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Alabama Small Business Development Center Network


FuelFox imageIn 2018, FuelFox was established as a gasoline delivery business headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. With a fleet of three fuel trucks, the company offered a unique service: fueling vehicles at their clients’ locations, whether individual customers or entire fleets. Founded by Ben Morris, a former senior partner with a prominent Birmingham law firm, the journey began with a vision to manage and grow a business. The company filed for LLC status in January 2018 and hit the road, commencing operations in July of the same year. Initially targeting two markets—individuals at office buildings and malls and fleet sales—FuelFox rapidly gained traction. Within seven weeks of starting fleet deliveries, the company generated an impressive $100,000 in revenue. The plan was ambitious: to grow the service to ten trucks in Birmingham and expand to ten other locations in the Southeast.

FuelFox Truck

Enter Paavo Hanninen, the Alabama SBDC (ASBDC) advisor who played a pivotal role in FuelFox’s success story. In 2018, Paavo and the ASBDC assisted in identifying potential clients, exploring new markets, seeking investors, and pursuing procurement opportunities. Extensive research into potential customers and government contracts, coupled with financial management guidance, set the foundation for FuelFox’s future success.

By 2019, FuelFox had developed multiple fleet accounts, started paying salaries, and was dispensing thousands of gallons of fuel monthly. The ASBDC team continued to provide support, focusing on identifying new markets, raising capital, and developing an operational manual. Research on potential locations for new fuel terminals and the provision of operational manual templates contributed to FuelFox’s strategic development.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unforeseen challenges.  Suzanne Darden (ASBDC Capital Access Program) stepped in to help FuelFox evaluate and apply for relief funds, securing $115,000 in PPP funding. Undeterred, the company continued to thrive, growing to 12 full-time employees, generating $7 million in annual revenue, and operating nine trucks in two markets—Birmingham and Charlotte. The focus had shifted to serving fleets exclusively, with 75% of the business now in diesel delivery.

FuelFox APP

A meeting with ASBDC advisors in 2023 revealed remarkable progress. FuelFox’s annual revenue had skyrocketed from $357,000 in 2018 to an impressive $18 million. The employee count had risen from 1 to 14, and the fleet had expanded from a single truck to 18. Service locations had sprawled to include Memphis, Birmingham, and Charlotte, with plans for a franchised location opening soon in Nashville.

Ben Morris, the visionary behind FuelFox, shared insights into his transformation from a senior partner at a law firm to a successful entrepreneur. Originally envisioning retail/hub fueling locations for individuals, he pivoted towards exclusively serving fleets, recognizing the enhanced margins and cost efficiency. The company now services 70 fleets in total.

The addition of a Chief Operating Officer, a 24-year Navy veteran and Naval Academy graduate with an impressive aviation career, brought further strength to the team. FuelFox continues to evolve, with plans to offer retirement plans and a commitment to providing comprehensive healthcare for employees.

In the rearview mirror, the journey of FuelFox reflects a tale of resilience, strategic guidance, and unwavering ambition. With the support of the ASBDC network, FuelFox overcame challenges and transformed into an industry leader, making its mark on the highways of the Southeast.

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