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Showing posts with label owner-operator. Show all posts
Showing posts with label owner-operator. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

A World Without Truckers? The Importance of Trucking in the US

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The American trucking industry plays a huge role in US economy
In the United States, trucking is a $700 billion industry.

Surrounding this billion-dollar industry is a billion-dollar question: Where would we be without truckers?

Well, as consumers, we’d be without most of the things we rely on every day. America, as a whole, would struggle immensely.

In honor of National Truck Driver Appreciation Week, let’s take a closer look at American trucking.

Without Trucks, America Loses

American Trucking

It’s no secret that our country is hugely dependent on truckers. The numbers prove this fact - truckers move 71% of America’s freight, and the trucking industry accounts for 6% of full-time jobs.

In 2017 alone, trucks transported 10.8 billion tons of freight across the country.

If long-haul truckers stopped driving, grocery stores would run out of food in just 3 days.

In addition, the average professional long-haul trucker logs more than 100,000 miles each year.

National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2019

Driver Appreciation Week is officially in full swing!

This year, National Truck Driver Appreciation Week takes place September 8-14, 2019.

Throughout the rest of the week, there will continue to be deals for truckers across the country.

Check out our latest blog to find the best National Truck Driver Appreciation Week 2019 deals, and tips for picking the perfect trucking gift.


At ExpressTruckTax, we understand the amount of work truckers put into their careers, and the huge role they play in the American economy.

This week is no different.

We’ll be here every week, whether it’s Driver Appreciation Week or not, to help you.


Today, we’ve got some tips for owner-operators, fleet managers, and leased operators and their trucking businesses.

Growing Your Trucking Business

Success in American trucking is tricky.

There are plenty of deadlines and regulations to remember. At ExpressTruckTax, we work daily to take the paperwork out of trucking.

The biggest trucking tip we can give you is to stay organized and up-to-date with your information and taxes.

Our sister product, TruckLogics, was created to help you do just that.

TruckLogics is a cloud-based trucking business management software designed to make trucking easy for you.

Owner-operators can manage their entire business in one place by tracking income & expenses, managing dispatches, scheduling maintenance, sending invoices, and more.

Leased operators can use TruckLogics to streamline recordkeeping by tracking income, running profit & loss reports, recording maintenance & trip details, and more.

Plus, truck drivers can outsource certain processes, thanks to the Multi-User Login feature.

No matter what part of the trucking industry you are in, TruckLogics is here to help you succeed.







In terms of meeting tax deadlines, make sure you’ve submitted your IRS Form 2290! If you missed the 2290 due date, you’ll still need to file.

File IRS 2290 ASAP to avoid further penalties. ExpressTruckTax is here to get you in and out in minutes.









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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

How to Spot Good Loads in Bad Markets

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This blog was written by Chad Boblett for DAT. Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking in Lexington, KY. He also founded the "Rate Per Mile Masters" group on Facebook.

I have been a spot market pirate for almost nine years. As a pirate, you want to get in and get the good stuff. This means I use lots of tools to know where the most demand is for the trailer I pull.

If you look at the entire Lower 48 states as a whole, then you will find that most of the time the market is not flooded with more loads than trucks, but you will find that there is always a good market somewhere. And it’s always changing. This is what makes the spot market scary and exciting.

DAT load boards provide the largest and most trusted digital marketplace for truckload freight.
Carrier trucking tips for spotting good loads in bad markets.


I have seen a polar vortex, an election year, and the ELD mandate bring raise and lower the demand for trucks drastically. In the second half of this year, tariffs could be another intensifier, followed by the 2020 election year. Just because a lot of markets are slow now doesn’t mean they’ll stay that way. But it does make you have to work harder to find the good stuff.

The best strategy is for your destination to be a stronger market than where your truck is located now. There are two tricks for figuring this out.

- Do a reverse load search for where you are now and where you want to go. Are there more loads coming in than going out of your destination market? If so, then these trucks will become empty and be your competition for your next load. In the DAT TruckersEdge dashboard, you can see the number of inbound loads versus outbound loads for every state.

