Trucking is a unique business. It allows you a great deal of physical freedom as you travel all over the country, picking up and dropping off the freight that fuels a large part of our economy. Running a business under these circumstances can be very challenging, though, and it takes a good business plan to be successful. Even if you’re anchored at a base while your drivers are on the road, it is a unique operation that calls for some specific knowledge and action.
It is important to understand how technology can help a business like trucking today. Thirty years ago, the process of managing a trucking business from the driver’s seat was very difficult for owner-operators, with no way to communicate with everyone from mechanics to clients. For the office, it was easier to communicate but much slower.
Thanks to the advent of cell phones and internet technology, though, it is very different today. These tools can work with your entrepreneurial skills to let your business handle much of its own management while you’re logging windshield time. There are also some specific things you can do to help manage your trucking business that are over and above those of startups in general.
There is probably the no bigger problem with a trucking business than getting paid. Fuel, repairs, maintenance, and payroll come around quickly, and if invoices aren’t being paid in a timely fashion, the cash flow situation can become negative very quickly.
That’s what drives trucking companies to work with companies like TBS Factoring. Their clients are the trucking companies who are transporting freight all over the country, and these companies simply send their invoices to TBS, which pays them out immediately. TBS then proceeds to bill the actual customer. The trucking company gets paid faster and doesn’t have all the work of sending bills, processing payments, pursuing delinquent accounts, and so on.
Manage The Fleet
Even if you just operate one truck, you will be surprised at how quickly you’ll need to address its upkeep. Tracking mileage, tire usage, fuel consumption, and routine maintenance require a lot of attention to detail. Utilize a computerized system for assimilating and tracking all this data so that a quick glance can tell you that your last brake inspection was 8,000 miles ago or that you had the clutch rebuilt 38,000 miles ago.
Build a network of resources around the country. Talk with other drivers about where you can find reputable towing and repairs in various corners of your territory so that you or one of your drivers isn’t scrambling to identify qualified help when the truck is down and time-management is crucial.
Plan Routes and Anticipate Weather
There is no more unpredictable or destructive element to delivery times than traffic issues. The driver of the 1980’s could often do nothing to avoid construction, detours, and accidents. There was no option but to sit there and wait.
Things are different today. There are countless apps on the market with real-time traffic data, and navigation systems help us quickly develop alternatives to get around problems before we are stuck dealing with long delays. Weather apps can give us a heads-up on impending weather problems like snow, wind, or severe weather. Every driver should have an arsenal of these apps and should be thoroughly trained in their use.
Trucking is a very lucrative industry for companies that manage themselves well. No matter how much information or money may change hands electronically today, we still must use trucks and trains to move goods from place to place. For that reason, the future of trucking looks bright, but only for the companies that utilize the right mix of technological tools with sound business management.