ExpressTruckTax
704.234.6005

ExpressTruckTax Blog

Showing posts with label Trucker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Trucker. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Are You Prepared For These Tax Deadlines?

0

How are things going? We know it’s a busy time since business picks up in the spring. Plus, you’re really focusing on driving carefully due to all the crazy storms that are popping because of unpredictable April weather. On top of all that, tax season is here!

Luckily you have ExpressTruckTax here to help out in any way we can by providing you with a simple way to quickly e-file your HVUT, calculate your IFTA totals, and inform you about upcoming tax deadlines. So, let’s take a look at what’s coming up.

Upcoming Tax Deadlines


Watch out, at the end of the month your first quarter IFTA report is due! The deadline falls on April 30th, which is a Sunday. Since the deadline falls on a weekend day, the actual IFTA deadline is on the next business day, Monday, May 1st. That gives you the entire weekend to calculate your IFTA totals!

But who wants to spend their weekend calculating when they could be relaxing and watching the game? That’s why we’ve made it extremely easy to quickly calculate and keep track of everything you need for your IFTA totals.

You can use the quick entry screen to keep up with your odometer readings, quickly calculate your totals with our fuel tax calculator app, keep up with your miles per jurisdiction with our trip sheets, and more.

Your HVUT is due annually on August 31st, so you may feel a little more relaxed about that deadline since you have all summer to file your 2290. However, if you have a new truck or new to you truck then your HVUT is due the last day of the month after your first used month. Meaning if you first use your new vehicle in April then your 2290 is due by May 31st.

ExpressTruckTax is the market leading HVUT solution because we’ve simplified the e-filing process to help you fill out your Form 2290 and receive your stamped Schedule 1 in a matter of minutes.

Our step-by-step guide will help you instantly complete your 2290, and our 2290 calculator will help you accurately calculate how much you owe. Plus, your vehicle information will be saved for next time, and we offer free VIN corrections. After you’ve transmitted your 2290 to the IRS you’ll quickly receive a copy of your stamped Schedule 1 via email.

All of that stuff is great for your truck taxes, but what about your personal taxes?! The Income Tax Return Deadline is quickly approaching April 18th! We understand that while you’re busy out on the road it can be difficult to gather all the information necessary to file.

That’s why we have your personal tax filing solution. Simply head to our sister company, ExpressExtension, to e-file Personal Tax Extension Form 4868. IRS Form 4868 is for individual and joint taxpayers to apply for an additional 6-months to file their personal income tax returns.

The process is easy, you spend a few minutes filling out Form 4868 and transmit it to the IRS by the April 18th deadline to instantly receive 6 extra months to file your return, pushing your deadline back to October 16th. Visit ExpressExtension.com for more information.

If you need to file while out on the road, no problem. Simply download the free 4868 app to your smartphone or tablet to file 1040 extension online at any time from any location.

Contact Us


Tax time is a busy time and it can also be a confusing time. That’s why the dedicated ExpressTruckTax team is standing by to help. We will be more than happy to assist you with any questions that you may have. Call us anytime Monday - Friday from 9 AM to 6 PM EST at 704.234.6005, live chat with us, or take advantage of our 24/7 email support at support@expresstrucktax.com.
Read More »

Friday, April 7, 2017

Why The Economy Needs Truckers

0

Have you ever noticed that truckers are proud of what they do? They’re the proudest people out of any other industry, and that’s because what they do is extremely important. Without their hard work and long hours the economy could collapse, so if you don’t appreciate trucking, here is why you should.

Why The Economy Needs Truckers


There are over 8.7 million trucking-related jobs in the US today. That’s a lot of jobs. Some of these jobs include driving and others include dispatchers, fleet owners, owner operators, and more. Without this booming industry, where would all of these workers go for employment?

Trucking jobs give those in the trucking related industry paychecks, and they use those paychecks to buy things, which in turn boosts the economy. Maybe you own a lamp store, because of truckers not only are lamps delivered to your store, but the people in the trucking industry can also buy one of your lamps.

While more and more people are going to college these days, sometimes getting a degree or two isn’t an option for everyone. Trucking can provide an upper-middle-class salary for those without degrees, giving them an opportunity to earn more for a better quality of living.

There are small communities based in rural areas that actually depend on truckers traveling through them to survive. Drivers buy gas, food, pay for lodging, and more. Their dollar can really help independent businesses like cafes in small towns stay in operation.
 
Do you like being able to go out and buy stuff? Then thank a trucker! Truckers move more materials than planes, trains, and even boats. If fact over $7 billion dollars worth of goods is transported by truckers.

Truckers are responsible for moving a lot of stuff from waste, healthcare related items, food, refrigerated items, clothes, manufactured items, and more. They move raw materials like cotton to the factory to be made into shirts, then they move those shirts to retail stores. Do you want a shirt to celebrate your favorite football team winning the SuperBowl? Then you need a trucker to haul the raw materials and finished product for you.

When you see a trucker on the road you may try to guess what they’re hauling, but unless you can clearly see the animals in agricultural trailers or logs on logging trucks then there is just no way to be sure. They could be hauling skittles, fresh milk, a sailboat, fair rides, a chemical used in ink, or more. The possibilities are literally endless.

Truckers may be on the road, but they’re also responsible for keeping the road nice. Certain taxes like IFTA or International Fuel Tax Agreement and the HVUT or Heavy Vehicle Use Tax are applied to qualifying heavy vehicles. These taxes are then used to maintain and repair public roadways. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a big pickup truck or little convertible, you have a truck driver to thank for the smooth pavement and safe bridges that you drive on.

