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Monday, November 22, 2010

Involving Drivers In The Freight Logistics Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Managing Freight Logistics In A Small Trucking Company

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New PTIN Requirements for Tax Return Preparers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freight Logistics for Beginners

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing Featured Blogger: Benjamin Bellville

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for stopping by and let's keep it safe!
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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Can I File IRS Form 2290 Without an EIN?

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Unfortunately, the answer is no. The IRS requires ANY taxpayer filing a Form 2290 to use an EIN number when filing. The IRS expressly prohibits the use of social security numbers for the filing of 2290.

We receive many questions from taxpayers who believe they're not a business - simply a driver. In these cases, you still need to have a business such as a sole proprietorship.

To get Employer identification number from the IRS, you can follow one of the following option:

a. Apply Online: The customer can apply for EIN by visiting IRS Online EIN application
b. Apply over the phone: Taxpayers can obtain an EIN immediately by calling the Business & Specialty Tax Line at (800) 829-4933. The hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. An assistor takes the information, assigns the EIN, and provides the number to an authorized individual over the telephone. Note: International applicants must call (215) 516-6999 (Not a toll-free number).
C. Apply Fax: Fax the completed for SS-4 to IRS - State fax number (http://www.irs.gov/file/article/0,,id=111453,00.html). If you provide a return fax number, IRS will send a fax to that number within 4 days with a new EIN.
d. Apply by Mail: This is the slowest way to get the EIN number. mail the completed Form SS-4 to the IRS. The address is listed on the form itself. This could take up to 4 weeks to get the EIN number.

If you need help, call us at 704-234-6005 or visit us at express2290.com
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Monday, October 25, 2010

File 2290 - Month end is here

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Express2290.com is the best solution for filing your Form 2290 (Heavy Truck Use Tax) Always double check the tax information you enter in your 2290 returns.

Few points to keep in mind while e-filing.
* E-file your 2290 returns with Express2290.com
* Review Federal Tax ID# or EIN# [Employer Identification Number]
* Review your Tax Year and Month
* Review your VIN# [Vehicle Identification Number]
* Sign and date your return electronically
* Choose IRS payment option
* Review all the information
* Double check your Business Name
* E-File Your 2290 Return

Choose IRS payment option:
There are several options to pay the HVUT taxes with the IRS.
Direct Debit or EFW: IRS will debit directly from your bank account.
EFTPS: You have to schedule the payment to the IRS by going to EFTPS.gov.
Check/Money Order: IRS also supports Check/Money Order if you have can schedule it in time. We strongly advice our Canadian customers to use this option as EFW option may not work for canadian banks.

Just a reminder, if you choose Direct Debit (EFW) as a payment method, the IRS will not process your return during the weekends, or on federal holidays, but on the next business day.

Review Tax ID Numbers
Carefully check Tax Identification numbers on your return.

Review Your Return
Express 2290.com is a very smart program, it automatically checks for any errors before you transmit your 2290 return to IRS, but its always good to double check everything before you hit the 'Transmit to IRS' button.

We are always available to help if needed. We are one of the few companies which is locally based to offer customer support. Call 704.234.6005
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Friday, October 8, 2010

What Happens If I Forgot to File My Form 2290 to the IRS?

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A 2290 can be filed with the IRS at any time after the deadline has passed but the tax due may be subject to penalties and interest. The penalties for filing late will not be imposed if you can show reasonable cause for not filing on time.

The penalty for failing to file IRS Form 2290 in a timely manner is equal to 4.5 percent of the total tax due, assessed on a monthly basis up to five months. Late filers not making an HVUT payment also face an additional monthly penalty equal to 0.5 percent of total tax due. Additional interest charges of 0.54 percent per month accrue as well.

As you can see, the penalties for failing to file can add up quickly. HVUT for an 80,000 lbs vehicle would typically cost about $550. However, for every month that passes without filing, penalties and interest add more than $30 to the total tax due. If you fail to file for 5 months, the total HVUT tax due to the IRS for that vehicle would be more than $700.

Additionally, many states won't permit the vehicle to be registered without proof of payment for the HVUT. Needless to say, it's important to file your Form 2290 on time!

If you would like more information about heavy vehicle use taxes and penalties and interest, please visit the IRS or DOT websites.
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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

IRS To Stop Mailing Out Tax Forms

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The IRS continues to encourage taxpayers to E-File in order to save time and money!

The IRS has announced that starting next year it will stop mailing out tax forms as an effort to reduce the costs associated with printing and postage. However, the IRS also cites the growing trend of electronically filing as a major reason for the change.

Have you considered E-Filing IRS Form 2290 for your heavy vehicle use taxes (HVUT)? It's fast, convenient, and secure! Stop driving to the "nearest" IRS office miles away. Stop waiting in line or wondering if the IRS received your 2290 you put in the mail. You can electronically file your single-vehicle IRS Form 2290 for just $9.90. Receive your stamped Schedule 1 back in minutes. Electronically file today!

For more information about the new IRS policy, please visit the IRS website at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=228162,00.html
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Monday, October 4, 2010

How Do We Keep Our 2290 Prices So Low?

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We get asked this question all the time and we love it! We can’t say why the other companies charge so much but we can certainly explain why we keep our prices so low. The short answer is value and customer loyalty.

As a single vehicle owner-operator, we understand how important it is to manage your time and money. We’re here to help. We believe very strongly in solid, long-term customer relationships. Our business model is founded on providing more features and better services for less than the other guys - a lot less. For just $9.90, you can e-file your IRS Form 2290 and still get all the great services and features that we provide to every one of our Express2290 customers.

We believe that this approach helps establish long term customer relationships, repeat business, and customer referrals. We’re in this for the long haul and we hope you are too.

Want proof for yourself? Look at the other E-Filing providers and the services they offer (or don't offer!) Then come check out all of the services you get with Express2290 for just $9.90. You can even try our program for free. Give us a call right here in the Queen City (Charlotte, NC) and experience our USA-based customer support. We dare you to compare. We know you'll be blown away! E-File your single vehicle tax 2290 forms today for just $9.90!
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ExpressTruckTax Blog

E-file your HVUT Form 2290 with ExpressTruckTax.