How to Operate a Trucking Company

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Once you've completed all the necessary permit requirements, hired drivers, and won bids for trucking jobs, operating a trucking company requires continued oversight. Consider retaining a consultant or attorney familiar with trucking compliance regulations as you learn how to operate a trucking company for the first year. The trucking industry is highly regulated and, until you and your staff become completely familiar with all the nuances of the law and the day-to-day challenges of operating a trucking company, it may be worth the investment to have someone checking on your processes.

Things You'll Need

  • Trucking software
  • Bookkeeper
  • Trade group membership
  • Fuel monitoring devices

Hire a bookkeeper along with your drivers. Whether you are an operator yourself or hire out all the driving, there is an enormous amount of paperwork that is required of a trucking company. Records must be kept updated and costs recorded accurately to keep your business profitable.

Purchase a trucking software suite that is designed to track mileage and fuel costs, keep accounts receivable in order, remind you of license renewals, track driver time and other important record-keeping processes. Companies such as Axon Trucking Software and Truckers Helper have products designed for the front office, as well as programs that drivers can use to electronically update their own records from the road.

Develop relationships with clients beyond your immediate territory so that you can arrange for return hauling jobs for your carriers. Too many trucking company operators become single-minded and lose opportunities to fully utilize their resources. Counter every one-way bid with a job that fills the truck on the return trip whenever possible. Provide clients with discounts who offer two-way assignments for their companies.

Look for ways to minimize costs, such as investing in preventive maintenance on your trucks to save on larger repairs. Steer your drivers to overnight lots that provide heat and air while they rest rather than waste fuel on idling. Equip drivers with monitors such as the one produced by Cadec Global, that alerts them to slow down when fuel consumption rises. Provide training to drivers on how to conserve fuel.

Participate in associations and trade groups to network within the industry and build referrals and partnerships. Learn about the latest improvements in technology and truck improvements. Support public advocacy and legislative lobbying efforts that groups such as the National Association of Small Trucking Companies do on behalf of the industry and its members.

Tips & Warnings

  • Diversify to remain competitive and take advantage of market changes. Look for opportunities to purchase smaller trucks for more local carrier jobs. Approach businesses that typically use their own trucks and drivers to outsource to your firm. Continue to watch for ways to keep your drivers working and your cash flow coming in.
  • Give drivers regular drug tests to protect your investments. While drug tests for drivers must be kept on file and updated annually, intermittent testing, especially after accidents or questionable mishaps, is a prudent company policy.

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