Maybe because it’s Friday. On a trip across town this morning, I saw 3 bobtails and 3 empty flatbeds. I could assume they’re going home, or maybe they’re on their way to the next load. But it got me thinking about deadhead miles and the IFTA.
What Are Deadhead Miles?
If you’re new to the trucking industry, you’ll need to learn about deadhead miles. Deadhead miles are those unprofitable miles you may have to drive with an empty truck between loads. Independent truckers must worry about the effect deadheading will have on their IFTA reporting and payments, not to mention the financial impact. So, avoiding deadhead miles seems like a good plan, right? But sometimes it’s unavoidable when there are no loads nearby.
Generally, most company drivers don’t need to be concerned about deadhead miles. However, owner/operators don’t have that luxury. Look at it this way: an empty truck that gets around 5 mpg can cost over $100 for a 200-mile trip, depending on gas prices. At this rate, it won’t take long for deadhead miles to cut into profits, making it difficult to pay IFTA taxes to get a new IFTA sticker.
Furthermore, deadheading can be dangerous. An empty trailer weighs less so it is more vulnerable in high winds and could sway, causing accidents.
Owner/operators and fleet managers can avoid deadhead miles by using TMS to help with load planning. Our TruckingOffice load planning software gives you vital information about the client, cargo, and any other facts pertaining to a load to help you make the most of the miles you drive.
Deadhead Miles Decisions
No trucker or fleet manager likes deadhead miles. It’s wasted fuel. With the ELD, it’s wasted time. And what’s more, it’s not making us money. Is that the way you think about deadhead miles?
I had a plan. I decided I wouldn’t go more than 50 miles deadhead if I could help it. I figured it was better to get something rather than sit around and hope for a good load to show up within an hour of me, wherever I was.
I’ve learned better now. How I decide about deadhead miles is less random and a lot more specific.
Deadhead miles are a fact of trucking life. You can sweat over them, or you can accept them as part of the business. I decided to accept that unless you’ve got the perfect lane, you’re going to drive empty. Being a little philosophical about it makes the time and miles less stressful. I needed data to help me, not a random number I’d picked out of the blue.
I learned what I need to get paid per mile to make a profit.
Company Overview Report
When we started TruckingOffice, my father and I sat down and hashed out what needed to be available to owner-operators and fleet managers. Regular accounting programs don’t compute a company overview report because accounting programs don’t think of miles the way truckers have to. We have to account for every mile – loaded or not, heading home or to a pickup, bobtail, or with a trailer. Accounting programs think dollars, not miles. I said we need a company overview report that puts the key numbers into the trucker’s hands.
The company overview report is key to becoming a successful transportation business. It will tell you what your revenue per mile is. What your expenses per mile are.
I hear a lot of truckers say that’s not so hard to figure out… until they try.
There are multiple factors to consider when computing those numbers. Lots of truckers forget a few things… like the truck loan payments and the insurance premiums. Big-ticket items like new tires or an oil change – they’ll think about those. But what about that new set of wipers that you paid for out of pocket? Or the extra winter fuel additives?
If those things aren’t monitored, you’ll forget them when trying to come up with an overall financial view of the company.
Little things add up. Like deadhead miles, we tend to forget them as unimportant – until it’s time to pay the IFTA.
That’s why an easy-to-use, in-the-cab, trucking management solution is critical.
What’s funny is that those numbers are just so simple to track. Some guys just throw receipts into an envelope. Others have a file or a shoebox. I remember one guy had a cigar box. But that’s pretty much a thing of the past, which I think is a good thing. Using technology makes tracking expenses a lot simpler and producing a report showing revenue and expenses is now just a few seconds away at any time, not just when you’re at home in front of ledger books.
The numbers you need for the IFTA are also the numbers you need for a basic company overview report. Add your extra expenses in and you’ve got a great picture of your business, without you having to do the refiguring. A trucking management solution software is going to use those miles and expenses numbers in a dozen different ways. You don’t have to do it. The computer does it for you.
It’s an IFTA month.
And it’s the beginning of the year.
What do you want to know about your company this year? Do you want to wait until you get home to find out?
That’s the beauty of TruckingOffice’s trucking management solution. It’s available wherever you have wifi on your phone or on your tablet. What you need to know is at your fingertips at any moment to help you decide if the deadhead miles you’re going to drive to get a load are worth it. You know immediately if you’re in a position of accepting a lower-paid load just to get someplace where you can get a better load or get home.
IFTA login is meant to be a way to streamline the tax payments we truckers and fleet managers have to pay. But it’s giving us a lot more in data to help us make good decisions – if we look at the information. That’s why TruckingOffice’s trucking management solution is what you need to be successful.
Let us prove it to you. We will let you enter all of last quarter’s data – you’ll find it’s easy with our One Minute Invoice Entry system. We’ll compute your IFTA for you – all for free. We’ll give you a free trial to every part of our trucking management solution software.
Then you decide.