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Showing posts with label small trucking company. Show all posts
Showing posts with label small trucking company. Show all posts

Friday, January 14, 2011

Riding The Freight Rates Roller Coaster

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Featured Blogger
Benjamin Bellville
If you are planning to start a small trucking company you will need to understand the way freight rates work. Without knowing the cycle of things you might just be in for a surprise that will come up behind you and mug you out of the blue. In other businesses the scheme of things work on supply and demand more so then they do in trucking. Here’s what you can look forward to.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not trying to create a sense that going into the trucking business is a mistake, I’m simply not going to sugar coat it like so many people do. By knowing how things really work you will be better prepared for the volatility that goes hand in hand with trucking. While the rewards can at times be fruitful, at other times it’s similar to ramming your head off a brick wall continuously. You have to be stubborn and have a firm backbone to survive these times or you might go mad.

When you read reports that freight tonnage is on the rise in America you might get a little excited thinking that immediately you will start seeing higher freight rates, but that is false hope. Like seasons of the year trucking runs on a cycle. It’s not set in stone when these cycles will kick in, but once you get the feel for it you can adjust your operations accordingly to make it through the rough patches easier.

Usually it takes 2-3 months for freight rates to rise when consumption is on an incline. Your main cost involved with moving freight is of course fuel. Fuel prices have no rhyme or reason and more often than not when freight rates are down the oil companies are looking to maintain profit by raising their prices. I know it makes no sense, but this is normally how it happens. As freight rates start to rise and trucking companies begin buying more fuel then the price of fuel will drop again, but much slower than the time it took to rise.

Because of this effect what happens is there are several sweet spots throughout the year that are short lived pockets of higher profits. The freight rates rise slowly and the fuel prices fall slowly and eventually meet at a point where they float for a moment in perfect harmony.

When you learn to get the feel for this happening then you can be ready to jump on the market like an old school fake wrestler off the top rope. Don’t get discouraged, trucking is a big boy/girl ride full of extreme twists and turns, but when you learn to take advantage of the good times you will be better prepared to crawl through the bad.

Speaking of being prepared to take advantage of a market in your favor you should check out how ExpressTruckTax makes it a trucking company owners market all year when it comes to your trucking taxes.
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Involving Drivers In The Freight Logistics Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Freight Logistics In A Small Trucking Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

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