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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Starting a Trucking Company? Be Sure to Obtain Your Intrastate Authority

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Featured Blogger
Benjamin Bellville
If you are just starting a trucking company then it’s important to obtain your intrastate authority as well as your interstate authority. Many people will tell you it’s a waste of money and that you will rarely use it or that it’s rare to get caught hauling freight that it’s required for, but I’m going to show you the importance of the intrastate authority and how it can make you extra money from time to time and the punishment that will come with getting caught hauling freight without it that requires it’s usage.

Interstate hauling is picking up freight in one state then transporting it to another state while an intrastate authority is required to pick up freight in a state and deliver it to the same state. Technically you are required to have an intrastate authority inside every state that requires it as law if you are going to be hauling intrastate freight within their borders. You can find out which of these states by asking whoever is handling the filing of your interstate authority.

By federal law you are required to keep records for every load you haul as well this information will be needed for your accounting. So you are going to have at a minimum a paper trail of 2-3 copies of this information out in the open that can be looked at by regulators any time they feel the need. In other words it’s going to be hard to hide this proof from state authorities. While it is rare that these records will be scrutinized for intrastate infractions you may face stiff penalties if caught. So why would anyone ever mess with an intrastate authority when they are starting a trucking company?

It’s a situation that’s not going to come up often like I mentioned therefor you won’t have much use for getting one in every state it requires, but for the state you are based in this is a situation that may occur from time to time. Take me for example, I live in Marietta, Ohio which is not a hotbed for outgoing great paying freight. So often when I would come home in order to get back on the freight circuit I ran, I would have to either dead head to Columbus, Cleveland or Cincinnati which was anywhere from 130-210 miles. Rather than lose money I would book a short load to get me there that I could easily incorporate into my schedule with picking up another longer better paying load in one of those cities all in the same day.

Unless you obtain your intrastate authority this would not be possible. Likewise after return trips to the state you could link a short load to get closer to home to cut down dead head on that end. Just a couple times of this scenario playing out easily pays the cost of the licensing and makes you more money in the long run, so despite what the average trucker says it’s planning like this that will put you over the top in being successful. So why would you not want to get it just in case?

Be sure to check out the great service and reliability that is offered for all of your highway vehicle use tax needs by Express Excise.
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

E-File 2290 for FREE - Wednesday Nov. 24th. Happy Thanksgiving!

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We at Express2290.com would like to sincerely thank our customers, our community, and the industry we serve for all of your support this year. 2010 has been a wonderful year and we could not have done it without you.

In an effort to show our gratitude, we will be offering FREE E-FILING of your HVUT tax forms on Wednesday, November 24th. No catch. No qualifications. No fine print - just genuine, honest-to-goodness e-filing of IRS 2290 forms for free.

We know the holidays can be tough, especially when the economy is bad. We hope this gesture of our appreciation will help get you home, keep food on the table, or put one extra gift under the tree this year. From our family to yours - stay safe this holiday season and God bless!

Happy Holidays,

James Harris
Director, Tax Products
ExpressTruckTax
www.Express2290.com
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Involving Drivers In The Freight Logistics Process

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Featured Blogger
Benjamin Bellville
Involving drivers in the freight logistics process can be a great way to boost your overall effectiveness when it comes to moving freight and customer relations. Many small trucking company owners don’t understand that this is a process that begins with the hiring of their drivers. First I’m going to show you some things to look for in employees that you will want for your company, then I will outline the ways you can involve them in the freight logistics process and the benefits it will afford your company by doing so.

Driver Hiring Criteria
When you are going to involve your drivers more in the day to day operations decisions you will need to look for a certain type of driver. Just because a driver has a clean driving record and good recommendations does not necessarily mean they are the driver for you and your approach. Here is what you should look for in the interview process.
  • Are they business minded?
  • Do they have strong organizational skills?
  • Do they have great communications skills?
  • Do they look professionally presentable?
  • Are they experienced in trucking company operations?
  • Do they know how to use a load board and book freight?
  • Basic computer skills?
  • Are they safety and compliance minded?
  • Do they believe in driving fuel efficiently?
  • Can they perform basic mechanical tasks?