We Need Truckers


Truckers are responsible for moving more cargo than you think. Unless you bought something handmade from a local craft show then chances are that everything around you was on a truck at some point! 

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com and please share your thoughts about the importance of truckers in the comment section below.
Read More »

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Look At ELDs

0

The trucking industry is a growing and changing business. Oftentimes new proposed rules and regulations come out in an attempt to improve the industry. Generally, people want to promote driver safety, health, and slash costs for those participating in the industry. However, sometimes these changes are met with great resistance from drivers. One example of this is the Electronic Logging Device Mandate.

Electronic Driving Devices


The Federal Electronic Logging Device or ELD Mandate is in full swing, meaning that all drivers keeping paper logs have to switch to an ELD by December 18th, 2017.

An ELD is a small device that connects to a truck’s engine in order to record the date, location, engine hours, vehicle miles, driver information, user authentication, vehicle, and motor carrier information. The device will keep detailed records of truck driver’s habits.
The purpose of ELDs is to accurately report a driver's HOS or hours of service. The will let carriers know if truckers aren’t putting in enough driving hours or if they’re putting in too many. This way detailed electronic records can be kept to prevent drivers from running over their hours. Carriers will also be prevented from pushing their drivers to work over time.

A severe problem in the trucking industry is driving tired and fatigued. Driving tired is the equivalent of driving drunk and it’s very dangerous. ELDs will help to make sure that drivers get the rest they need.

The ELD Mandate does include measures to prevent ELDs from harassing drivers. Carriers can’t use them to interrupt a driver while they’re sleeping or to push a fatigued or ill driver into driving more hours. Harassment from carriers will be met with fees and penalties.

A few benefits include the fact that less paperwork will be required of drivers, and they won’t have to keep up with paper logs. Plus, ELDs will allow dispatchers to stay updated on their driver’s location, so they’ll have more accurate estimations as to when loads will be delivered.

So, Why don’t drivers like ELDs?


Truckers and fleet owners don’t want to incur the costs of installing ELDs in their rigs, even though prices have recently dropped. Some ELDs are as cheap as $150 and truckers have the option of using their smartphone or tablet as an ELD as long as they meet the requirements.

If they prevent drivers from going over HOS then truckers feel as if they’ll lose money and loads, because they won’t be able to deliver them on time. However, paper logs require you to round up 15 minutes, and ELDs don’t. With an ELD you can drive up to your very last minute for your HOS.

Drivers feel uncomfortable under heavy surveillance. They don’t want to be constantly watched. Even though ELDs only record driving habits, and don’t provide carriers with video or audio feeds, drivers still feel as if they will being monitored too closely.

No one wants to be bothered by notifications. While driving or sleeping, truckers don’t want their ELD to bother them to either drive more or to stop driving. The ELD Mandate has taken action to prevent the harassment of drivers by not allowing carriers to push them when they’re tired, or send them notifications when they sleep.

Also, most ELDS automatically know when to switch in and out of driving mode, based off of the engine's activity. In order to prevent distracted driving, some ELDs don’t send out notifications until a few minutes after trucks have come to a stop.

What Do You Think?


Here at ExpressTruckTax, we want to know what you think about ELDs. Will they improve driver safety or will they just be a hassle? Please tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Read More »

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Regular Maintenance Your Truck Needs

0


You can’t be a trucker without a truck. Heck, it’s even the most important part of the word. Whether you use a company truck, lease a truck, or own a fleet of trucks, they’re the most important tool necessary for your job. It’s important to keep your truck well maintained to keep it in the best shape possible. This way you’ll get every penny out of your truck and give it a good long life. So, let’s take a look at what needs regular maintenance on your truck the most.

Most Important Things To Regularly Maintain


The first step to keeping your truck in perfect shape is to become one with it. Read the owner’s manual and become familiar with the type of oil your trucks need, how to change the filters, and more. Know every sound your truck makes. This way if something sounds off you’ll be aware of an issue. Be familiar with the way your truck feels so when it starts to pull to one side or it has less power you’ll notice.

Don’t neglect tire care. Tires do a lot for your alignment to prevents damage to your suspension. Rotating your tires is a must in order to make sure that your tires wear evenly. When tires wear evenly they help produce a smoother ride and prevent damage to the suspension. Keep in mind that the tires on the front get worn out the most.

One trusty tool to always have around is a tire gauge so you can make sure that all of your tires are properly inflated to keep them even. Also, distribute the weight of your load evenly so tires on one side of your tractor aren’t holding more weight than the other. Also, don’t push the tread on your tires too long. If they’re worn out replace them! There’s no need to risk having worn out tires that slip, slide, and bust.

Along with getting your tires rotated, get them aligned and balanced. When tires aren’t aligned or balanced they put stress on the suspension and cause your truck to start pulling to the side, which decreases the handling on your truck.

Get in the habit of regularly getting your oil changed, it’s not something that should be pushed for your engine's sake. Refer to your owners manual so you’ll know what type of oil to get for your truck, and go for a high-performance brand. Spending a few extra bucks each oil change will help you get your value's worth out of your truck and more. Don’t forget about your filters so your truck can breathe easy. Oil filters need to be changed about every 15 to 30k miles.

Pay attention to your lights. They should always be working so other vehicles can see you, and you can see them. Plus, turn signals let others know your intentions and getting pulled over for having a light out is annoying.
 
