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Friday, January 20, 2017

How To Safely Navigate Your Semi Truck Through Winter Weather



Brace yourselves, winter isn't coming, it’s already here. There have already been some major snowstorms, even in surprising places, like South Carolina and Georgia. Icy, snowy, and wet conditions can make driving tricky, especially for truckers, but you can’t just stop driving until Spring arrives. Instead, you have to drive through some wintery conditions, so do it correctly, and know when to stop.

Fighting The Ice


Before embarking on a winter trip check the weather, if a major blizzard is going to blow through your route then give yourself a few extra days to make your delivery. Keeping your life and preventing accidents is more important than getting tons of skittles to Wal-Mart. However, we do understand the certain situations when a delivery of essential items needs to be made.

Pack a bag of emergency items. Include extra blankets, and warm clothes like a waterproof jacket, a warm hat, gloves, and boots, in case you have to get out of your cab and wait to be rescued. If you stay in your cab you’ll need those blankets to keep warm. An idle truck doesn’t fill the cab for heat for long. Also, be careful, your cab could filling with carbon monoxide, which is lethal.

Your emergency kit should also include food and water in case you get stranded. A flashlight and flares so you can see in the dark, and people can see you. A windshield scraper, jumper cables, chains or traction mats, and a bag or either salt or sand.

When you’re getting ready to leave and at every stop top off your gas and make sure your windshield fluid is topped off with all season fluid that won’t freeze. Also, make sure your truck has antifreeze and has been serviced for winter conditions. Your tires should be winter tires or all season tires to have deeper grooves for more traction and they should be full of air.

Make sure that your heaters and defrosters are all working properly, along with your window wipers, which you should have a really good pair to wipe thick snow and ice away.

Defrost your windows completely and wipe all the snow away for the best visibility. Then wipe any snow from your headlights, tail lights, and blinkers away, so you can see and people can see you. Also, don’t forget to wipe the snow off the top of your cab! 

While driving, slow the heck down. Don’t accelerate too quickly, don’t brake too hard, and don’t take turns too quickly. Keep a firm grip on the wheel, stay calm, and don’t make sudden jerky movements. Never use cruise control as it over spins the tires if you start to slip or slide.

Keep extra distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you. If you can see their taillights as snow is falling then you’re too close. Keep an eye on everyone around you. If you’re whizzing past people creeping in the right line, slow down. They’re probably creeping for a good reason.

Watch out for black ice. When conditions are between 22 to 32 degrees, it’s actually the most dangerous because the snow and ice are very wet and slippery, and the road freezes in some places that can be hard to see.

Be careful when you approach bridges, as they freeze first and can be tricky. Plus, pay attention to all road signs, they’re pretty serious with winter conditions. If a curve should be taken at 35 mph don’t push it.

If you have thoughts creeping in the back of your mind, then it’s time to stop. No need to push it. Simply pull off at a rest stop, motel, or 24-hour restaurant and wait it out. In most cases snow plows have interstates and ramps cleared pretty quickly.

Should you start to slip and lose control do not slam on the brakes, especially if your trailer isn’t straight. Ease off the gas and gently glide to a stop while maintaining your steering.

Happy Trucking


Winter has arrived and we're expecting a lot of snow storms this year, even in the Southern states. Watch out Texans, and northern Floridians, snow could even hit your area, so be prepared with the tools necessary to make it through wintry conditions, be safe, and know when to stop.

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax and please share your stories about driving through wintery conditions in the comment section below.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

4 Ways For Owner Operators To Improve Business

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Maybe you want to be an owner operator for the obvious reasons like the freedom of owning your own rig and making your own transport decisions, or you’re currently an owner operator looking for ways to improve your business. Either way, it takes a patience and a few attitude adjustments and you’ll have to develop a few new habits in order to get the bigger paychecks to roll in. Luckily we have a little advice on how to make it big as an owner operator.

Successful Qualities In Owner Operators


1. Realize Your Value


Right out of the gate you have the realize that people will pay you for your value. You’ll earn as much as you’re worth, so it’s not good to get cocky and lazy. Assuming that your work is worth more than it is won’t get you anywhere. Instead, you have to put in the time and build quality relationships.

You will have to put in more hours. If you’re already working overtime, unfortunately, you may have to squeeze in even more hours on the road. Your weekend life may become a little nonexistent for a while in order to establish yourself. Also, keep in mind that more hours on the road, means more time away from home, so it’s best to be in a position where your pets and family understand why you’re around less.

