Some of the biggest ELD companies sold their equipment with the promise to do your IFTA too. That’s better than getting a program that only does your IFTA, I guess. But will it also calculate your costs per mile?
Will your ELD help you find out?
I found a page from OOIDA website today about Costs per Mile. It’s not a bad explanation of why we need to know that number. They even have a free Excel worksheet to figure it out The very first number they ask for is the number of loaded miles you drove last year. The second is the number of deadhead miles you drove.
I might be able to make good guesses. Because of the IFTA filing, I have some numbers we could add up and come close to our total miles, even if I didn’t just think about looking at my odometer on the first of every year. (But if I don’t record my deadhead miles for my IFTA, how do I come up with that second number?)
Cost per mile
The cost per mile for an owner-operator isn’t just a number – it’s vital information to help a trucker make decisions about taking loads and passing them by.
Suppose a trucker is offered a load at $1 per load. That may sound good enough, especially during the slow months. But if my cost per mile is greater than $1 per mile, then I’m going to take a hit on that load – maybe a big one. Maybe so much that it will cost me money to haul it.
There are times when taking a load that doesn’t make me much money is the only way to go. Suppose I take a great rate for a load out to New England. But when I get there, I can’t find anything as good to get home. My choice is to deadhead the whole way home or to take a load that will at least cover my costs to get back home.
I know some truckers who swear they won’t take a load for less than $2 a mile. I guess they’ll be driving an empty trailer home.
I think it’s a lot smarter to take a long look at my costs per mile. If I get $2 per mile for a trip to Vermont but can only find a load that’s heading back home for 90 cents per mile, I can add the trips together and figure my costs and my revenue from the totals. Maybe that cheap load is worth it, just to get home without getting anything. I can also decide that the 60 cents per mile load is not enough. As an owner-operator gets more experience, they learn this kind of thinking. Newer truckers can cut that learning curve way down if they just know that costs per mile number of their truck.
What’s this got to do with the IFTA?
Well, it’s not hard to figure that getting a program that does two things (ELD and IFTA) is better than one that only does one thing (IFTA or ELD.) But what would you think about a program that both of the those – and calculates your cost per mile, your revenue per mile, your IRP, your invoices, and more?
It’s January. That means it’s IFTA month – Q4 for last year. On top of that, you’ve got your income taxes, state taxes, maybe your insurance payments, a mortgage, truck payment and maybe paying off the holidays. This is not a month to have to fumble around and wonder if you’ve got the numbers right. If anything, this is the one month when you want to be sure that everything is exactly right – not a penny more to the government than they can claim.
It’s also funny that some of those things you’ve got to deal with in January – IFTA, income taxes, state taxes – are all based on exactly the same numbers. It seems smart to simply reuse them instead of copying them.
TruckingOffice TMS can help you with those numbers. Because TruckingOffice is a trucking management software, it’s going to take care of the numbers and produce the IFTA reports for you to file with confidence. You can export your invoices and expenses to QuickBooks and give that to your accountant to get your income and state taxes computed. TruckingOffice makes it easy.
Is you ELD and IFTA program going to do that for you?
Think we’re too good to be true? We hear that sometimes. But we’ll let you decide. Try us out for free – no card numbers needed. Put in all your data from the last quarter and see the report with all of your IFTA details print out in a matter of seconds. Then you can decide if you want to use TruckingOffice for the rest of the year.