A dim light can tip you off to an electrical problem, so they’re good to catch. Also, to make your life easier keep some extra light bulbs and fuses in your truck so that you can easily change lights without having to bobtail it to an auto shop.

Make sure your brakes are working properly. To be sure that they’re adjusted properly consult a professional. Sometimes automatic adjusters don’t correctly adjust your brakes. It’s also important to check your brake lines to make sure that they aren’t being blocked and are clear of debris. Also, your brake lines also shouldn’t be leaking.

Remember to check your fluid levels. You’ll have a big problem if your coolant gets too low and your radiator overheats! Plus, you need to make sure that your oil, power steering fluid, washer levels, and more are good. Then make sure that no fluids are leaking in your vehicle and that all caps are put on tightly.

Keep That Truck Goin’


It doesn’t take much time to give your truck the maintenance and care that it deserves. By doing so you’ll increase the longevity and quality of your truck’s life. Your truck is the most important business tool that you have, so take good care of it!

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com and share your maintenance tips in the comment section below.
Read More »

Friday, March 17, 2017

Preventing Back Pain On The Road

0

You’re just chugging along on your route just fine until rush hour traffic hits. Then to make things worse your back pain starts to flare up, so you’re distracted by annoying aches and pinches while slowly moving forward in bumper to bumper traffic. Maybe you try to stay positive, but in reality, you’re worried about your back pain keeping you up all night.

Don’t let back pain be the monster that ruins your trip! Learn how to stop and prevent it from flaring up with our helpful back soothing tips.

Stop & Prevent Back Pain


One major cause of back pain is sitting still for too long. The vertebrae in your lower spine get compressed together and start to ache. Also, while sitting you sciatic nerve that runs down your back under your butt can get pinched, causing pain.

Now you may be wondering what you can possibly do to prevent back pain when your job involves sitting for 10 hours are more, but don’t worry, there are a lot of solutions.

The first step towards preventing back pain is looking at your posture. Your seat shouldn’t be so far back that you have to hunch over forward to reach the wheel. Keep your seat forward, but not too close to the wheel and keep it back, slightly passed a 90-degree angle. Then make sure that you’re leaning back in a relaxed position with your arms resting on your arm rests. By being relaxed you’ll be putting less strain on your butt and core to hold up your weight.

It’s not good to sit still in the same position all day, so make subtle adjustments to your seat every 45 minutes to the hour to engage different areas of your muscles, and to give other areas time to rest.

Keep in mind that your bottom, back, abs, and basically your entire core are responsible for holding up your weight and stabilizing it. This means that every muscle involved needs to be strong enough to do their job. Consider doing some exercises at night when you’re parked. There are tons of ab, glute, and back strengthening activities that don’t require much room to do.

You may want to consider adopting a healthier lifestyle to burn some of the weight your body has to support. Making simple changes like drinking plain black coffee or iced green tea instead of sugary sodas and eating fruit instead of processed snacks can put you on the right track towards dropping some weight. Also, try to walk whenever you can. Lap your truck a few times or hoof it around the truckstop to burn some calories.

Remember that water is your sugar and calorie free friend. Not only is it a healthy choice, but it’s extremely hydrating. By being hydrated you can avoid the ill effects of dehydration which include muscle fatigue and cramps.

Never forget to stretch, every morning when you wake up, and every night after you’ve parked. It’s important to stretch and warm up your muscles for their task ahead and to relieve them after a hard day of work.
There are many yoga stretches like the child’s pose and downward facing dog that do wonders for the back. However, the best thing you can do is pop a squat. Hunching over your knees and letting your bum hang down allows your vertebrae to decompress.

Along with stretching try to relax. Stress can lead to a number of problems, including tensed, tight muscles. Freaking out over a traffic jam or the truck stop running out of parking can be frustrating, but try to stay calm for your back’s sake. Yoga can be a calming practice that combines both relaxing and stretching, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

If your back is giving you grief you can always enhance your seat. Try getting a heated seat cover or something that provides lumbar support. Heck, you spend more time in that chair than any other one, so why not make it comfortable and supportive

At night, if you can’t get relief try soothing your back pain with over the counter painkillers, like Advil. You can also try icing your back or applying a gel or patch that heats and cools the area, like icy hot.

Keep on Truckin’ Pain-Free


Back pain doesn’t have to end your career, by making a few changes to your seat and daily routine you can totally knock out your pain to sit pretty. However, if problems do persist for more than a few days you should consult with your doctor.


For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com and please share your comments about relieving back pain in the comment section below.
Read More »

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Owner Operators Need To Budget

0

Trucking is a hard industry to break into. Many drivers attempt to make it big and bring in a lot more money by becoming owner operators, but they fail for various different reasons. Sometimes they just don’t put in enough time, sometimes business is just slow. However, the number one reason new owner operators fail is because they either can’t budget or just don’t try to. Learn from our budgeting tips to help you save money to keep your owner operating business going.

How Owner Operators Budget Properly


We understand that budgeting is hard. It takes some self-control and discipline. When the money is there it’s fun and addicting to spend, but if you spend it all you could find yourself up the creek without a paddle pretty quickly.

One of the most expensive things drivers face on the road is food. You may not realize it, but fast food lunches, snacks, and dinners at sit down restaurants add up quick. Before you go out on the road buy your snacks in bulk, also plan ahead by bringing meals to store in your fridge, microwave or cook in a crockpot.

