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5 Ways to Manage an Over-the-Road Trucking Company

When you manage your own trucking company, you’re expected to handle all hauls with complete efficiency; and that’s on top of taking care of a long list of other crucial responsibilities necessary for your company’s survival. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, owners/operators have had their hands full as many companies rely on them to fulfill orders and accomplish essential hauls. But even as the workload increases, everything must continue to run smoothly. Experienced truckers know that requires superior management skills.

In this article, we’ll go over the top five responsibilities an owner/operator must handle on a day-to-day basis and how to manage them properly.

1. Clients

A recent survey found 78% of clients have canceled business transactions due to poor customer service quality; no clients equals no revenue. When managing your own trucking company, it’s essential to prioritize your clients in order to develop and maintain consistent, positive relationships. Once you arrange and schedule your hauls, you should communicate the details with clients and keep them in the know in the event of any changes. This demonstrates excellent communication skills and work ethic—two things absolutely necessary in order to create a steady workflow and a stable, profitable company.

2. Health

Nearly 1 in 15 people work in what is considered one of the nation’s unhealthiest industries: the trucking industry. In 2019, a study from Business Insider found 7 out of 10 truck drivers were categorized as obese and about 17% were considered morbidly obese. When you’re sick and not on the road, your company loses revenue and crucial business opportunities. Try incorporating these lifestyle changes to combat any health problems and keep on trucking:

  • When you’re done for the day, take some time to exercise.
  • Develop and maintain a healthy sleep schedule.
  • Cook our pickup healthy meals for yourself; skip the drive-thru.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Give up smoking for good.

3. Expenses

On average, the trucking industry rakes in $255.5 billion in revenue each year—but everything comes at a cost, and running your carrier authority is no exception. As a manager, it’s your job to track and manage your company’s expenses using organized and detailed records. In doing so, your company will have a greater chance of surviving, as you’ll be able to track whether your company is gaining or losing money. If you find you’re entering a potential deficit, you need to readjust how you operate and fund the major expenses (e.g. fuel, food/drink, insurance, and rigs) by developing a budget. Of course, there will be unforeseen expenses, so plan ahead by creating an emergency fund. Over time, you’ll learn how much you spend per month and how to lower costs and operate more efficiently.

4. Fuel

It’s crucial to properly manage fuel usage and its expense. On average, truck drivers will log between 2,000 and 3,000 miles per week and more than 100,000 miles per year; this translates to around 53.9 billion gallons of fuel annually. Pair those numbers with the fluctuating diesel prices, and you’ve got a serious expense on your hands. However, there are ways to manage your fuel usage and minimize the cost, such as monitoring your rig’s tire pressure, minimizing idling, moderating your braking, and managing cruise RPM. Not sure if these things are helping you reduce fuel consumption? Try tracking your fleet’s fuel expenses before and after applying these changes, and see how much you save.

5. Taxes

When you own and manage a trucking company, you are responsible for calculating and paying your taxes correctly each quarter, plus filing several tax forms and schedules, such as W-9, 11099-NEC, and Form 1040. If your taxes are not tracked or paid correctly, your business could be in jeopardy. To avoid any missteps, keep a profit and loss statement each quarter, set aside 25 to 30% of your weekly net income, and pay your quarterly taxes on time to avoid penalty charges.

Ready to start your career as an American truck driver? Want to learn more about what it takes to succeed as an owner/operator? Check out our latest post, 5 Things Owner/Operators Should Do to Achieve Success.

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5 Things Owner/Operators Should Do to Achieve Success

Trucking is an expansive and flourishing occupation—and it’s one of the industries that hasn’t slowed down during the current COVID-19 crisis. Companies and essential businesses turned to trucking, heavily relying on owners/operators to deliver their much-needed products across the nation. With this level of productivity and increased activity comes the question of success. What is now deemed “successful” in the trucking industry?

For some people, success is defined by what they have. For truck drivers, success is determined by their quality of work and the professional milestones they meet. But if you’re new to owning and operating your own business, figuring out how to measure success outside of just numbers can seem overwhelming. There’s so much more to success than sheer quantity or numerical values. In this article, we’ll break down the top five things you should do if you’re aiming for success in the trucking industry.

1. Be Positive

Trucking can be a strenuous job, but if you approach your career with set goals and a positive attitude, you’re more likely to beat out the competition and thrive as a business owner. It’s essential to consider your needs and desires to establish your short-term and long-term goals. Write out your goals and treat them as stepping stones to your future. Another tip for success: Try starting your day with “I get to” instead of “I have to.” When you work as an optimist, you can be 20 to 40% more successful than pessimists.

2. Health Matters

Successful business owners know a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, which leads to a healthy business. Researchers at the University of Georgia asked a group of people who make upward of $100,000 per year what helps them find success in their work. At least 75% credited their focus and drive to physical fitness. If your health is compromised by an unhealthy diet or lack of exercise, you’re almost guaranteed to spend more time in a doctor’s office and less time running and growing your business. An unhealthy lifestyle also leads to poor leadership skills and personal qualities, like tiredness and irritability. By staying on top of your health, you’ll be more energized, focused, and capable of taking your trucking business to the next level.

