- Lack of planning
Running a trucking business is just like running any other type of business, but with many different regulations to work with; and a very unique type of client-base.
It's not enough just to hold a CDL; --as a business owner you need careful planning, and help from various professionals to build a good foundation
- Poor Management
Enlist the services of a professional management team, or a bookkeeping service to help you keep the numbers straight.
This is one of the weakest points in many small businesses, including trucking. If you don't know where the money goes, or how much is coming in--you are less likely to manage the business well.
- Low cash-flow
Cash-flow issues tend to be a combination of several factors such as: not enough customers or business, low-paying freight, high costs of operations, too many unpaid invoices, etc.
Identify strategies to improve or manage your business' cash flow, or get help from a business manangement service.
- No collection strategy
Whether your small trucking business is sailing smoothly, treading water or moving against a strong tide during these tough economic times, having a reliable collection strategy is key to maintaining enough cash flow to remain profitable.
- Low paying freight – no knowledge of market rates
No business can thrive for long when costs of operation are higher than incoming revenue
Check your profit/loss statements, cash-flow or income/expense statements to review whether your business is profitable. Are the numbers what you would like to see?
Consider paying a freight/load service to get better paying freight, or adjust your quotes. Also make sure you are getting paid all fuel and weight surcharges on every load
- Failure to stay compliant – resulting in fines and being shut down by DOT
If you practice staying compliant and encourage safe driving from your drivers, you are more likely to avoid all the headaches that come with being non-compliant.
Have a written safety plan, procedures for staying legal, and provide regular training/refresher courses to drivers. Avoid business shortcuts --there are none
- Partner with the wrong people
Business partnerships tend to ruin friendships; --avoid them
If you must enter a partnership, make sure you have an operating agreement, properly documented business documents, and an exit strategy.
If it's not on paper, maybe it's not for real -just sayin'
- No professional help
Let's face it- how many business owners are also accountants, safety managers, marketing gurus, etc? Not many.
As a business owner, one of your top jobs is finding and hiring the right people for the job, or getting a service meet the needs you cannot do well on your own.
Seek advice from the right places – double-check any business advice.
The Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program of the FMCSA was designed to weed out as many as 5 percent, or 150,000, of the country's 3 million or so long-haul truck drivers they believe are involved in a disproportionately high number of truck accidents and fatalities.
CSA uses a complex scoring system to rate the nearly 700,000 DOT-registered interstate trucking companies on seven "Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories", known as "BASICs."
The seven (7) BASIC categories are
- Unsafe Driving - Operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) by drivers in a dangerous or careless manner. Example violations: Speeding, reckless driving, improper lane change, and inattention. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 397)
- Fatigued Driving (Hours-of-Service) - Operation of CMVs by drivers who are ill, fatigued, or in non-compliance with the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. This BASIC includes violations of regulations pertaining to logbooks as they relate to HOS requirements and the management of CMV driver fatigue. Example violations: Exceeding HOS, maintaining an incomplete or inaccurate logbook, and operating a CMV while ill or fatigued. (FMCSR Parts 392 and 395)
- Driver Fitness - Operation of CMVs by drivers who are unfit to operate a CMV due to lack of training, experience, or medical qualifications. Example violations: Failure to have a valid and appropriate commercial driver's license (CDL) and being medically unqualified to operate a CMV. (FMCSR Parts 383 and 391)
- Controlled Substances/Alcohol - Operation of CMVs by drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs, and misuse of prescription or over-the-counter medications. Example violations: Use or possession of controlled substances/alcohol. (FMCSR Parts 382 and 392)
- Vehicle Maintenance - Failure to properly maintain a CMV. Example violations: Brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects, and failure to make required repairs. (FMCSR Parts 393 and 396)
- Cargo-Related - Failure to properly prevent shifting loads, spilled or dropped cargo, overloading, and unsafe handling of hazardous materials on a CMV. Example violations: Improper load securement, cargo retention, and hazardous material handling. (FMCSR Parts 392, 393, 397 and HM Violations)
- Crash Indicator - Histories or patterns of high crash involvement, including frequency and severity. It is based on information from State-reported crashes.
A carrier's measurement for each BASIC depends on the following:
- The number of adverse safety events (violations related to that BASIC or crashes)
- The severity of violations or crashes
- Date when the adverse safety events occurred (more recent events are weighted more heavily)
Carriers are scored in each category. The worse the carrier's performance -the higher the score. Warning letters are sent to fleets with scores above 65 (60 for HazMat carriers).
What is CSA 2010?
Comprehensive Safety Analysis 2010 (CSA 2010) is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Agency's enforcement and compliance program.
Keywords: CMV Drivers, CSA 2010, FMCSA Initiatives, Regulations
That driver on the CB said his truck gets 8mpg - Is that even possible?
You can make that statement ring true for your rig by making small changes in your driving habits and how you maintain your equipment.
There are many factors, technical and general that contribute to how large commercial trucks perform in the area of fuel efficiency, but this short article covers just some of the basic things you can do to improve fuel mileage.
Keeping the Books Straight for Truckers
- How do I know whether my trucking business is turning a profit?
- How do I setup an accounting system for my trucking business?
- Is there a one-size-fits-all book-keeping system for trucking businesses?
- I do not want to learn how to do accounting, do I need to hire an accountant?
- Staying organized is not one of my strengths -is running a trucking business for me?
- I think my truck revenue was over $250,000 last year, but I can't tell where it went!
- How do I keep track of which shipper or broker owes me money?
- I think the economy is busting my truck business, -maybe?
- My spreadsheet is out of whack! I can't tell whether the numbers are real or not.
- Is there a way I can stick it to the man and win in my small trucking biz?
- Do you hate doing Taxes?
- Do you know how much your trucking business made last month?
- Can you provide accurate information about that load you hauled last month to Denver?
- How much am I paying my owner-operators?
- Do you have a clue who your customers are?
- Do you need help keeping your bookkeeping up-to-date?
These are critical questions to ask yourself if you're in the trucking biz, and all too often we don't have straight answers to go along. It's hard enough to juggle all the responsibilities of running your business, let alone fit and keep all the puzzles in place.Continue reading â€˜Virtual Assistantâ€™ Â»