By cooking your own meals and having your snacks on hand you’ll save money and you won’t have to stop every time you get hungry. Plus, the meals you prepare are often much healthier options.

Another expense that adds up is the cost of lodging. Every time you stay in a motel you’re spending money that you don’t have to. By getting a mattress, a nice bedding set, and some blackout curtains you can turn your sleeper cab into a space that’s even more comfortable than a hotel.

Nothing is exciting like a semi truck is. When guys are starting out they want the coolest rig to barrel down the road in. You can get that super awesome new truck one day, but consider starting off in an older rig, or leasing a truck when you first get started in order to have lower monthly payments and sometimes even a lower insurance payment.

Depending on your client there could be a 1 to 3-month wait before you get paid for a load. You could consider using a factoring company to get paid the same day. With factoring companies, you’ll make an agreement where the factoring company pays your invoice from a client. They’ll pay you a percentage of the invoice the same day and then your client will pay the factoring company and the factoring company will keep an agreed upon percentage, then you’ll receive the rest. It’s a way to get money faster, but you’ll get a little less as a result, so budget it wisely.

When the bigger paychecks start to roll in, save them. A lot of guys go out and start to buy fun stuff
for their families and take vacations instead of saving their money. Then when business is slow or their truck needs a major repair they’re out of luck and their business goes under. Trust us, you always need to keep an emergency fund.

We have tips to save your gas because it’s actually your number one expense. First of all, slow down. Actually going to speed limit, or staying at 65 mph will save you tons of fuel. Also, gradually speed up and slow down, to avoid slamming on brakes. Stick to the interstate when you can, unless you need to avoid traffic jams and rush hours. Also, you can save a lot of fuel by cutting down on your warm up, cool down, and idling time.

Take care of your truck. Don’t get lazy and skip out on routine maintenance. Be sure to change the oil, filters, rotate the tires, and more to keep your truck in tip-top shape. The goal is to get every penny you can out of it to avoid the major expenses of having to buy a new truck or pay for a repair.

You Can Become A Budgeting Pro


By studying your books and keeping track of your profit and loss record you can easily give yourself a budget and start to really save money. It does take a little practice at first, but soon saving money will become second nature to you, and your business will reward you later for it. Nothing saves the day like an emergency fund to help you cover your bills and keep your business afloat.

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com and please share your tips about budgeting in the comment section below.
Read More »

Friday, March 10, 2017

Delicious Crockpot Recipes To Cook While Trucking

0

You’ve just parked for the night after hours of driving and all of the sudden your stomach growls. However, the truck stop you’re at has slim pickings for dinner options, and there isn’t a fast food place nearby. Now you have to deal with the hassle of bobtailing somewhere for an expensive meal!

What if we told you that you could avoid all that hassle and get comfy in your bunk with a warm, home cooked meal? All you have to do is get a crockpot for your rig!

The Crockpot Way


By investing in a 12V crockpot you’ll save money and time by having your own home cooked meal ready to eat in your rig. Plus, the meals that you prepare yourself will be tastier and healthier options than fast food. Before you know it you’ll be the top trucker chef!

The leading cause of death for truckers happens to be obesity, so by cooking your own meals and avoiding fast food options, you’ll be able to watch your weight and give your body more nutrition.

Many truckers enjoy having a crockpot in their truck because the meals are easy to make, and often spiced to their preferences. Also, since crockpots operate at a lower temperature they’re safer to keep in the cab instead of hot plates and electric skillets.

Plus, they make crockpot liners now, that you place in your crockpot before your put in your ingredients, to keep your crockpot clean. All you have to do is remove the liner and throw it out when you’re done, so you don’t have to find a place to wash your crockpot while you’re on the road.

Meal prepping for the road is easy. Before you leave chop up and veggies or cook any meat for your recipe and place them in a bag or Tupperware container in a bag to keep in your truck’s fridge until you’re ready to cook them. If you have a freezer in your rig then you can store your recipes even longer.

All you have to do is make sure that your crockpot and a good place to sit. Many come with lids that lock so your food won’t spill if your crock pot takes a tumble. They can easily sit in a storage cabinet or on a shelf.

Delicious Crockpot Recipes


Now let’s take a look at a few delicious recipes you can cook up on the road:

BBQ Pulled Pork

Nothing beats a good bbq plate or sandwich! Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

3lbs of pulled pork tenderloin
1 bottle of your preferred bbq sauce (at least 18 oz.)
1 can of soda (like Coke or Dr.Pepper.)
½ a sliced onion.

Directions:

Place your onions at the bottom of your crockpot, then add your pork on top of them. Then mix your bbq sauce and soda together, and add any preferred spices and pour it over the pork. Cook it for 6 to 7 hours on low then shred the pork and enjoy.

Chicken Teriyaki

Who loves Chinese food? We do, and this recipe is easy. Here is what you need:

1 lb of chicken cut into small chunks
½ cup of teriyaki sauce or marinade
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
⅓ cup of brown sugar
1 of cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of cornstarch

Directions:

Place all of your ingredients except for the cornstarch into your crockpot and cook it on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. Then add the liquid from the crockpot to the cornstarch in a pan to thicken it, and add your chicken to the pan. This chicken goes great with broccoli and rice steamed in a microwave.

