Nobody in the trucking industry looks at today’s spot market and thinks things are great. Rates are below the costs of fuel to haul them. Many truckers are parking their trucks for the duration until shippers and brokers come to their senses. Even the truckers who are willing to take these dirt-poor rates are looking to find ways to cut their costs to make the load somewhat profitable. The one thing that an experienced trucker knows they can control are their daily expenses.

Daily, Monthly, and Yearly Expenses

Let’s break down how we spend money in our businesses.

Yearly expenses are those annual bills that we face once or twice a year.

  • IRP
  • HVUT
  • Insurance/Bonds

Some of them are bigger than others, sure, but you can’t fail to take care of them.

Monthly expenses would be expenses we pay on a quarterly or every month basis, such as

  • IFTA
  • Personal or business taxes to the IRS
  • Loan payments for equipment or housing
  • Medical insurance
  • Home mortgage
  • Property rentals
  • Clothing (particularly seasonal)
  • Software for the business.

Daily expenses would be any expense that you pay at least once a week, if not daily. We could include fuel in this catagory, but let’s focus more on expenses we have some control over, such as on the road

  • food
  • housing
  • personal supplies
  • entertainment
  • lumpers
  • tolls

We’re not claiming this is a complete list. You’ve probably got plenty more to add. But let’s start with these.

Expenses Per Day

Insurance companies set their prices. Mortgages depend on time, but they’re not flexible. IFTA, IRP, fuel costs, and maintenance change based on the miles and loads. But we have to pay for all of them, so knowing a number gives us the chance to be prepared. One Trucker Stats number we need to know is expenses per day.

Expenses per day is a pretty flexible number. But it’s a great metric to judge how we’re controlling our cash flow. An expenses per day budget helps us to make decisions about the pennies in our pockets. Remember the old saying:

Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

Benjamin Franklin

Why Bother?

The single greatest benefit to knowing your expenses per day is that you can plan for them.

We’re not talking about emergencies. We’re talking about what you can expect to pay in a single day for your trucking business and for your life. When you know this number, you can look at a load and figure out pretty easily how long it will take. Then you’ll know if the price they offer is one that you can live on.

Too many times, new truckers take loads that lead to them essentially paying to haul the shipper’s load instead of being paid for the service.

Wouldn’t it be a relief to know that there’s a single number that can tell you “yes or no” on a load?

This may be that number for you. Of all the trucker stats we need, this may be the most important.

How To Find Your Expenses Per Day

Probably the best way to get started is to track every penny in some fashion. Some people will prefer a notebook or note card, others will find a good financial app.

Or you can run your trucking business with TruckingOffice PRO and get your expenses per day total without doing any extra data entry.

Some counselors will suggest that you use cash as much as possible. (In this day of fuel cards, we’re guessing that’s not as easily done now.) In the end, every penny is accounted for. TruckingOffice PRO can use all of those recorded expenses to produce the number you need: expenses per day.

How long do you have to track your expenses per day?

As long as it takes you to get control of them and keep control. If you want to create a budget, you need a good idea of what you’re spending. Paying attention to your expenses per day will show you where your money is going. Then you can ask yourself

Am I happy with how much money I’m spending on____?

This may be the motivation to reconsider how you prepare your meals or how often you stay in hotels rather than in your bunk. Pricing different insurance companies or refinancing a mortgage (ok, not this week, based on the current interest rates) might produce significant cuts in the bigger trucking expenses.

Not every trucking software program will give you an expense per day

Of course, we’re going to suggest that you reconsider your trucking business software if you’re not using TruckingOffice PRO. If you are using our software, you already know that you’re getting the best trucking management software program for small trucking businesses. Owner operators across the country know that TrucingOffice PRO is the number 1 way to build a great trucking business because it manages everything you need.

  • IFTA
  • IRP
  • Invoices
  • Maintenance records and scheduling
  • Routing and dispatches.

How about a free trial to discover your expenses per day and take control of your business in a difficult economy? We’ll be glad to give you one to discover what you need to build your trucking business success!

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