With more freedom comes more responsibility. You have to make the calls, schedule dispatches, file all of the paperwork, and more. You also can’t assume that other people will fill out paperwork on time or correctly. Be sure to check in on them and go over their work. 

2. Be Practical With Income


The thrill of a bigger paycheck is extremely exciting. It gets you thinking about all the stuff you could buy, like a lift kit for your wrangler or maybe even the down payment for a pool in your backyard. However, you have to wait before spending money on yourself, because there are bumps in the road.

There will be months where business is slow, your truck will need work done, you could catch an illness that makes you unable to drive for a few days, and you could be apart of an accident. We can’t predict the future, but we do know that some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug. So, make sure you have money set aside to cover emergencies.

When it comes to your truck a warranty can help, but they don’t usually cover everything. Take care of your truck. Keep it clean, take it for regular maintenance and tune-ups. Don’t push those oil changes off! Your truck is your expensive tool, it’s not a toy. It’s best to get the total value out of it so you don’t have to face the high costs of getting a new one. 

3. Market Yourself


People won’t magically come to you, you have to make yourself available, and you have to find them. Then build long-lasting relationships with them. Building a longterm relationship with a carrier will bring in more business on a regular basis. You don’t want to have to go hunting for more work every month.

However, not every carrier is the right carrier. Some cut corners and have bad practices. Research everything you can about your options as far as their rates, costs, customer records, safety records, internal relationships, and more.

Take advantage of the internet. Have a site for your business built and spread yourself all across social media and trucking boards. Create a LinkedIn profile and place ads on Craigslist that include your resume. Make it possible for anyone looking for an owner operator to find you. Also, establishing a web presence could lead you to lifelong networking opportunities to keep your business afloat for as long as you can keep on trucking.

Being an owner operator is expensive. Be sure to total in the costs of gas, meals, truck insurance, cargo insurance, tax fees, truck payments, and more. If you like getting breaks on a few of these expenses maybe you should stick to being a company driver.

4. Be Patient


Stay calm, and keep driving. It takes a long time to become a successful owner operator, we’re talking months to years. On average, an owner operator takes home about 40k during their first year, and that’s if they work extremely hard.

You need to slow down and be a planner. Make meetings with financial advisors to get a business plan together. Take the time to consider all the options when buying a truck, between new, used, or leasing.

Heck, take a step back to think about if you truly want to be an owner operator. Seek out other owner operators and ask them for advice on how to get started and what it really takes.

Do You Have What It Takes?


As long as your patient, realistic, ready to put in extra work, and make financially smart decisions you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful owner operator. For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com, and be sure to comment on what it takes to be a successful owner operator in the comment section below.


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Friday, January 13, 2017

Have You Seriously Considered Leasing Your Truck?

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Alright, so you’re thinking about becoming an owner operator or independent driver, that generally comes with getting your own truck. However, have you carefully considered all of your options from buying a brand new truck, buying a used truck, or maybe even leasing a truck?

The Benefits of Leasing


Sometimes leasing gives truck drivers a break because buying a trucks is just outright expensive. For a reliable truck, that's older and used the costs are about upwards of $40k. Plus, to get a loan for that bad boy then you need good credit, what happens if you’re rejected or if your credit causes you that have a higher monthly rate?

Well then, you can lease. Leasing provides smaller down payments, and generally provides you with lower monthly rates, even though some leasing companies have step up payments, which means after a period of time the monthly payments will go up. Also, along with lower monthly rates leasing your truck may provide you with more tax deductions.

However, don’t get discouraged, if you want to have your own truck one day, you can do it. Simply keep driving a company truck for a while and save up some money while cleaning up your credit or check out leasing options, some of which include leasing to own.

Leasing is basically agreeing to pay a company a fixed monthly rate in exchange for the ability to use their truck for a set amount of time. You are bound by a contract, that generally lasts about three years or so, which is much shorter than the commitment of buying a truck. At the end of the agreement, you can return the truck, lease it again, or work towards owning it. Returning the truck early or breaking the lease will come with fines and consequences.

When you lease a truck you can get the picture of what it would be like owning your own truck and the extra expenses that come along with it. For example, you’ll be responsible for the maintenance repairs big and small on your leased truck. Plus, all of the insurance that comes with it, like cargo insurance, health insurances, and more.