3. Focus Is Key

Business owners become successful by staying focused, committed, and driven. It’s easy to lose focus in the hustle of day-to-day operations; to grow your business, however, try incorporating healthy and productive habits. Each morning, write out your goals for the day then focus on them one at a time. When you focus on too many things at once, you lose up to 40% of your productivity. Working one goal at a time will help you hone in on the day ahead. While on the clock, eliminate distractions and stay committed to your goals. Combine your focus and commitment, and those around you will see you as a driven leader and someone they want to work with.

4. Work Harder and Smarter

Having a business means setting goals, achieving them, then working hard to outdo yourself on your next set of plans. A study from Harvard showed 3% of graduate students had written goals and plans. Ten years later, the 3% were making 10 times more than the 97% who didn’t have written goals. Make your goals achievable, then strive to achieve them. To work smarter, try placing your simple tasks and goals at the start of your day. It’ll give you a sense of accomplishment and help you conquer the more challenging tasks later.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Finally, don’t be afraid to fail. It works exactly how it sounds. Things don’t always go according to plan. Some things are past our control, and that’s OK. Successful owners aren’t afraid to leap, even in the face of potential failure. It’s important to lose any fear of judgment and view your losses as learning opportunities. To get to your future, weigh the pros and cons of new options, accept any outcome, then strive for the next best thing.

Now that you have the tools for success, it’s time to get to work.

Interested in learning what it takes to become a successful owner/operator? Check out our post, How to Succeed as an Owner/Operator. For more industry news and content, stay up to date with our blog. Ready to begin your career as a trucker, but need some financial guidance? Visit our website to view our list of services, and contact us with any questions.

How Working from Home is Affecting the Transportation Industry

COVID-19 changed just about every aspect of American society, including our work lives. Earlier this year, many offices and places of business transitioned to a remote work structure with a majority of employees working out of their homes. One of the results of this change is some people no longer have a daily commute. The initial lack of commuters on the road drastically impacted traffic patterns and the transportation industry as a whole. While traffic patterns are increasing again, the transition continues to impact truckers—who are now in higher demand. Keep reading to find out exactly how remote work impacts traffic patterns, demand, and the day-to-day lives of owners/operators.

Truckers Have the Roads to Themselves

While some U.S. cities are seeing lower traffic levels—a decrease by up to 63%—trucking continues to be steady. The pandemic increased trucking activity and boosted cargo volumes since the shift in March. For truckers, large chunks of time can be spent battling gruesome traffic, drastically lowering the productivity of the entire supply chain. In 2016, the American Transportation Research Institute determined an estimated $74.5 billion in excess operating costs could be blamed on heavy traffic. This impressive figure speaks to the extent to which traffic determines the effectiveness of the entire supply chain.

Peak traffic hours in the mornings and evenings can almost entirely be contributed to commuters. Without them, those hours don’t bring the same congestion. Trucking companies used to have to completely change their routes in order to avoid high traffic areas. Many companies even planned the locations of their facilities in order to avoid trucks having to cross through metropolitan hubs. With lighter traffic than usual in some areas, many truckers can now take more direct routes and get to their destinations much faster.

Less Traffic Equals Less Liability

Having fewer drivers on the road makes traveling safer for owners/operators. By having fewer cars on the road, there is a smaller margin of error when it comes to accidents and collisions. Busy roads and traffic have been linked to increased rates of reported low-speed accidents. A study conducted by the Department of Transportation in the state of Maryland confirmed a positive correlation in the frequency and severity of collisions in high congestion lanes. When there are more cars on the road, it adds an elevated level of unpredictability. When accidents do occur in heavy traffic, that collision is much more likely to reverberate and cause pile-ups.

Streamlining the Supply Chain

The work-from-home structure also necessitates additional supplies. Since people are in their homes all day, they’re using delivery services more frequently, thus boosting business for truckers. Because of this increase in demand, trucking companies are rapidly adapting to make it all work. As mentioned earlier, many owners/operators are trying to plan routes for more direct travel. Additionally, warehouse reconfiguration allows truckers to spend less time at inventory facilities, and more time getting everyone the supplies they need to thrive from home.

Getting Back to “Normal”

Studies by StreetLight Data note that traffic is returning to its previous levels, particularly in rural areas, at a quicker pace than originally expected. As more motorists return to their daily commute, truckers might see a return to pre-COVID conditions. Fortunately, the transportation industry as a whole has evolved during this period. Even after traffic picks back up, the industry has found new and creative solutions—such as redesigned routes, streamlined loading procedures, and overall supply chain optimization—to make the entire supply chain more efficient and profitable. Additionally, as the disruption continues, more and more people will remain in their homes, amplifying the demand.

While traffic may be starting to increase again, getting up to 90% of the pre-pandemic levels, most metropolitan areas are still reporting lower congestion rates. The advancements made during this new period will have ripple effects that remain far past this period of uncertainty.

Going forward, many companies are discovering that remote work is productive, and as everyone settles into working from home, it might remain that way. If working from home becomes the new standard, the benefits it’s had for the transportation industry can be further capitalized upon in the months, and possibly years, to come.

Mission Financial is your all-in-one resource for trucking financing and industry news. Check out our comprehensive blog for updates on the transportation industry.

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