Is there anything more annoying than driving through South Carolina during a snowstorm? Change that – is there anymore more frustrating than driving through South Carolina during a snowstorm? When the roads aren’t so bad but the drivers don’t know what they’re doing, a small snowstorm can be a real problem. When the roads are horrible and the drivers don’t know enough to stay off the roads, it’s a nightmare. That Bomb Cyclone was a disaster on I-95 this month that led to a 12 hour shutdown of the interstate and caused 4 to 6 hours worth of traffic jams the next day. It’s just like trucking business organization.
If you’re a trucking business owner or an owner-operator, the organization of the business is a critical part of the work. Keeping track of all the receipts, the BOLs, the records for time on the road, weight of the load… You didn’t want to be a trucker to track little pieces of paper! Trucking business organization is the difference between bankruptcy and success.
Trucking Business Organization 101
Keeping Track of Paper
With the ELD mandate, paper logbooks are now pretty much a thing of the past for long distance truckers. But there’s a lot of paper still to be managed.
The classic method is the envelope. Whether it’s yellow paper, clear plastic or even a collapsible file folder, there must be a way to control the flow of the paper. Some truckers might still be using a shoe box or cigar box. But this method is based on the idea that at some point, someone’s going to have to go through each of these pieces of paper and write down the total expenses, or print up an invoice to ship with the bill of lading. Lots of hands on work.
With the advent of smartphones with cameras, these problems are being solved with technology. A snap of the camera app on a smartphone and a signed BOL could be on its way to the shipper before you leave the dock to pick up your next load. We found a half dozen truck weight apps for smartphones. Instead of paper routes, who isn’t using a mapping program on their phone (and figured out to avoid South Carolina on January 5-6?)
Paper management is really data management. That’s what computers do best. Trucking business organization can be done easily on a smartphone.
Tracking Tires and Maintenance
There are a few truckers out there who, for whatever their reasons, aren’t keeping their trucks’ maintenance up. We’re not going to say that all the road gators we see on the highways are from old tires that should have been replaced… but a lot of those tire problems on the road can be prevented with regular maintenance.
Maintenance is tracked by either time or miles. How long do you go between oil changes? Tires? How do you remember when you need get your brakes checked? Does a calendar work? What about a trying to remember to schedule something with your trusty mechanic back home – when you’re not sure when that might be. Tuesday? Wednesday? Next week?
Your equipment is your life on the road. We can’t always predict the emergency, but we can prevent a lot of them with regular maintenance.
Your trucking business organization can save you thousands of dollars by preventing the on the road emergency.
Do I Have to Mention IFTA?
Tracking your mileage has to be the most frustrating part of trucking business organization. Maybe you do a good job of tracking your miles – but if you’re running a business with hired drivers, are they?
When you get a load, you probably create some road map to get there. Is it paper? Are you using a separate GPS system in your cab to get you where you need to be? And then, does it track your miles per state or are you breaking that down yourself? Then that filing – hey, it’s due this month! – takes another day’s worth of hours to get done and worry about getting it right.
How to Organize Your Trucking Business
The purpose of a business is to make money. You’ve got to control your business – keep it organized – so you’ll do just that.
What are your options? The file box with all those random papers stuffed in it? A mess of Google maps and spreadsheets to track your miles, your invoices and your payments? A calendar with notes about that repair or equipment purchase?
There are probably still drivers on the road who are fighting the 21st century of how to organize a trucking business. The old way worked and they don’t care to update it.
We’d like to suggest that using the computer programs and smartphone apps will probably pay for themselves in the first month just by keeping you organized. Whether it’s sending the BOL and invoice from your cab, or tracking the miles on your tires, or filing that IFTA in minutes instead of hours, a good trucking management program will make your job as an owner-operator or a fleet manager easier.
We recommend TruckingOffice trucking management software. Written for truckers with truckers in mind, we’ve created a program that is simple to learn, easy to use, and you can try it for free. The whole program, not just parts of it. Our one-minute load entry and invoice creator will pay for itself immediately with faster pays.
So check us out to help your trucking business organization now. Don’t get caught in a bomb cyclone of paper and disorganization in your trucking business.