Luckily at the end of the lease agreement if you see that you actually don’t want to own your own truck and miss the financial comforts of driving a company truck you can simply return your truck. Leasing is much more flexible than owning a truck.

Technology is moving quickly these days. Every time you buy the latest, most innovative truck, something more advanced rolls out about an hour later. With a leased truck you can more quickly upgrade to more advanced and more fuel efficient trucks on a regular basis.

If you end up buying a truck and then realize it isn’t the correct career move for yourself, then you could lose out on a lot when you sell the truck due to the depreciation of its value.

However, you might enjoy the freedom that comes with leasing. It gives you more of an ability to quickly change companies if need be. Plus, you can choose a truck that’s best suited for your personal preferences.

Is Leasing Right For You?


If money is tight and you’re chomping at the bit to get started as an independent trucker leasing gives you a quick way out with a cheaper down payment and lower rate. It also comes with more freedom and flexibility to either return your truck to upgrade to a nicer one more often. 

However, you should speak with an accountant or financial advisor first to determine which move is best for your career plans and current financial situation.

For more trucking advice keep checking back with ExpressTruckTax.com and be sure to share your thoughts and experiences with leasing a truck in the comment section below.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We're Revealing 8 Secrets About Average Owner Operators

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If you’re thinking about finally taking the leap to become an owner operator in most cases the risk is worth the reward, if done properly. However, if done improperly you could go under pretty quickly and build up a lot of debt. In order to see if the owner operator or independent trucker lifestyle is right for you, we’ve put together a list of common traits found in successful owner operators.

Secrets About The Average Owner Operator


1. Owner operators are financially smart. When the bigger paychecks finally start to roll in they don’t blow it all on a new pool table or jet ski. They set money aside until they can afford that cool stuff later in order to plan for accidents like major truck repairs or for when business is slow. Engine repairs or accidents can set you back quite a ways, so it’s best to be prepared.

2. They’re older guys. I guess some truckers just need to grow up a little first before making the transition to becoming an independent driver instead of a corporate jockey. The average age of truckers for both men and women is about 37 when they become owner operators and the average age of owner operators out there on the road right now is 55.

3. Most are patient and persistent creatures of habit. They’ve lived and driven around the same area for years, and realize that success doesn’t come overnight. You could spend years building your personal business before it really takes off.

Plus, they take care of their trucks with regular maintenance. By squeezing every penny possible out of their rig it will last longer and they won’t have to deal with the major expenses of getting a new one, so don’t skip out on those oil changes, tire rotations, tune-ups, and more.

4. The majority of owner operators are gone most of the time. They put in more hours and spend more nights away from home. More miles put on the road is simply a part of the job if you want to make it. To avoid putting stress on your family and relationships remember to call time or facetime them as much as possible. Hopefully, you won’t feel guilty about missing a few holidays or special occasions too.

5. Now this isn’t a plus, but it is a fact. Most owner operators are unhealthy. They’re obese, they’re smokers, and have issues like high blood pressure. In order to take your business further and have the energy to maintain it get a little healthier. Try to go for healthy snacks like a package of almonds or a heart healthy omelet for breakfast. Maybe see where you can fit in an extra walk around the truck stop or experiment with exercises you can do from your cab.

6. Owner operators tend to be experienced, drivers. They have some education like a high school degree and maybe a little college, but in most cases, they went to driving school and completed their courses. They were determined students who put at least 60 hours of driving training behind the wheel to learn how to drive like a boss. Plus, most owner operators don’t come from average desk jobs, they spend a few years out on the road trucking for companies first.

7. The average owner operator is a planner. They don’t spend down time twiddling their thumbs or checking facebook, they spend it planning their next move. When their freight is being unloaded they’re scheduling a new pick up. Also, they’re always thinking about who they need to call in order to build good relationships and gain repeat customers.

It’s important to check in with the people you regularly work with to show interest and keep spirits high. It’s also important to market yourself to new customers. Either from your office or your cab think about where to go and who to call next instead of going in blind.

8. They answer to almost no one. While owner operators still have to comply with DOT regulations and taxes like the 2290 and IFTA they don’t have managers constantly watching them to make sure they follow every little company policy. They only keep up with their own standards which do involve a high level of professionalism. The fact is they have a nice level of freedom on the open road.

Are You Ready To Become An Owner Operator?


