Whether you are just starting out or you’ve been in the trucking business for years or decades, the fundamentals of running a trucking business are the same. Like any other small business, your income has to exceed your expenses by enough to pay you a decent living. Simple as that. Or is it? Here are the five critical elements to success in trucking.
Nothing Happens Until Something is Sold
You can have the greatest looking trucks in the world, and they can be mechanically perfect. You can have outstanding drivers ready to work hard to deliver their loads on time and as specified. You can have a great office set up with your bookkeeping and other systems ready to operate at peak efficiency. None of that will matter if you aren’t getting bookings.
The more your trucks are on the road, the more likely you are to succeed. Sure, that seems obvious, but that means you need methods of getting businesses and/or brokers to hire your trucks to move the freight. That might mean you are calling businesses, using connections you’ve developed over the years, or letting brokers know you are available.
Many truckers use online load boards for most or all of their business. While this is a great way to find deadhead loads and try to find opportunities when you are first starting out or have idle capacity, load board opportunities are usually lower paying than work you find directly with companies or brokers.
To get the highest paying jobs, you are going to need to sell. That means getting on the phone with brokers and the shipping department of businesses, or even going in person. Most of your competitors are unwilling to do this, so you will stand out, and have a great opportunity to get the kind of loads that will pay you well.
When you do need to use a load board, we at ACS can offer you FREE access to
Downtime Can Destroy and Otherwise Fantastic Trucking Business
Your success will be determined by hours on the road. When your trucks are down for repairs or when you don’t have have a ready driver, you lose valuable, irreplaceable time.
You almost certainly have drivers for your trucks, but sometimes drivers get sick or even decide to take another job. Make sure you have an outstanding staffing company ready to supply a skilled temporary driver for you. If the temporary driver does a good job, you might decide to hire them in the future.
Regular maintenance and surprise repairs can be a drag on earnings. You need to have a relationship with a repair facility you trust for fast, accurate, and reasonable priced service work. Sometimes you may try to stretch out needed maintenance or repairs due to not having enough cash. In times like this, you can turn to ACS Factors and we can turn your freight bills into cash. If we already have an established account with you, the cash will be in your bank within hours. If you are calling for the first time, you can often be funded in one day.
Lack of Cash Flow Can Destroy any Kind of Small Business
According to Randy Kirk, author of Running a 21st Century Small Business, “A top reason most companies go out of business is running out of cash. It is critical that every small business have a relationship with a banker or other lending source that can be there with needed cash during a crisis. Every company will have a time when there is a desperate need for cash.”
You may have already had the experience. Your broker or other customer is taking longer than expected to pay you. You’ve had an unexpected slow period. A surprise repair came up at just the wrong time.