If you want to run a profitable trucking business, you’ll need to follow some simple steps. These tips will help you make sure that your trucking company starts on the right foot and continues that way as it grows in size and profitability.
1: Compare rates
One mistake many businesses make is choosing an insurance company based on price alone. This could end up costing you more in claims. Do your research, compare rates and consider whether or not the price is an indication of quality service before purchasing insurance policies for your trucking business. Ask family, friends, and colleagues for recommendations on good carriers with competitive pricing, too.
2: Understand your expenses
Before jumping into any business, take time to understand what it will cost you every month to operate. Get together all of your anticipated bills, including rent or mortgage payments, utilities, loan payments, and more. Add up those expenses and find out how much money you need each month just to keep things running at current levels (known as fixed costs). Make sure you have enough cash on hand for these regular expenses—you can get an idea of how much by looking at your current bank statement. Write down that figure as it will help inform financial decisions you make later on in starting your trucking business.
3: Track your fuel mileage
Calculate your truck’s fuel mileage daily or weekly. Keeping track of your miles per gallon is critical to operating a profitable trucking business, especially if you only own one truck. By monitoring your MPG regularly, you can quickly identify issues like defective tires or excessive weight that can impact performance and lower your profits. Even minor improvements in efficiency—like proper tire inflation—can help improve gas mileage and reduce costs over time. To start, fill out a Mileage Report form every time you drive, noting stops, the number of miles driven and average fuel economy for each tank filled; taking pictures of odometers when filling up will make it easy to keep accurate records later on.
4: Watch out for vehicle problems
Watch for warning signs that your vehicle isn’t up to par. Make sure that you use standard parts and services when dealing with truck repair—not cheap knock-offs or quick fixes from convenience stores. A little research and time spent on prevention can save you thousands in repairs down the road. If you notice something is wrong, call in a professional who knows what they’re doing right away rather than ignoring it. It might be cheaper to have someone check it out now than face expensive repairs later on!
5: Track miles, time, and fuel costs with an app or other tool
As a new driver, it’s easy to lose track of how much fuel you’re using or how many miles you’ve driven. If you don’t pay attention, these costs can add up quickly and leave you spending more than you made in profit. To prevent that from happening, it helps to install some type of mileage tracker app or GPS device in your truck. You can use these devices for other important purposes as well, such as monitoring your speed or identifying places where you might be able to cut down on time spent driving by taking back roads instead of highways.
6: Start small until you know what you’re doing
Trying to do everything at once or expand too quickly is one of the most common errors business owners make. It’s much better to start small and build your business gradually than it is to try and take on too much, too soon. It will also save you from burning through cash until you find a formula that works. So how do you know if you have enough capital for your idea?
7: Delegate responsibilities to others
This may not sound like such a large number, but when you consider how many employees there are in our country it starts to become clear just how many businesses are affected by workplace accidents. While some injuries or accidents may be out of your control, you can take steps toward preventing others from happening. An employer must ensure that their staff has been provided with all necessary training so they can perform their jobs safely and securely. For example, forklift training is something every company should consider offering before allowing staff to operate heavy machinery without proper knowledge.
8: Don’t forget about safety
While it may not seem like it, truck drivers are risking their lives every time they start up their rig. One study from Kansas State University, for example, found that nearly 20 percent of semi-truck drivers were fatigued behind the wheel; more than 70 percent admitted that they had fallen asleep while driving at least once. Fatigue is dangerous in any situation, but when you’re operating 1 ton of machinery and sitting an average of 10 feet off of the ground? It can be deadly.