The average owner operator is a hard working person who is financially smart. They’re planners and don’t mind putting in a little extra elbow grease. If you’re ready to take the leap make sure you have a good head on your shoulders for being your own boss and the persistence and patience to make your business successful.

More more trucking tips keep coming back to ExpressTruckTax.com and be sure to share your facts about the average owner operator in the comment section below.
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Do You Have Time To Be An Owner Operator?

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The ultimate trucking dream is to, of course, become an owner operator. I mean heck, who wouldn’t want the freedom of planning their own hours and routes, without a supervisor breathing down their neck. The answer to that question is simple, it’s the guys that simply don’t have the time.

The Extra Hours Owner Operators Put In


When it comes down to it owner operators simply put more time in on the road. They drive farther routes and often end up racking up a lot of overtime. Sometimes they only sleep about six hours a night before returning to the pavement. Can you safely operate a truck on less sleep? If you like feeling well rested you might wanna stay on the company dime.

Plus, more hours on the road mean more hours away from home. Do you have a wife, girlfriend, kids, or even a pet back home that you don’t want to leave? Sometimes relationships become strained with extra hours spent away. If you want to be home with your loved ones, then, by all means, be with them.

If you have a demanding schedule, like custody of your kids every other weekend or a pool league that meets once a week then being an owner operator might make you miss these agreed upon activities. Not only will you have less time away from home, but you’ll have less time for personal activities like watching football games, working on your bike, or catching up on the latest action movies and video games.

Also, it takes awhile to even get started as an owner operator. The process isn’t for the impatient. You have to get a plan together and go to meetings with financial planners to see the proper way of starting your business. It involves a lot of waiting and talking. Then you have to try to get loans and depending on your credit, that could be tricky. You might have to set up a few meetings with different banks and wait to talk about your loan options.

Becoming an owner operator involves a lot of time before jumping in a truck and taking off down the road. In fact, it may take a long time to even find the perfect truck for you. With so many options to consider from new to used, buying or leasing, or leasing to own you need to consider what will work best for your financial situation in the beginning.

When you finally have the right truck you have to put in more time to maintain it. The goal is to give every single pennyworth out of it, because with no truck you have no business. You’ll have to go to the dealership for regular oil changes, check the oil filters, replace the belts, and more. You’re gonna have to keep your truck clean and smelling nice, as it’s basically going to be your office, so treat it as well as your first born son.

Then when you finally take the leap to becoming an owner operator it can take years to become established. You have to spend time on the phone to build long lasting relationships with shippers. You have to have a website to professionally represent yourself and take the time to build an online presence on social media.

You also have to get good at being an owner operator which takes practice. It takes a while to learn how to plan productive routes with pick ups and drop offs near each other so you aren’t hauling an empty trailer. You also have to learn how to be a good salesman to sell yourself, and it’s also good to learn how to save money here thereby becoming a fuel efficient driver or with budget planning for meals and supplies.

If You Have The Time Go For It


Why wait? The perfect time for getting your plan together to become an owner operator is right now! As long as you have the time to make the right plan, get the right rig, and can handle putting in a lot of extra hours you can enjoy the trucking freedom of being your own boss.

for more trucking tips be sure to visit ExpressTruckTax.com, and share your thoughts on be a time consuming owner operator in the comment section below. 
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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Rookie Mistakes New Owner Operators Need To Avoid

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So, you’re thinking about becoming an owner operator and cutting ties with your dumb jerk of a manager for the freedom of the open road in your own truck? Well, at least you’re doing one thing right, by putting some actual thought into it. It’s a big step and can sink your finances pretty quickly if you make the wrong moves. Let us help you out by sharing some tips about rookie mistakes to avoid.

They Don’t Run The Numbers


New owner operators will crash and burn pretty quickly if they don’t consider the costs it will take to keep themselves afloat. While you’re barreling down the road in a company truck look at all of the miles and consider the cost of gas, the cost of food, maintenance costs, repairs, and more.

Plus, can you take on more monthly payments? Part of being an owner operator is owning your own rig, and they’re expensive. You’ll also have to get insurance for your rig, and for yourself, adding two more monthly bills.

Don’t forget that hours also add up. Can you handle the longer routes? Are you prepared for overtime? Will your family understand the increase in the amount of time that you're gone on the road? 