This is just the tip of the iceberg here, and will be dependant on just how much responsibility you want to give your drivers over time. Important to remember is that many truck drivers choose to drive for small companies because they are made to feel like they are more a part of the process and that what they think matters. This type of approach fosters confidence in your company and has a higher retention rating than just treating them like another number in a truck.

If you feel they may just be inexperienced in the industry but are business minded enough to train then by all means give them a shot. Sell your company as a building ground for drivers to build their own business within your business while providing them all of the tools and help they will need to some day branch out on their own. Include them daily in the freight logistics process as by involving drivers you will be shocked at what they are truly capable of. After all they are the ones with the real road experience who have a better idea of what it takes to get freight from point A to B that someone in an office has to guess at.

Teach them how to be your eyes and ears and as a group your company will virtually run itself. Why more companies don’t understand this I will never know. They treat drivers exactly the way they are stereotyped in the news and by society, how does this make a driver feel good about working for you or make them truly care about your business success?

I hope this week's freight logistics posts have given you much food for thought and an idea of how to approach this topic when you start your company or how to make things better in your current company. Of course this has just been some highlights meant for a basic understanding, it’s up to you to unlock the approach that makes you most comfortable and that you feel provides you the best chance of success.

Did you know that when you start a trucking company you need to file for your HVUT taxes before you can obtain your IRP? Why not let Express2290 show you how they can save you money with fast electronic filing.
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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Managing Freight Logistics In A Small Trucking Company

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Featured Blogger
Benjamin Bellville
Today I am going to show you some simple ways for managing freight logistics for your small trucking company that will make your day to day operations easier. Meshing all of the different tasks together when you’ve never done so before can get a little tricky for the newcomer yet an ability to do so is important to your success as a small trucking company owner. Let’s look at the ways managing freight logistics can be made easier for the independent trucker or small fleet owner.

Outsourcing Freight Logistics
One of the biggest recurring themes for successful businesses is surrounding yourself with people providing services for you that lessen your work load and allow you to concentrate on the tasks that directly affect your revenue stream. These days there isn’t much that can’t be outsourced in any business, but to do so with all jobs would not be financially feasible with a small trucking operation. So which parts of managing freight logistics should be outsourced for a small trucking company and why?

Safety and compliance for your small trucking company can be outsourced to a service that will keep all of your safety records electronically which can be accessed on their website by you or an officer doing an audit of your files. The best advantage to this is it just looks more professional and you can guarantee that the files are being kept in a legal manner. It may seem a little expensive for just one to a few trucks, but when you consider that almost every little error could cost you a possible $10,000 fine then it doesn’t seem so steep. Think of it as D.O.T insurance and money well spent. One of the top companies that offer this service is Foley Services.

For mechanical upkeep it is something that in most small trucking companies will absolutely be outsourced. The best approach to doing this though is to build a relationship with a shop that is local to your company and get every bit of work needed done there. While many repair shops are out to gouge for every dime they can, you are more likely to get better deals by giving them steady business. Not to mention when one shop does the majority of your repairs they will have all of the records on hand to better evaluate current problems rather than just shooting in the dark and costing you more money. I had a great relationship with a shop local to me where they would often throw me small repairs for free since I always used them for my big repairs.

The last thing that should be outsourced is accounting. You need to make sure that in some way you and your drivers are keeping the best records possible so that when it is time to file your taxes it will cost less by taking less man hours for the accountant to calculate the data. In the future you can be sure to look for a new free program called “TruckLogix” that will help with not only financial record keeping but also mileage and fuel data. By using a program such as this all you need to do is input all of the data and hand over a copy to your accountant for filing.

By outsourcing these tasks you are going to be left with more time to concentrate on the bread and butter of trucking, freight! Finding loads, dispatching them and transporting them as well as working on customer relations. In my next post join me as I will be talking about the importance of including the driver in the freight logistics process to give your company a better chance of succeeding.

It’s never too soon to get set up for quick filing of your heavy tax needs here at Express2290, don’t procrastinate in order to have your filing needs ready for the click of a mouse with the best pricing in the trucking industry.
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Friday, November 19, 2010

New PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparers

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Beginning January 1, 2011 the IRS will require paid tax return preparers who prepare all or substantially all of a tax return to register and obtain a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). The requirements are intended to ensure tax preparers are competent and qualified.