Breakfast Casserole

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a warm breakfast waiting for you? You don’t even need to get dressed or leave your truck for this one, as long as you have these ingredients:

1 bag of frozen hash browns (32 oz.)
1 lb of bacon
1 small onion (diced.)
An 8 oz bag of shredded cheese
1/2 of a red bell pepper (diced.)
1/2 of a green bell pepper (diced.)
12 large eggs
1 cup of skim milk

Directions:

Either get pre-cooked bacon or cook your bacon drain it and cut it up. Then add half of your hash browns, bacon, onions, peppers, and cheese. Next, add the remaining half of your hash browns, bacon, onions, peppers, and cheese. Then add your milk and eggs together and pour it over the rest of your ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook your casserole on warm for 8 hours and enjoy it in the morning. You can also cook it for 4 hours on low to have it ready faster.

What’s Cookin’ Good Lookin'?


Don’t deal with the hassle of finding a dinner or fast food restaurant every time you’re hungry. Relax in the comfort of your own cab with a delicious meal you cooked yourself, and take pride in your cheaper, healthier option. For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com and share your secret crockpot recipes in the comment section below.
Read More »

Friday, March 3, 2017

How To Bring Your Dog On The Road

0

The road can be a lonely place, with hours of driving with no one to talk to. Sometimes you want to listen to music or podcasts, and sometimes you just want to sit in silence until both options can drive you nuts. At the end of the day, you might just want someone to talk to. To combat loneliness and depression on the road more and more truckers are bringing pets along on the road.

Dogs on The Road


Bringing a dog on the road can be tricky or expensive, but the reward and companionship are worth it. If you’re an owner operator then most likely you won’t run into any restrictions as far as bringing a pet along.

However, some carriers will have you pay a pet deposit before you can bring your best friend with you. The deposits can be $1,000 or higher! Sometimes you can work out a deal where $100 is taken out per paycheck towards the deposit and sometimes they want the full amount upfront. Some truckers just can’t put a price on the joy of bringing their pets with them, though. Keep in mind that some carriers will also have a cleaning fee

If your carrier doesn’t allow pets, then don’t push the envelope. Pets always get caught and as a result, you could lose your job!

Now when it comes to bringing a dog on the road remember that puppies can’t hold it. If you pick a puppy you’ll be stopping every 30 minutes or so to clean up its mess or to let it use the bathroom.

Puppies also need a lot of training so they won’t chew on important stuff in the cab, so it might be better off to start with an older more relaxed dog. Sizes of dogs vary but remember the bigger the dog, the more space it takes up.

Different dog breeds also have varying energy levels. A German Shepard for example, has way more energy than a bulldog. The amount of energy your dog has will determine how often you need to stop to let it play and run around.

You may want to consider looking into different types of dog breeds to find a short haired dog that doesn’t shed a lot, otherwise, you’ll be constantly brushing or vacuuming up your dog’s fur.

At first, take your dog on a few shorter truck rides first so see if it can handle life on the road or not. Some dogs are terrified of the noises other trucks make and the ruckus at truck stops, while others simply love it.

When on the road make sure the pedals and gear shifter is totally blocked off from your dog. You don’t want it to get under a pedal in case you have to speed up or hit the brakes really fast. Your pet could get stepped on as a result.

Remember to bring toys to entertain and stimulate your dog, extra food, and water, cleaning supplies to clean up messes, poop bags so you aren’t the jerk at the truck stop who doesn't clean up after your dog, and a crate to keep them in. You never know when you’ll need a safe and secure place like a crate to keep your dog.

You also want to bring blankets for your dog so they’ll have a cozy place to snuggle up and sleep.

Never forget to bring a leash. You’ll never know when truckstops will require leashes or not. Also, it’s best to place a leash on your dog before you open your truck door so it can’t jump out and run off. For dog safety, be sure to also have a harness or doggy safety belt to keep your dog safe while driving.

Enjoy Trucking With Your Best Friend


Drivers who take their dogs on the road have lower rates of depression, they also have less stress, lower blood pressure, and get more exercise. If the road is starting to feel a little empty to you consider bringing a 4 legged pal with you.

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com, and share your thoughts about bringing pets on the road in the comment section below.
Read More »

Friday, February 10, 2017

The Debate About Rest Stop Expansions

0

Drivers, we want your thoughts! Currently,  rest stops really aren’t that great, with dim lighting and limited vending machines that seem to have outdated options. Sometimes the parking at rest stops isn’t that great either, and if you stop to pee you take up a lot of regular parking spots! Well, what if rest stops were expanded?

The Possible Expansion Of Rest Stops


On behalf of the Federal Highway Administration what if rest stops were expanded a little more commercially? As in if their vending machine options we’re expanded and states were allowed to sell produce? Along with these changes would come more parking for semi trucks.

What? More parking?! With today’s parking crisis that could be a miracle. Plus, when truckers need to take their mandated 30-minute breaks it would be a lot easier for them to simply park at a rest stop then pull off the interstate to hopefully find parking at a truck stop.

When truckers are left without any options they’ll pull over on the side of the interstate and on entrance or exit ramps. This is a dangerous practice that could be avoided if more parking spots were available.

Most people in communities around truck stops are getting fed up with the congestion that big rigs cause. The general public wants truckers to get their food and move out of the way. Expanded rest stops could relieve this congestion.

With expanded vending machine options and local produce being sold truckers would have not only more options but healthier options. However, this makes truck stop owners nervous, because they don’t want their businesses to be undercut. Although, who would give up a nice hot meal for a snack or fresh fruit?

Plus, we’re sure some truckers want to get away from the road at night and would prefer to pull off the interstate to find a truck stop to park overnight at. Being too close to the interstate can be noisy and disruptive in the night.