Rookies Don’t Save Money


Part of the pull of being an owner operator is having more money in your pocket, but you can’t just throw your hard earned money at a brand new bike or a fancy car. You need an emergency fund because accidents and surprises happen.

Business could get slow and you’ll need your emergency fund to pay the bills or your employees before they bail and your entire operation falls apart. Plus, we know you’ve seen your fair share of wrecks, what happens if your truck gets involved? Can you cover the major repair costs? Will your business sink if you’re without your truck for a month or more for repairs? 

New Guys Waste Down Time


New guys like to take breaks. They don’t take advantage of downtime to plan and prep for their next drop offs, pick ups or loads. When you’re hanging out at a dock during an unload it’s tempting to catch up on phone games like Clash of Clans or browse social media, but you could be cleaning or maintaining your truck.

Doing simple tasks during your down time will save you time during your days off. Clear out your fast food trash, attend to spills, and clean up sticky messes to keep your cab neat and clean. Put on your oil suit and go under the cab for a little maintenance. Plan out your next route, complete with food stops. It only takes a little less goofing off to be an efficient planner for your business. 

Tenderfoots Buy New Trucks


Now a big part of being an owner operator is choosing your truck. You get to pick it with all of its glory. New guys often go for a brand spanking new rig with all the bells and whistles. They don’t consider the big monthly payments and insurance costs that come with new trucks.

Starting off in a used truck helps you squirrel away a lot of money with cheaper down payments and cheaper monthly rates. Plus, if you discover that being an owner operator isn’t your thing then used trucks often have a better turn around rates for your wallet. When the time is right and your finances are in order you can upgrade to a brand new truck. 

They Skip Out on Regular Maintenance


Maybe your used rig isn’t the best, but it’s yours. You’ll love it as your firstborn. Why make unnecessary costs of upgrading to a new truck too soon? Get the most miles out of your truck by getting in the habit of doing routine maintenance. Get the tires rotated, get the oil changed, replace the bests and spark plugs so your rig can keep on trucking.

You’ll actually be surprised by how good you’ll feel by sticking to deadlines instead of taking the lazy day out and driving extra miles in between oil changes. 

Is It Time To Become An Owner Operator?


Are you ready to take the leap to advance your trucking career? Are you ready for your own truck on the road, without sticking to annoying company policies? Are you financially set to launch your new adventure? If so, then go for it! Just make sure you’ve thought the costs and risks through and have a solid plan.

If you have rookie mistakes to add to our list be sure to comment in the section below. Also, check back with ExpressTruckTax.com for more trucking tips.
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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Costs to seriously Consider When Buying A Rig

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Whether you’re becoming an owner operator, a fleet manager looking to expand your operation, or tired of leasing, it might be time to buy your own rig. However, there are a few hidden or not so obvious costs to consider. Be sure to consider the following costs that go into buying new or used tractor-trailers before busting out your checkbook.

Costs to Consider With New and Used Rigs

First things first, you’ll need a down payment. Spending between $10k to 40K on a new or used rig will help you get a lower monthly rate. That’s another thing, every month you’ll have a big new bill in the mail!

When buying a new truck the monthly bill will be there for years hanging over your head. Buying used will give you more of a short-term investment that you can pay off in a quicker amount of time, with a possible lower monthly rate.

Did you know that new trucks come with fancy warranties? There are even extended warranties! They can really save your butt if you need a repair early on, but they also can add a lot onto your monthly tab.

Warranties on older rigs cost a bit more, because obviously and older rig will need more maintenance than a newer one. Say you’re interested in a rig with over 500k miles on it, it will hard to get a detailed report about it’s driving history. At least with a new rig, you know every detail about it. However, with an older rig the warranty payment may balance out with the cheaper monthly payment.

Although, keep in mind that even though older rigs are sturdier they usually have more issues and bigger problems. For example, most older truckers need a total engine rebuild around 700,000 miles! Plus, are the axles, tires, transmission, suspension, and more in good shape?

Have you considered insurance? Legally you need it to keep your truck on the road. Insuring a brand new rig will add more to your monthly bills. Driving without it could leave you with huge penalty fees, especially if you’re involved in an accident. Generally, trucks with cheaper values have cheaper insurance rates, but if you have a bad driving record your rate could skyrocket. Watch out for those speeding tickets!

This may seem obvious, but trucks with all the bells and whistles cost more. Do you want an automatic truck? Do you make overnight trips? If so, do you want a medium-sized sleeper or one with an extended roof?

