ExpressTruckTax
704.234.6005

ExpressTruckTax Blog

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Costs to seriously Consider When Buying A Rig

0


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.
Read More »

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Common Start-Up Trucking Company Mistakes

0


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.
Read More »

Friday, December 16, 2016

Are You Healthy Enough To Keep On Trucking?

0


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.
Read More »

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Consider The Facts of Becoming an Owner Operator

0


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. 
Read More »

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

An Owner Operator's Guide to 2290s

0
An Owner Operator's Guide to 2290s
An Owner Operator's Guide to 2290s
We know that truck drivers have plenty of headaches to deal with. Whether it’s crazed four-wheeler driving through inclement weather or just the hassle of making ends meet, there’s always something adding stress to your world.

We know that some of these might seem unavoidable, but we’ve built our company around making your life easier. Over the last few years, we’ve dedicated ourselves to simplifying heavy vehicle use taxes, and providing an affordable and intuitive way for truckers like you to e-file their 2290s.

We’ve taken that one step further! Let’s talk about how all you Owner Operators can e-file your Form 2290s with the ExpressTruckTax mobile app.

All About the ExpressTruckTax App


Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, the ExpressTruckTax App is the easiest way you can take care of your heavy vehicle use tax without accessing a computer.

Best of all? It’s free to download and create an account! You can’t beat that.

Let’s look at some of the cool things you can do with the ExpressTruckTax App:

First, e-filing Form 2290 is easy and can be done in just a few short steps.




You can also correct and resubmit rejected returns, free of charge.




Plus, you’ll save time by getting your Stamped Schedule 1 in your email!



Customer Support From People Like You


The best thing about ExpressTruckTax, it doesn’t matter if you’re using our app or the website, you can always contact us if you have any questions! Our dedicated support team is located in downtown Rock Hill, South Carolina, meaning you’ll always be able to talk to someone just like you.

After all, you have enough frustrations as an Owner Operator. The last thing you want is your call for help ending up in another country, with someone who has no knowledge of your issue!

You can reach us Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm, ready to help you if the need arises.

If you’ve e-filed with ExpressTruckTax, you know the service and customer support we offer. If you haven’t, click the link below to start e-filing your 2290s with the ExpressTruckTax app!


Read More »

ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.