- Check the load-to-truck ratio. Pretend you are a guy going to a bar to talk to women – Do you want to go to a bar with a lot of dudes or would you like to be one of the few trucks in town that can take care of business. This is the way I look at the truck to load ratio numbers. I want a lot of loads with fewer trucks, and I use the Hot Market Maps in DAT Power to find those markets.




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    Friday, July 26, 2019

    Trucker Tips: How I Find The Best-Paying Loads

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    Guest blog post by DAT Contributor Sammy Lloyd. 

    Being an owner-operator is tough. You need all the tools possible to stay profitable. Back when I was leased-on with a carrier, the only way for me to make more money was to become an expert on cutting costs. Now that I operate under my own MC number, I focus on more than just my expenses.

    Here are three strategies I use to squeeze more profit out of every load I haul: 





    1. Know the current lane rates

    After I got my own operating authority, I started out with the Enhanced version of the DAT TruckerEdge load board. It included 90-day lane rate averages. I soon realized I was leaving money on the table by not knowing the 15-day average, so I upgraded to the Pro version. It has helped me get above-average rates.

    The first time I told a broker I was looking at the 15-day average on DAT, his whole demeanor changed. He could tell I knew more about lane rates than someone who isn’t serious about their business.

    Sign up for 30 days free on DAT TruckersEdge

    2. Research which freight markets are hot

    I’ve learned over the years that freight is like a living organism — forever changing, moving, and growing. A market that is hot this week may not be next week, and vice versa. You have to keep up with the changes weekly, even daily, and stick to strong markets with plenty of freight.

    Before I’ll ever call a broker, I’ll go into TruckersEdge and do some lane searches to see what lanes are paying the best. Then I'll check the load counts in the market I’m in and get a load-to-truck ratio. If there are way more loads than trucks, I know my trailer is a hot commodity and it will take more money for me to jump on a load.

    On the other hand, I'll take less than the average rate if I know it's going to take me into a strong market. That's why it’s crucial to stay up to date on both the market you’re in and the market you're headed to.


    3. Always look ahead to your next load

    After I get on a load and know where I’m going, I’ll look into the market I’m headed into and get an idea of where I need to go next. I try my best to stay a load and a day ahead at all times.

    I'll try to secure another load at my destination before I get there. If I’m delivering a load at 8 a.m. tomorrow, and I can get another load with an open pickup window at or above the average rate, I'm all for it. Very seldom
    do I pull a load for less than average, but sometimes the cards just aren’t in my favor.

    But I keep in mind that time equals money: Rolling at $1.50 per mile today is more profitable than $2.00 per mile tomorrow. Pre-booking my next load helps me cut down on wasted time, and time management is very important in this business. 

    With good planning during my week, I find that I can make room for an additional load by week's end.

    On my YouTube channel, MakeCents Trucker, I tell people all the time: I’m not the smartest in the industry. I’m learning as I go, and this is what I do. In an industry where most fail as an owner-operator or independent carrier, I’ve been able to keep the lights on.

    DAT Solutions provides truckers and carriers access to North America’s largest marketplace of loads and trucks with over 900,000 loads posted daily. Click here to learn more about DAT and how you can get 30 days free on DAT TruckersEdge.


    Click here to view the original DAT blog post by contributor Sammy Lloyd.

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    Tuesday, October 2, 2018

    Everything You Need to Know 1099 vs. W2

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    Everything You Need to Know 1099 vs. W2
    As a fleet owner should you give your drivers a 1099 or W-2 Form? We hear this question a lot from drivers and fleet managers alike. You might think you have a ton of time before the tax season, however, now is the time to get your documents in order. The last thing you want is the IRS on your case about the classification of your drivers.

    While we do tend to focus on Form 2290, we understand the personal taxes of a professional truck driver can make a huge difference for both companies and drivers.

    Do Your Drivers Need a 1099 or W-2?

    Misclassifications continue to be a subject for concern among both companies and drivers, so it is a point that needs particular attention. So how should your fleet approaches classification?