As mentioned above, older truckers are often built a bit sturdier. This comes in handy with the resell value. If you’re looking for a truck to start out in then make sure you get something you can resell later when you’re ready to upgrade. Avoid a cheaply made new truck that you will have trouble flipping later.

At the end of the day, you’ll still have to consider all of the maintenance costs. Gas, which is cheaper in newer, more fuel-efficient rigs can really add up. Maintenance like oil changes and tune-ups, taxes, filing fees, repairs, and more may cost more on an older rig too.

Don’t just head down to the lot and pick a pretty color, research your options and go with a list of what you’re looking for in a new or used rig to make sure that you get the best option for your current financial state.

Get That Rig and Get to Trucking!

If it’s the right time to get your first new truck, a new to you truck that’s used, or upgrade to a better truck then go for it! It’s a great feeling to go down the road in something that’s totally yours. Just make sure that your finances are in order and you take the time and consideration to find your perfect match.

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com, be sure to share your truck buying experiences in the comment section below.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Common Start-Up Trucking Company Mistakes

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Trucking is a competitive industry that millions of people try to break into every year. Also, many truckers seek to make the transition from truck driver to owner operator, and unfortunately a lot of them fail. If you want your trucking company to make it avoid these common mistakes.

New Guys Don’t Plan

Sometimes new trucking company owners don’t take the time to consider what will make their business work or fail. Instead, they say goodbye to their managers and take off down the road without being sure of their next move.

They don’t sit down with a CPA or business professional who can help them draw up the plans for getting equipment, hiring a few people, getting loans, and more. They go in blind and get hit with too many unknowns, and often times crawl back to their manager to ask for their job back as a result.

They don’t plan for more than one load at a time. They haul something to a city far away and drive home with an empty trailer wasting days at a time. Try to get a few loads near each other to make getting out there and back home worth it.

Their Finances are a Mess

With a bad credit score and bad financial planning bring on a lot of problems fast. If you spend all your money on one top of the line rig what will your other drivers use? Something that should have been left in the junkyard years ago?

Don’t just jump in and buy something. If your credit is a mess you’ll have trouble getting a proper loan, or your monthly rate and interest charges may go through the roof. Consider leasing as a cheaper option. There are even lease to own options available.

Another rookie mistake is not having any money set aside for maintenance and accidents. Trucks need regular servicing and run into problems just as much as we do, so be prepared in the event of dents, dings, and accidents. Will you be able to stay afloat if one of your trucks can’t be used for a month?

Then they also forget or don’t realize that shippers pay out on 40 to 60-day bases, so for a load they deliver today, they might not get paid for it for up to two months. What in the world? No money for two months? Then how will you pay your bills and employees? By planning ahead by having savings in advance ready to go in order to avoid payday loan services.

They Cut Corners

Instead of taking the time to call people in their area and develop quality relationships with shippers they just hit the load board over and over for quick, one-day loads that are competitive and don’t offer much return.

They get shoddy equipment that quickly malfunctions and hire less than reputable truckers that will deliver a load for cheaper, but don’t exactly build the best relationships with truckers.

They skip out on quality people to work in the back office at home. Without someone to do the paperwork and filing then it will all come back on you. Do you have time to handle everything yourself? Will you remember to keep up with tax filings and DOT regulations?

They Don’t Market Themselves

How can shippers choose you if they don’t know who you are? Put your brand on the side of your trucks. Put your drivers in uniforms with hats and shirts that display the name of your company.

Also, you can have a small team at home that works on making outbound calls to shippers in order to set up meetings to introduce yourself and talk about your business. As a result, long lasting relationships with repeat customers can be built.

You need to invest a little into having a professional website that displays your contact information. Plus, take advantage of social media to display your trucking company to millions of people online. Eventually, as your budget grows you can invest in google and social media ads.

They Start off too big

A lot of new guys cut off more than they can chew in the beginning and may choke as a result. Instead of slowly growing with two rigs they jump into business with five new trucks. If you don’t have loads for them to carry they’ll sit and collect dust as the bills pile up.

They hire truckers from all over. Someone in Charlotte will start paying guys in New York and Chicago instead of getting in with their local guys who usually are more reliable with cheaper rates. Creating a few personal relationships with truckers you can give raises to as your company grows will take you a lot further than have too many truckers all over the place.

