The trucking industry is imperative to the United States shipping supply chain. Projections estimate that by 2014, 14 billion tons of freight will be transported annually by truckers in the United States. As fuel and operational expenses rise, it is important for trucking business owners to plan their daily operations to allow the business to profit and remain viable over the long term. With the assistance of technology and planning, trucking businesses can maximize their profits and continue to move America.
Calculate the break-even cost for each load that you haul by figuring out the cost of fuel, labor and a portion of your business’s fixed expenses. To establish your fixed expenses, include costs like monthly truck payments, insurance, licenses, taxes and office expenses. Divide this amount by the number of loads you plan to haul each month to determine the amount of fixed expenses to charge with each load.
Provide customers and brokers with a realistic price estimate for each load. Ask as many questions about the load as possible when discussing potential contracts with a customer and use this information to give an estimate that covers your break-even costs as well as your desired percentage of profit. Plan loads so you can profit hauling to and from your destination. Consider the costs associated with returning to your business base with an empty truck if you are not able to arrange a return load, and include these costs in your price.
Maintain regulatory compliance by working with your employees to ensure that log books are properly filled out, trucks are not overloaded and drivers are not working longer than allowed by law. Tracking compliance will not only help keep drivers safe reducing the potential cost of accidents but it will also help your business avoid fines from regulatory agencies.
Use fleet management software. Keep track of your fleet maintenance and work in one location for easy reference, along with reminders to stay on top of regular oil changes, tire rotations and more. By regularly maintaining your fleet, the long-term cost of major repairs will be reduced.