    When you bring on a new driver, you should determine if they are a full-time employee or an independent contractor. This should be priority number 1!

    This will determine if they will receive a 1099 or W-2. Now, we’ve heard stories from some drivers where companies won’t discuss employee status until tax forms are due, but we suggest clear and open communication with your drivers from the very beginning.

    Some fleets might be tempted to put the burden of taxes on drivers and send them a Form 1099, but that route can only be traveled with specific conditions geared towards independent contractors.

    My point is that treating a full-time employee as an independent contractor will lead the IRS to your front door. Plus, the IRS get their money one way or another. Might as well keep your classifications kosher. 

    Independent Contractor or Company Driver?

    The status of your drivers needs to be determined before the hiring process even starts. There are specific guidelines set by the IRS on what classifies as a contractor and which 1099 to file.

    If you’re an independent contractor, you will have to cover your end of government expenses, but you also have more choice in how you haul.

    Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute

    If you have any questions about your business tax forms, contact our sister product, TaxBandits. It is their mission to help your business save time and money this upcoming tax season. Their bilingual support team is available via phone, live chat, and email. Click here to learn more.



    Learn More About TaxBandits






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    Wednesday, October 18, 2017

    Trucker Budgeting Tips To Really Help You Save

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    ExpressTruckTax encourages trucking businesses to budget
    Trucking gives you freedom. It provides the ability to drive all over the country without coworkers breathing down your neck and if you’re an owner-operator then you even get to be your own boss. However, with great power comes great responsibility.

    In today’s case, we mean spending responsibility. Trucking can be very expensive, especially when you’re just starting out. Before you establish yourself as a reputable driver you may have to really nickel and dime a few things. A proper budget can make or break you in the transportation industry, so check out a few budgeting basics.

    How To Create A Trucking Budget


    Know Your Numbers

    Before you start spending it’s a good idea to know how much you can actually spend. Meet with an accountant or financial advisor to see how much of a loan you can get when you decide to start up your trucking company.

    Also, you will want to know how much you’re making and spending. These numbers can be easy to track with the help of a program like TruckLogics. TruckLogics will track your expenses and income so you can run financial reports at any time to see exactly where your money is coming and going.

    Cut Costs
    Once you know how much you can spend, you don’t have to spend it all. Cut costs and allocate money to the proper places. If you need office supplies consider getting refurbished computers. Also, you don’t have to buy the top of the line, brand new rig. Look into your used options or consider leasing.

    The top 3 trucker expenses are gas, food, and lodging. Save on fuel by slowing down to improve fuel efficiency or consider getting a fuel card for rewards. Also, buy your on the road snacks in bulk to save and cook your own meals in your rig.

    Last but not least, to save on lodging, stop sleeping in motels. Outfit your sleeper cab to be comfortable enough for a great night of rest.

    Then put all the money you save from cutting costs into your actual savings. You will need it in case business becomes slow or something happens to one of your trucks. In the event of an emergency if you don’t have savings to pull from then you could find yourself in trouble.

    Consider Your Options


    Don’t just jump in and impulsively buy things. If the first insurance policy you’re offered looks good read the fine print anyways. It may offer more coverage than you need, so be sure to see what your state actually requires.

    Also, things like bobtail coverage to protect your truck while in operation without a trailer or physical damage coverage may cost extra.
    ExpressTruckTax helps truckers file Form 2290 on time

    Do you really need an assistant back at home to cover your books and manage dispatches or can you do it all yourself with the help of a trucking business management program like TruckLogics?

    Be On Time

    Nothing stings like late fees, so be on time. File your 2290 online by the deadline with the help and ExpressTruckTax and stay on top of your quarterly IFTA return with ExpressIFTA. Also, pick up and deliver your loads on time!

    Time is money in this business, so you don’t want to keep people waiting. Plus, you can even be fined for delivering loads late and in some cases, you may have to wait until the next day to come back and unload your freight. That extra day of waiting won’t just be frustrating because it will also be expensive.

