Seen on I-77 just south of Akron last week: a repair truck. A semi. A little car with a road gator peeking out beneath it – with a muffler in it. A cop. It tells the whole story right there, doesn’t it? A trucker lost a tire and it did some major damage to a car – maybe they were too close and couldn’t dodge the tread? Maybe they’re lucky it was the muffler and not their windshield that got damaged?
Based on what I just saw coming up I-77, there’s a lot of tread on the interstates today. At the rest stop, I saw a trucker walking around his rig, checking each tire. I guess he was as aware as we were of the amount of debris on the road.
Tire maintenance must be a regular part of a trucker’s routine. I don’t even think we need to talk about it here, but it did make me think about what makes our trucking businesses roll – and what can do some serious damage.
The Three Parts of Trucking Business Management
There’s some confusion about the purpose of a trucking business. Some people think the purpose of a trucking business is to move freight. No, that’s the work of the business. The purpose is to make money. That’s why trucking business management has to be on any owner-operator’s mind every day.
There are three parts to every business
Personnel, Equipment and the…
How do you fill in that headline? The Freight?
Actually, it should be Management.
When you remember what the purpose of a business – to make money – it makes sense. Take away any one of those three – personnel, equipment and management – and you don’t have a trucking business.
Hauling freight is what we do to get money. Yes, it’s important for us to consider it – but it can be done for free. We don’t want to do that, but it’s inevitable if we don’t know how to manage our business.
If you’ll forgive the pun – there are a lot of moving parts in trucking.
So losing sight of the core purpose is a disaster. We have to constantly be checking on the trucking business management just as we track the miles.
Managing Your Trucking Business
Getting a load isn’t worth anything unless you’ve got the rig there to pick it up and the driver to haul it. And once you have the pieces in place, do you know if what you’re being paid is enough?
The only way to be sure is to have a complete record of all of your expenses. When you know what you’ve spent, then you know your profits. That’s the key number. It’s not a number you can quickly calculate without a computer.
Trucking business management went through a revolution with computers. Suddenly, we’re not tied to a ledger book back at home. With the right software, you can know at every moment just what your business status is.
Understanding your trucking business numbers might take learning some basic accounting. It’s not hard – you can probably find everything you need to learn on a YouTube video. But some parts of trucking business management are unique to trucking businesses – just the taxes alone take a bit more study, such as IRP and IFTA and HVUT.
That’s why it’s important to have a complete trucking management software package. You want more than an accountant’s standard software. You need a maintenance module, a dispatching and invoicing processes, and driver information tracking.
Not having a full picture of your trucking business is dangerous.
Knowing the status of your checkbook isn’t the only number you need. We’ve already mentioned the various taxes, but you also need to know how much it costs per mile for you to haul freight. Maybe you won’t always get the best paying load – but do you know what you can accept and not end up taking a loss?
Imagine coming to the end of the quarter and not having enough money to pay your IFTA taxes? Or putting so much money into a repair that you can’t afford fuel for a load? Factoring can build a short-term bridge when funds are low, but constantly having to finance your business against future earnings is depressing. It’s much better to see the full picture and have access to it whenever you need it.
Why can’t you ignore the business stuff and just haul freight? Because you will fail.
Think about all you’re doing to make this business a success. You’ve spent a lot of money to get started, to get your own rig, to get on the road. To make it success, you need more than QuickBooks. You need TruckingOffice trucking management software.
Stop struggling with an incomplete view of your trucking business. Try TruckingOffice for free this week and discover how easy it is to manage your trucking business right away. Don’t be that trucker who lost a tire and ended up with an expensive on-the-road repair and probably a traffic ticket. Maybe we can’t stop a tire from breaking up on the road, but we can give you a full software package that will make a difference to you.