These forms of revenue could help states maintain their rest stop facilities. Better places to stop provide tourists with a good idea of the state. Maybe if they find a clean restroom with delightful local produce they’ll drive through the state with their money on more regular basis.

However, some of the money would need to go to video monitoring and security systems. Also, local police officers would need to regularly check in on rest stops, because it’s no secret that where truckers go lot lizards, hitchhikers and crime follows.

Now we know that the trucking nation is filled with honorable, outstanding people, but unfortunately, we can’t speak for all of the lot lizards, the homeless, and hitchhikers. The state wouldn’t want its reputation brought down after tourists see a few shady characters.

We also wonder why rest stops should stop at a few expansions. What if they were privately owned? Sure, they would compete with truck stops at a greater level, but the cost of maintenance and upkeep would be up to the owner, totally taking the bill off the state’s plate.

With privately owned rest stops there’s no telling what types of food and merchandise would be offered to truckers and the public, offering a lot more revenue for the state and convenience for drivers.

Are You For Or Against Expanding Rest Stops?


We want to know what you think about the possibility of expanding rest stops or privatizing them, so please share your thoughts in the comment section below. Also, keep checking back with ExpressTruckTax.com for more trucking news.
Read More »

Friday, February 3, 2017

These Practices Cause Owner Operators To Fail

0

Some owner operators fail, that’s just a plain fact. Sure, some guys make it and bring home the bigger paychecks, but most truckers fail. Becoming an owner operator involves a lot of risks and precise planning, and they guys who don’t make it, usually don’t due to reasons that can easily be avoided. 

Mistakes Made By Owner Operators


The owner operators who fail are generally too big for their britches. They think they can do everything themselves. Even though it’s true that will start out doing the majority of work yourself, it’s best to get the advice of a financial advisor or an accountant to figure out the best plan for your business before jumping in. A man with a plan is generally smarter than the guy without one.

Plus, you shouldn’t be too shy or prideful to ask for advice. Successful owner operators probably know a few tips and techniques about the business that you haven’t heard about before. Why not ask them a few questions to see if they can help you climb up the ladder?

Eventually, as your business grows you’ll get to hire employees! Instead of doing everything yourself, that you probably won’t even have time for, it will be best to hand things off to your trusted team.

2. Speaking of time, a lot of owner operators who fail simply didn’t consider the amount of time the job requires. You’ll be gone a lot more. If you don’t want to drive extra overtime hours and want to be around for more school plays and baseball games then you might want to stick to driving for a carrier.

A lot of owner operators fail to think about the strain it will put on their family when they’ll be gone more, and relationships are tested. Be sure to speak with your partner about being gone more and how to stay in communication with them. This way you won’t end up like the people who had to choose between their new business venture or their relationship.

3. A quick way to find yourself up the creek without a paddle is by not making a budget. If you live paycheck to paycheck you could quickly end up on missing some bills or not having enough cash to pay for dinner. Know how much you’re spending on fuel, insurance bills, your truck, and more a month, so you’ll know how much to set aside for your meals, personal pay, and more. Tracking software like TruckLogics can help you keep up with all of your finances.

Also, a lot of the time new owner operators don’t set aside any money for emergencies, and that’s just not good because things happen. Trucks break down and you’ll need to be able to pay for the repair. If your insurance will cover the repair you’ll still need money to float you by while it’s in the shop.

Keep in mind that being an owner operator isn’t the fast way to success. It takes months and maybe even years to build yourself up as a reputable owner operator who brings in the big bucks, and even then some months are just slow. Always keep an emergency fund set aside for the slow periods.

4. Some people just buy the wrong truck. They get a brand new truck up front that’s all shiny and awesome, but then crumble when they aren’t bringing in enough cash to pay for the bills that come with it.

They don’t explore all their truck options. For example, leasing generally comes with no down payment and lower monthly rates, so it can help owner operators get started in the beginning. Although, at the end of the agreement if you don’t lease to own you won’t have your own truck to trade in towards getting a new one.

If you want to own your own truck avoid getting a lemon. Lemons are new, cheap trucks that don’t have a good turnover rate. You’ll want a truck you can quickly sell to make some of your money back with, in case you find out that owner operating isn’t for you.

Older trucks that are built sturdier are often more fun to drive and have higher turnover rates. They can be great to start out with until you grow your company enough to comfortably buy a new truck.

5. Owner operators who fail are low maintenance. They don’t take care of themselves. They cut corners and drive even if they haven’t gotten enough sleep. Some truckers don’t take their personal health into account and constantly get terrible options from fast food chains, smokes, and don’t even think about making an effort to work out. You have to be healthy and full of energy to put in the time and work that being an owner operator requires.

They also don’t take the time to maintain their trucks. Skipping out on regular maintenance like oil changes and changing your brake pads can wear out your rig pretty quickly. You have to take the steps to winterize your truck, tune it up, check all the fluid levels, and more in order to squeeze all of its value out of it. 

Don’t Fail!


You can make it as an owner operator, we believe in you. Just make sure you don’t make simple mistakes that can easily be avoided. Make a plan for your business, ask the experts and tell your family what you’re up to. Be financially responsible and know where your money is going. Also, don’t forget to take care of your truck and yourself.

For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com, and please share your comments about why owner operators fail in the comment section below.
Read More »

Friday, January 20, 2017

How To Safely Navigate Your Semi Truck Through Winter Weather

0


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.
Read More »

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

4 Ways For Owner Operators To Improve Business

0
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.