    Happy Trucking


    We know you’re in the trucking business because you love it, and we know you can make it. Soon you will grow your business to new levels and with the help of budgeting, you will be able to save faster. You never know when those savings will come in handy, so be prepared when an emergency or great investment opportunity comes along.

    Please add your budgeting tips in the comment section below and visit ExpressTruckTax.com for more trucking blogs.
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    Wednesday, September 20, 2017

    4 Simple Tips for Trucking Success

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    Getting into the trucking business is a difficult task. Many people try to break into the market every year and fail. Either as drivers, fleet owners, owner-operators, and more. No matter how you want to emerge in the business there are risks to face. Trucking isn't just something you can wake up one day and decide to do because it takes a lot of practice and learning to be good at it.

    To help you and your career along today we’re focusing on the positives to prepare you for the transportation industry by providing you with a few keys to trucking success. No matter if you’re starting out as a company driver or trying to launch your own fleet, check out these tips.

    The Keys To Success

    1. Budget

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that trucking is expensive. You will want to save anywhere you can, especially in the beginning. Do things like research all of your options before making a purchase. For example, don’t jump on the first big rig you see, considering buying used or leasing instead. Also, shop around and compare the best insurance rates to suit the best one for your needs.

    When you’re on the road slow down. Literally, driving at slower speeds will help you save fuel, which is your number one expense. You may want to also join a fuel rewards club to see where you can save. Also, stop buying expensive meals and fast food all the time. Save by making meals in your cab and by buying your snacks in bulk to take along with you. Another way to save a lot is to sleep in your truck instead of buying a motel room.

    2. Stay Healthy

    When you first hit the road it can be easy to let yourself go. Literally, the trucking lifestyle that involves sitting and poor food options can be extremely unkind to your britches, because you may end up ripping through them. The amount of time drivers spend sedentary can lead to rapid weight gain, depression, heart disease, sleep apnea, and more.

    Be aware of how much you sit and what you eat. Try to bring your own healthier meals on the road or choose from healthier fast food options like grilled chicken salads, which are actually very filling, just avoid the salad dressing and croutons. When you park, get a good walk in by exploring the truck stop or just by lapping your rig. Smartphones will record your steps to give you an idea of your activity. Also, you can bring strength training equipment in your rig.

    3. Be Proactive


    You can’t wait for business to fall in your lap. Using load boards is a great way to get started but you’ll bring in much more by building quality relationships with shippers. Call them, be polite, and deliver your loads on time. If your delivery will be delayed let your dispatcher know as soon as you discover that information. You could text them, but it’s best to call them directly and never text and drive. 

    Part of being proactive is seeming like you care. That means wear something nicer than sweats and flip flops all the time, be polite, and remember to shower. Carriers talk to shippers and can make or break your reputation pretty quickly, so be professional. Plus, having a good attitude can help you get warnings instead of tickets.

    4. Just Ask Your Question 

    In this business, there is always something new to learn, but you have to look for it. Read articles online and simply ask other drivers for help. You can ask them questions on online forums or in person and they will appreciate being asked and usually love to talk.

    Our last bit of knowledge today to share is GOAL. Get Out And Look! If you’re backing up or pulling onto a road and aren’t sure if you have a place to turn around or not then get out and look. It’s perfectly fine to take your time. Spending a few minutes taking a look before backing up is much better than hitting something.

    Enjoy The Road


    Congratulations on your trucking career. No matter where you are in the transportation industry you play a major role in moving our economy forward. Just remember to budget, keep your health in mind, be proactive, and if you have a question just ask!

    If you have more keys to success for trucking please add them to the comment section below and visit ExpressTruckTax.com for more trucking blogs.
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    Wednesday, December 14, 2016

    Consider The Facts of Becoming an Owner Operator

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

    You Have to Talk to the Suits

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

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

    There are way More Costs Than you Think

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

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

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

    It Takes More Time

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

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

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

    You and Your Truck Might not be Healthy Enough

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

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

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

    You may Miss Company Comforts

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

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

    Do you Have What it Takes?