There are too many people in the back office. New owner-operators get nervous about all the stuff that needs to happen so they’ll bring on secretaries and a big sales team, without considering the fact that they can’t pay that many people yet. Wait for the business to roll in before promising paychecks to too many people.

Slow Down and Plan it

Your trucking company can be successful. All you need to do is sit down with a financial planner and build a plan for your growing company. It may take off a little slower than expected, and there may be a few more things to consider than you thought, especially financially.

However, by taking it slow and adjusting to your new role as an owner operator and by building quality, long lasting relationships, before you know it you could have 10 trucks in your fleet or more!

For more tips on how to make it as an owner operator visit ExpressTruckTax.com and be sure to share your secrets to success in the comment section below.
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Friday, December 16, 2016

Are You Healthy Enough To Keep On Trucking?

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One of the biggest concerns on the road is safety. Everyone passes accidents big and small, and we’re sure you have a good amount of stories of about the crazy things you’ve seen happen on the road, that caused traffic to back up for miles. We’re also sure that you don’t want to be the reason for or involved in one of those accidents.

Truckers need to know when to drop off their last load and hang up their keys, before their health declines and affects their driving. Know the health risks associated with aging truckers in order to be able to live a healthy lifestyle, and when to call it quits to spend the wonder years with your wife, children, and grandkids.

Health Risks Associated With Aging Truckers Include:

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation, which we know, eye roll, you’ve heard about how driving tired is dangerous your whole life, and they hammered that fact home in driving school, but it actually leads to a lot of issues behind the wheel.

Most truckers get 6 hours of sleep or less a night, which is fine for the young bucks who remain energized and alert, and you might say well coffee helps you stay awake, but with age comes exhaustion.

Driving while exhausted impairs judgment, visions, decision making, affects short-term memory, increases aggression, and more. If you’re too tired you don’t need to be filled with road rage, leaving skid marks all over the road. Make sure you get the rest you need to have the energy to safely keep driving.

Obesity

The next one, obesity sneaks up on you. One day you’re enjoying a super-sized meal as per usual, then the next day your jeans are too tight. Now it’s great to be fat and happy, we aren’t body shaming. Heck, it’s even healthier for some people to have meat on their bones. However, there’s a fine line between fat and happy and at risk.

Obesity takes years off of the life with all the pressure it puts on your heart and leads to heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, and more. Now we aren’t saying do a 100% diet change and run 10 miles a day, simply make a few changes here and there.

Go for something healthy like fruit or nuts to snack on instead of chips and sweets. Don’t go for the burger and fries and steak every time, pick a salad, wrap, or grilled chicken option instead. Places like Denny’s and Waffle House do have smart heart options.

Also, try to get your blood pumping a little. Take a 5 to 10-minute walk around the truck stop store every time you stop to use the restroom and look up ways to do light strength training in or around your rig.

Smoking

Do you smoke? Over half of truckers do, so there’s over a 50/50 shot that you do. We won’t bore you with the usual facts you’ve heard over the years about smoking causing cancer, ruining your skin, and taking years off your life, but there are a few things for smokers to consider.

Smoking ruins your sleep. On average smokers sleep even less than nonsmokers do, increasing levels of exhaustion and driving impairment. It also raises your blood pressure, leading to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. So, if you want more energy to add more years of safe driving under your belt, with a healthy heart consider kicking the habit.

Also, are you prepared for the ill effects of smoking? If you do get cancer or one of the other major health risks associated with smoking can you handle more time in the doctor’s office for treatments and less time on the road due to being sick? Will your insurance handle the bills and will your family be alright financially if something happens to you?

At the end of the day take a look at your pack of cigarettes and ask yourself if those death sticks or worth harming your quality of life or not.

Depression

You may not have realized it, but some truckers are sad. With long hours on the road that are often spent alone, they get disconnected from other people. Then with added factors like obesity, sleep deprivation, and a smoking addiction can lower self-esteem.

Can you handle the hours alone on the road, or are you ready to retire and spend quality time with your family? A few ways to entertain your mind and keep your spirits high include talking to your loved ones. Call your family daily and see what they’re up to. Develop good relationships with your dispatcher and fellow truckers.

Plus, to feel good about yourself you can listen to educational podcasts or add some reading material to your routine before bed to learn and entertain your mind. This way you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your brain with endless hours of boredom.

