesses (10 or fewer employees) truly need is a retroactive update to the Internal Revenue Service's 2012 mileage deduction," Arslan said. "This action would better reflect the high cost of gasoline in the beginning of 2012."
This research was based on the responses of 559 small business owners. The research was conducted by NASE.