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

    Learn more about becoming an owner operation at ExpressTruckTax.com and be sure to share your tips and tricks in the comment section below. 
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    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Fitness Tips for Truckers

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    You hear it all the time – trucking is an unhealthy career choice. Sure, staples like all-you-can-eat buffets, truck stop junk food, and long hours planted in a seat give the job a bad reputation. But let’s be real, the trucking life is what you make of it. And honestly, it’s up to us in Trucking Nation to turn the tide on OTR health.


    Think about it, you take the time to care for your rig, deliver your loads on time, and file your HVUT and IFTA returns. In the same way, you need to care for your health. We’ve talked about yoga and healthy eating before, but we know some of you want the high intensity release of weight training and cardio to balance out all that sitting time.


    Some truckers might go with a national gym chain membership, but that limits your access depending on your route and location. Have some downtime coming up? Look for hotels with fitness centers and you can get in a nice, solid workout before hitting the road again. For Owner-Operators on the long haul with a sleeper cab, you can prepare for a fitness routine by bringing your own equipment and knowing some fitness routines.

    Store Small Equipment in Your Truck


    We know it’s a tight fit in plenty of cabs, but there are some compact and portable fitness options for your OTR lifestyle.
    • Weights: Keep some smaller weights in your cab. You don’t want to add a ton to your tare weight, but a couple of dumbbells for strength training inside your cab is a great start.
    • Resistance: Resistance bands are a great alternative for hauling weights. With different tension levels, you can knock out a killer workout without taking up much space in the cab.
    • Jump Rope: Hey, if Rocky Balboa could jump rope and look cool, so can you! If you’re already storing resistance bands or bungee cords, toss a jump rope into the mix. Plus, it’s a really effective way to burn the calories of an 8-minute mile without running one.
    • Cycling: We’ve even heard of some truckers storing bikes behind their cabs, which is a great way to stay fit while on the road. Plus, you can get around on a bicycle without having to drive the rig anywhere.

    Train Anywhere With Bodyweight and Cardio


    While storing equipment works for some, there are several alternatives to hauling a portable gym with you. If you are looking for a high intensity routine geared towards building muscle, consider body weight training. By using your own weight as your resistance, you can get a great workout anywhere for free!
    • Bodyweight Squats: Need an intense bodybuilding without an entire gym? Try bodyweight squats! With your legs and thighs inactive throughout the day, squats are a great way to increase muscles and keep your body active.
    • Push-ups: Everybody knows the push-up. You might even hate the push-up, but you can’t deny the effectiveness. Push-ups work your arms, chest, and shoulders. If you’re looking for a key workout, find space to knock out some push-ups. 
    • Burpees: For an exhausting, yet satisfying burn, try burpees. With a burpee, you get both strength training and aerobics. You’ll feel the burn mostly in your quadriceps, but you’ll also feel it in your chest, calves, and hamstrings. 
    • Cardio: Of course, keeping your heart rate and body active after a long haul is important for the trucking lifestyle. With a solid cardio routine, you’ll improve your heart and overall health. We already mentioned cycling, but there are plenty of body-only cardio workouts that will help you out between hauls. 

    Use Your Resources

    If you don’t have any equipment on hand, you can still start a fitness routine. Take advantage of your resources until you get the proper gear for your routine. 
    • Repurpose: For weight training, try using milk and water jugs as weights. Just keep the containers empty until you get to a stop, then fill them with water. They’re also a great way to stay hydrated after a workout!
    • Straps: If you’re interested in resistance training, repurpose bungee cords or flatbed tarp straps as resistance bands. 
    • Loading: For some truckers, just loading and unloading can give a great workout. I mean, if you’re lifting boxes day in and day out, it makes sense. Just make sure to follow proper lifting techniques, so you don’t injure your back in the process.

    At the end of the day, your health is in your hands. Watching what you eat and implementing an exercise routine will make the difference between a long healthy career or future health complications.

    And when you’re keeping up with your rig’s tax forms, ExpressTruckTax will be here to assist you with any HVUT matters. Reach us by phone at 704.234.6005, email at support@expresstrucktax.com, or live chat via our website.




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