Read More »

Friday, January 13, 2017

Have You Seriously Considered Leasing Your Truck?

0


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.
Read More »

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

We're Revealing 8 Secrets About Average Owner Operators

0


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.
Read More »

Friday, January 6, 2017

Do You Have Time To Be An Owner Operator?

0


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. 
Read More »

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, August 20, 2014

#WellnessWednesday Part 4: The Return of the Tips

0
With just a week and a half until the Form 2290 filing deadline, we need some extra wellness in our lives now more than ever!

ExpressTruckTax has already eliminated any dread you may have felt when filing taxes before (because we’re just awesome like that). And in today’s blog, we’re going to help eliminate another problem that plagues the Trucking Nation: back and neck pain!

Stuck behind the wheel for hours on end, it’s not surprising that most truck drivers experience chronic stiffness and pain. That’s where we come in–the Heroes at ExpressTruckTax have always got your back! If we could reach through the phone and massage your aching spine, we would. But since the
technology isn’t quite there yet, these tips will have to do instead!

So for Part 4 of our #WellnessWednesday series, here are 5 quick tips for booting that pain in the neck (and back).
  • 1. Empty your Pockets: Cell phones, wallets, receipts, what’s in your pockets? The answer should be “nothing.” Stuffing your pockets, especially your back pockets, leads to lots of pain in the long run. It’s like the Princess and the Pea, if your phone and wallet were enormous peas. Sitting on those items for hours at a time throws off your alignment and puts pressure on your back. For immediate relief, try storing your gadgets in the glove box or any other cubby near by. 
  • 2. Sit at the Right Angle: You’ve had practice sitting your whole life, but are you doing it wrong? It sounds crazy, but there’s actually a right and a wrong way to sit. And good posture isn’t just for looking fancy! It’s far better for your spine. Adjust your driver’s seat so that your back is straight and your knees rest at a 90 degree angle for optimal alignment. Some seats also have a rocking function if you can’t sit still for that long.
  • 3. Float on Air: Your driver’s seat may not be the most comfortable chair in the world. While tearing it out with a sledgehammer may not be a viable option, there are ways to make it comfier! Why not try levitating...on a memory foam pillow! Memory foams puffs up with air and contours to your body, creating the perfect custom cushion for your backside. Gel seat cushions are also on the market. Try them out and see what you fancy!
  • 4. A Loose Dress Code: Tight-fitting clothes may be the fashion, but they aren’t suited for the trucking life! Comfortable, loose-fitting clothes are the way to go! Ill-fitting clothes, or undergarments, can lead to stiffness, stomach pain, and just general discomfort. Nobody's got time for that!
  • 5. Take a Hike, Buddy!: Seriously, walking is a miracle worker. It’s easy & free, you can do it nearly anywhere, and the benefits are endless. It may be tempting to spend your breaks lounging in the sleeper catching up on Netflix, but doing a quick lap around the truck stop will increase circulation and give you a chance to stretch out!
As always, these 5 hacks are just the beginning. Stretching, yoga, back support belts are all great ways to keep your spine in line.

So how do you stay loose and limber while trucking? Let the ExpressTruckTax team know. We love hearing ideas straight from you, the pro’s! Remember, sharing is caring.

#WellnessWednesday Part 5: Eat, Drink, & Be Healthy!

Read More »

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Even More Tips for Healthy Trucking: Ripped Edition!

0

Are you ready...for the Third Installment of our series?




Well–ready or not–it’s #WellnessWednesday, and that means we’ve got 5 more tips just for you, Trucking Nation! Or should I say, Traveling Health Guru Nation! You’ve already started your wellness journey and given yourself an inner tune-up, but now...

It’s time to get pumped up! Tear the sleeves off that t-shirt! Call your friends and start selling tickets to the gun show. (I mean your biceps, of course!) Because you’re going to be a lean, mean truck-driving machine!

We know truckers don’t have tons of time for exercise, nor extra space for toting bulky exercise equipment. So here are five ways to get ripped on the road with little equipment needed! You’ll mostly use yourself and your truck!