You can also eat a little healthier, take a walk in the sun, or add a little exercise to your day to naturally feel better with some nutrition and by getting your blood pumping a little. You’d be surprised by how much better you can feel by making a few minor change to your routine.

Keep on Trucking!

We know you aren’t ready to give up the freedom of the open road. Heck, trucking is in your blood, what would living be without it? However, your health and family are also things to consider. Make sure you’re taking good care of yourself to add more years on the road under your belt, and to have a long time enjoying quality time with your family during retirement.

Be sure to share with us your tips on staying healthy while on the road in the comment section below and learn more tips about trucking at ExpressTruckTax.com.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Consider The Facts of Becoming an Owner Operator

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Do you want to become an owner operator? You love trucking, and the call of the road runs through your blood, but are you ready to take the next step to further your trucking career? Becoming an owner operator is a serious choice that can’t be made overnight, but considering these following facts may help you weigh in to make your final decision.

You Have to Talk to the Suits

It isn’t as simple as gassing up the rig and hitting 70 on the highway when becoming an owner operator, you need a plan. You also need to get around all of the red tape with the proper licenses and meet the standard regulations.

Most likely you’ll have to put on a nice shirt and go visit the offices of financial planners, accountants, and professionals who know the business and can help you make a serious plan for your trucking business. Trust us, even if you want to be independent and hate the idea of sitting in a boring waiting room, you’ll be a lot better off with a plan and guidelines to follow.

There are way More Costs Than you Think

As an owner operator, you will have to be financially smart and set budgets for your personal paychecks and meals. Can you handle sticking to a certain budget for every meal or will you buy a filet mignon at the beginning of the trip and be down to a loaf of bread a jar of peanut butter by the end of it?

How much debt do you have? Are you close to unburying yourself? Can you add more to your credit cards to spruce up your rig and make necessary repairs? On and off the road, emergencies happen, do you have funds squirreled away to handle them, even if you can’t work for a month or more? Will anyone give you a loan? Hopefully, your credit is in good shape.

Are you prepared for the future? You’ll need a lot of insurance, including disability and life. If you become disabled and can’t work you’ll need the regular checks to keep coming in to help you out. Also, if you don’t make it in the event of an accident don’t you want money going to your wife and family to get your affairs in order?

It Takes More Time

Are you ready to put in the time it takes to be an owner operator? Can you handle driving longer hours with further routes? Will you mind driving all weekend? You have to be ready to put in a little overtime, or while getting started and establishing yourself, a lot of overtime.

Do you like to park on the weekends at stops to talk to your fellow road warriors and catch up on some tv or shoot the breeze to talk about what the bears with ears are catching on the CB or how the turtle races have been grinding your gears? Unfortunately, owner operators have less time to fraternize.

Is your home life demanding? Do you have a wife and kids to get back to? Do you have to be back every other weekend for custody of your kids?

You and Your Truck Might not be Healthy Enough

How old are you and how do you feel? Can you stay up for longer hours to drive farther? Do you have the time to put in overtime hours or are you just too exhausted? You never want to push yourself past the dangerous limit!

Do you have a growing health condition that will require more time for rest in doctor visits in the future? Will you need time off for treatment? If so then it might be the best time to make the jump to owner operator.

How old is your truck? Can it make the distance? How many miles have you and your loved one gone together? Do you own your own trailer and is it in good condition to haul various loads of frozen foods or materials? What if you needs to haul liquids or livestock? Do you have the necessary trailers or will they be another expense?

You may Miss Company Comforts

Leasing yourself to a company or being totally independent is always something to consider. While the freedom of not having to say yes sir to a supervisor and not having to follow dumb little rules may seem irresistible, you might miss the perks.

Working with a company comes with company trailers, paid time off, reimbursements for permits, miles, gas, and more. Plus, you can get on a company insurance plan. It’s a little less work, with a little more financial padding, even if you have people to answer too.

Do you Have What it Takes?

This article isn’t meant to put you down or discourage you from taking the steps to become an owner operator, it’s to make sure you’re prepared. Consider all the costs and the effort it will take. In the end, if the timing is right, your finances are in order, and your health is in good condition then there’s nothing like being an independent owner operator, making your own schedule, without any managers breathing down your neck. It’s pure trucking freedom.

Learn more about becoming an owner operation at ExpressTruckTax.com and be sure to share your tips and tricks in the comment section below. 
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