Business Management Tips for Truck Owner-Operators
Owning any kind of business is expensive. Apart from the capital investment that goes into starting a business, there are a lot of extra costs that are not even considered expenditures. It is only the person who has to bear expenses who knows the cons of owning a business. Now, if you are new to the trucking business, and are setting out on your own, then you should know that there can be unexpected pitfalls. Driving millions of miles and running a successful business at the same time takes skill, patience, and perseverance.
As a new owner-operator of a trucking business, no one needs to tell you that becoming one is a big step. From the purchase of your truck to licensing, searching for work, transitioning to becoming an independent contractor, and taking on all the new responsibilities, you have done your part of the research to prepare yourself.
As a truck owner-operator, you have many advantages like setting your schedule, being your boss, and leaving the company’s politics and rules behind. However, with many advantages come many responsibilities. Thus, this article will provide you with some tips for your business for managing your business as a truck owner-operator:
Business management tips for truck owner-operators:
Like any other business, the trucking business also has some tips and tricks that a business owner can apply to help their business bloom. Some of them are listed below:
- Use technology:
In today’s world, technology is everything. Learning, shopping, talking to loved ones, buying food and groceries, everything is done digitally. You do not need to flood your truck with papers and other documents that you need, instead, you can have them all stored in a small device. Many mobile applications can help you manage all your paperwork for you.
- Use TMS:
A TMS is a transport management software that can help truck owner-operators to organize their trucking business. A TMS provides visibility into day-to-day transportation operations, trade compliance information, and documentation, and ensures the timely delivery of foreign goods. Transportation management systems also streamline the shipping process and make it easier for businesses to manage and optimize their transportation operations.
- Be willing to listen:
In any business, listening is key. Anybody can do the talking but being able to listen, observe and make a decision is a skill that very few people possess.
Even when you as a truck owner-operator are hiring drivers, communication is very important. The most important part of strong communication with drivers is good listening. This means you take time and effort to hear drivers’ concerns and then address them. Good listening isn’t just reactive. Don’t just wait for drivers to come to you with their concerns. Be curious enough to politely inquire about their needs and questions. Successful communication with employees is crucial for any profession but comes with unique challenges in the trucking industry. The nature of the work is that drivers will be on the road most of the time and communication rarely takes place in person.
- Organize your paperwork:
As a truck owner-operator, you may be well aware that there is a lot of paperwork needed in the industry than what is expected. Truck drivers need to keep detailed paperwork in with themselves in order, including licenses, receipts, a logbook, and bills of lading. Most of the time tracking and handling all the paperwork can be difficult for truck owner-operators because they have limited space with them and also they are always on the move. However, there are plenty of ways you can stay organized, for instance carrying only the things that you require will help you save a lot of space in the truck. Most of the time truck drivers will carry unnecessary kinds of stuff and make their space even more clumsy. There are other ways in which you can organize your paperwork. Technology has made the life of many people easier. There are many applications online that will help you store your paperwork and also organize them for you. This way you will not have to worry about damaging or losing any of your important papers.
- Communication is key:
As a truck owner-operator, you probably do not have a lot of time to communicate as you are always on the run. However, sending regular invoices and keeping the communication going will help your business. Sending invoices immediately after you complete a load is the best way to get paid fast. Managing your cash flow is essential to the long-term success of your trucking business. One of the main enemies of good cash flow is clients who don’t pay on time. To keep your trucking business in the black and ensure your cash flow is predictable and reliable, you want good-paying clients. Clients who provide you with steady work and pay you fair prices without delays. Having all of your load and invoices managed by one software will make it easier for you to keep track of customers who have paid and who haven’t.
- Spend wisely:
You are a truck owner-operator and most of the time you are on the road. It is very difficult to refrain from buying kinds of stuff as you will be entering supermarkets a lot in your journey. Keeping track of what you are spending on and how much you are spending will help you lower your expenditures. Sometimes a person will think that they haven’t spent much but at the end of the day, they will be proven wrong by their credit history. Credit cards can be extremely appealing to a lot of people. Card issuers are offering consumers larger sign-up bonuses than they ever have before. In addition, the ability to earn travel rewards or cashback on each purchase is hard to pass up.
- Choose the right load:
One of the most important skills to develop in the transportation industry, and particularly for self-employed or small fleets, is learning how to find loads. It can be a time-consuming job, but with a focus on the right methods and tools, mastering this skill can pay off very nicely. There are a few ways in which you as a truck owner operator can get the right load:
Firstly, Freight brokers are one of the most common ways to connect truckers with shippers. They can save owner-operators a lot of effort since they do most of the work to match loads with drivers.
Secondly, Entering agreements directly with shippers can be a great way to get loads. This will most likely require some cold calling.
Lastly, using a truckload board is probably one of the best ways to find loads for truck owner-operators.
- Safety comes first:
There are millions of truck drivers in the United States which means safety training should be a top priority for the trucking industry. Considering the weight and size of large trucks, using safe driving practices can help avoid being involved in a motor vehicle accident.
For those small carriers and independent owner-operators, creating a safety program for your company is very important. Should you happen to be involved in an accident that occurs and is then followed by a court case, you will want to represent your company/driver to the best of your ability. This can be done if you have a proven record of an ongoing safety program. You will want to demonstrate to the court and those involved that you cared about safety within your company. Driver files should contain the necessary signed and dated articles, publications, and certificates for training completion, meeting notes, or any other forms/items showing valid proof that safety prevention was a top priority.
As a truck owner-operator, it is very important to keep yourself inspired at all times. It is a very difficult job and can get even harder at times but you must always be motivated.
Persona is here to help you at all times. If you are a truck owner-operator and are looking for someone to manage your business, then Persona is the way to go. Persona is the best tool for managing all of your business and financial aspects.
The Persona platform is free of charge, and it can help you with payment collection, expense management, and many more. You can download the app for free from the google play store or apple store or simply sign up at the bottom corner of the screen.