  • 1. Isometrics: Behind the wheel! For this first exercise, you won’t even need to leave the driver’s seat! (Although, the truck should be parked!) Isometrics are performed in a static position, so you aren’t performing any dynamic movements like you would with other exercises. That makes it perfect for those with limited space! To improve upper-body strength, grip the wheel with both hands and try to push them toward each other for 10 seconds. Then release. Believe me, after 10-20 reps, you’ll be feeling the burn! For improving core strength, sit up straight and pull your belly button back to your spine, hold for 5 seconds, and release. Repeat 20-30 times each day for wash-board abs!
  • 2. Jump Rope: Okay, this one may remind you of playing in the schoolyard, but there’s nothing childish about the results you can get! Jumping rope can be hardcore exercise, improving both cardio and muscle tone simultaneously. Plus, they cost $5 or less and take up no space in your cab! To hop to the next level, try jumping rope for 5 or 10 minutes straight, whatever you’re comfortable with, always landing on the balls of your feet. Your heels should never touch the ground, and your calves will thank you! If you’re feeling extreme, try mixing things up by hopping on one foot, alternating each jump, or you can jump holding one leg up, knee bent at a 90 degree angle. Improving your wellness is actually a hop, skip, or jump away!
  • 3. Resistance Bands: Yet another affordable, easy-to-store piece of equipment. Best of all, resistance bands are versatile. They’re sold in various sizes, lengths, and resistance levels so you can customize your workout, whether you’re a beginner or a buff babe! And the kinds of toning exercises you can do are nearly endless. To make your truck work for you, wrap a band around the door handle of your truck and do some bicep curls or leg lifts. Once you feel comfortable, invest in a tighter band to increase resistance. You’ll always be increasing your strength, and before you know it, you’ll be Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • 4. Bodyweight: Use your own body for a workout, what could be cheaper or more convenient! Go back to the basics for some good, old fashioned sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, and squats. But why not do it trucker style! Using the step outside of your cab door, you can do these exercises at a new angle, increasing the challenge! For extreme push-ups, place your hands on the step and keep your feet on the ground. Do push-ups a normal, except now you can lower your head below the palms of your hands, increasing the difficulty of the push-up as well as the payoff!
  • 5. Run for Your Life! All you’ll need to get started are some supportive running shoes. Always stretch before running, and breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Start out slow, just running twice a week until your endurance increases. Your first day do short intervals, running for 30 seconds, then walking for 30 seconds. Once you’re comfortable, step up your intervals, running for 1 minute and walking for 1 minute. 15-30 minutes of heart-pumping action is ideal, and keep increasing your intervals as your cardio improves. To push it to the limit, (past the point of no return) set a mini-goal for yourself. Just choosing a sign–or sandwich–in the distance to run to will actually push your body further than running aimlessly. When the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll thank me! 
It’s important to keep things fresh and not get bored on your wellness journey. If your routine starts to feel stale, mix it up and broaden your horizons. YouTube is full of free exercise tutorials; why not try yoga, pilates, or zumba? You never know what will work for you until you try it!

So break out those leg warmers, Trucking Nation! And let the ExpressTruckTax Team know how you’re staying fit on the road; your tips may be featured in our #WellnessWednesday series!


Ready for More?

5 Tips for Healthy Trucking

5 More Tips for Healthy Trucking

Part 4: The Return of the Tips


Read More »

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5 More Tips for Healthy Trucking

0
It’s Wednesday, Trucking Nation, and you know what that means— ExpressTruckTax is back with part two of our #WellnessWednesday series! We’ve got 5 more Tips for Healthier Trucking. Last time, we had 5 tips for getting you started on your wellness journey. But it’s time to rise to the next level!

Wellness doesn’t extend to our physical bodies alone. So today, we’ll be focusing on wellness, from the inside out, with some tips for creating good vibrations. Your emotional/mental well-being is the foundation of
your health, so how can you give yourself an inner
tune-up while on the road?


1. Challenge your Mind: Turn your cab into a classroom! Those hours spent behind the wheel provide the perfect opportunity for some brain stimulation. Any one of these three will give you the thrill of learning something new and broadening your horizons.

  • Stave off boredom by listening to new kinds of music you wouldn’t have before. 
  • Listen to an audio book. You can’t read behind the wheel, but you can still learn about the Civil War or get engrossed in the latest murder-mystery! 
  • And since you’re always going new and exciting places, why not learn a new language? Listening to a language and repeating out loud with a program can be one of the fastest, most effective ways to learn. 
2. Stay Connected: Being on the road for days or weeks on end, we know it can be hard to keep in touch with all of your friends and family. But there are ways to share your experiences and stay connected. First, take plenty of pictures! Truckers see it all, new places every day. So capture it and share it, whether it’s on your favorite social media site, or by making a slideshow and emailing it to loved ones. Another way to bring them on your journey with you, create a journal. Print out the best pictures and glue ‘em into a notebook. Jot down the stories behind each photo, and before you know it, you’ve got a head start on your memoirs!

3. Meditate: Ohhhhm— Breathing exercises and meditation are proven to have loads of health benefits. The best times to meditate are in the morning when you first wake or right before bed, or both! Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, sit up straight, and close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply, listening to the sound of your own breath. You can also focus on a single point, like a flame, or find free guided-meditation videos online, if you get distracted easily. The idea is to clear your mind of all thoughts and just exist in the moment. The results? You’ll not only reduce stress and anxiety, but you’ll lower blood pressure, sleep better, and have increased mental clarity, certainly beneficial for you busy drivers!

4. Adopt a Companion: There are millions of dogs of all kinds out there just waiting for someone like you to give them a loving home. And they’re usually available for little to no cost too. Bringing along a furry friend can stave off loneliness on the road and have added physical benefits too! They’ll get you out of the truck and have you walking (or running!) regularly. If you’ve already got a pup back home, consider bringing her along on your next trip!

5. Get Quality Sleep: All roads lead….to a bed! When you work such long hours, how can you avoid feeling exhausted? Feeling well-rested is not just about quantity, it’s about quality of sleep. Avoid caffeine later in day, and heavy meals too. If you’re feeling hungry before bed, eat a light snack, like fruit and nuts. When it’s time to sleep, blocking out ambient light will help your body sleep deeply. Turn off that T.V. or laptop, and hang some blackout curtains around your cab windows. If you can’t get those, use an eye mask and some good earplugs to get some quality zzz. Sleeping better, you’ll not only feel physically rejuvenated, but you’ll see a positive boost in your moods, too!

With these 5 tips in your arsenal, you’ll be picking up good vibrations and feeling renewed motivation on your wellness journey! If you’ve got some successful health tips, share them with me! They may be featured in the next installment of our series. Have a happy, healthy Hump Day!

Ready for more?
Even More Tips for Healthy Trucking: Ripped Edition!


Read More »

ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.