Tax return preparers may apply for a PTIN using the IRS PTIN online application system at irs.gov. Individuals who currently possess a PTIN will need to reapply under the new system but generally will be reassigned the same number.

The IRS has also set up a special toll-free telephone number, 1-877-613-PTIN (7846), that tax professionals can call for technical support related to the new online registration system. Applicants will pay a $64.25 fee to obtain a PTIN, which will be valid for one year.

Receipt of a PTIN will be immediate after successful online registration. Tax preparers may also submit a paper application (Form W-12: IRS Paid Preparer Tax Identification Number Application). Paper applications will be processed in four to six weeks. Before registration, applicants should consider that the date the PTIN is assigned is established as the annual renewal date.

PTIN applications will require a Social Security number. Individuals without a Social Security number may apply but will be required to provide one of the following: Form 8945 (PTIN Supplemental Application for U.S. Citizens Without a Social Security Number Due to Conscientious Religious Objection) or Form 8946 (PTIN Supplemental Application for Foreign Persons Without a Social Security Number.)

Check the Express2290 blog soon for more information regarding the IRS PTIN requirements.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Freight Logistics for Beginners

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Featured Blogger
Benjamin Bellville
When you go to start a trucking company it is important to understand freight logistics for beginners as this is the core of a trucking operation, whether a one truck operation or a multiple truck fleet. Logistics is defined as the management of the flow of goods, information or services from the point of creation to the point of consumption. Freight logistics simply put is the process by which you will get the goods from point A to point B, but entails much more than just driving the truck. Let’s take a look at all of the operations that will make up your freight logistics daily process.

1. Management - managing yourself, other drivers or employees to make sure that all the cogs in the wheel are rolling together properly.
2. Booking Freight - making contracts for direct freight or finding loads from brokers on load boards.
3. Dispatching - properly assigning the load to a truck that can get the freight there in a timely and compliant manner.
4. Safety and Compliance - ensuring that all company operations follow federal and state guidelines for safety and compliance, as well as keeping the company files stored properly up to code.
5. Accounting - keeping proper records of accounts receivable and accounts payable.
6. Transporting Goods - driving in a safe and compliant manner while making sure to be on time with agreed to scheduling for pickups and delivery.
7. Customer Relations - building strong relationships with brokers, shippers and receivers as well as any businesses you work with to maintain other aspects as mentioned above.
8. Mechanical Upkeep - making sure your equipment meets guidelines set forth by federal and state regulations, keeping it looking presentable and professional.

Perhaps the number one reason that many one truck operations fail quickly is that they are started by a former owner operator who is used to someone else performing all of these tasks for them and they neglect one or more of these steps when they operate their own company. You have to be able to wear many hats as an independent trucker and have the time to dedicate towards the cultivation of all areas.

It can seem overwhelming at times to find the time to put towards each task as much of your time is spent doing the transporting of goods and you also have to have proper rest so you can be safe behind the wheel. In order to accomplish this you need to be able to kill many birds at a time rather than doing each separate. Multitasking properly is something you should be good at before you even consider starting your own small trucking company.

In my next blog post here on Express2290 I will be getting into ways in which you can make freight logistics for beginners more manageable to optimize your time and your business image so be sure to come back and check it out.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Introducing Featured Blogger: Benjamin Bellville

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It is our distinct pleasure to introduce our new featured blogger - Benjamin Bellville.

With more than a million miles under his tires and 11 years of experience as a company driver, owner operator, and fleet owner, Benjamin writes with a wealth of experience.

Over the last year, Benjamin has quickly gained recognition as a prominent blogger in the transportation industry, sharing his tips, tricks, and information with the millions of drivers already on the road - and those still dreaming of their first set of keys.

Stop by often to read Benjamin's blogs on topics affecting the world of transportation and the industry today. From compliance and regulations to the vital basics of trucking operations, Benjamin will keep you informed and on the road.

For more information about Benjamin and his other work, check out his articles on HubPages, BlogSpot, his new personal site StartATruckingCompanyBusiness.com, and as always, right here on our ExpressExcise Blog. You can also follow Benjamin on Twitter at BenjaminB35.

Thank you for stopping by and let's keep it safe!
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