Trucking is one of the most durable industries in the world. The growth of e-commerce has cut down foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores, but the goods must still be manufactured and delivered no matter how they are bought. As a result, trucks continue to travel millions of miles each year. Despite this sustainable market, though, many new trucking businesses fail. Most of those defunct companies can trace their downfall to at least one of these common errors. If you’re planning to get into the trucking business, learn from their mistakes.
In the trucking industry, time is money, or more accurately, miles are money. Companies lose money rapidly as their trucks waste more miles and minutes on poorly-planned routes or in predictable delays like rush hour traffic, construction, and winter weather. The most successful companies plan for these conditions and allow for the delays, or manage to avoid them altogether.
Nothing increases delays quite like a truck that won’t run. Whether it’s on the yard unable to start a run or on the side of the road with a breakdown, a truck that can’t be driven can’t make money. Attention must be paid to the condition and quality of the fleet, and avoiding lemons when looking for truck sales to add new vehicles on the road and the revenue rolling in.
Getting quality trucks is a vital
first step, but you also need quality people to drive them. Staffing is an area
where many companies fall short. They fail to do background checks or talk to
references. As you hire a staff for your fleet, check their work histories.
Make sure they are reliable, with clean driving records. Require drug checks
and complete criminal background checks.
When you manage a fleet of drivers you may be tempted to let bad driving behavior go unchallenged to keep more trucks on the road, however, you will get a bad reputation if you do so. Branding is important in any business. You don’t want drivers or clients to associate you with reckless drivers. Make sure you follow through with disciplinary actions for drivers. Consider having a hotline drivers can report good and bad driving to.
Poor Work Management
It is difficult to turn down paying work, but sometimes it’s necessary. Your schedule and your fleet can only handle so much, so when those last-minute runs come in, you must be practical and realistic about whether or not you can accept it. Remember that the biggest determinant of your future work load is your performance on previous work. An overbooked schedule causes missed deadlines that will cost you more money in the future than they earn you in the present. GPS management systems take the guesswork and busywork of managing your fleets whereabouts and schedules.
Your trucking business can be a very successful venture. Technology will never eliminate the need to move things from place to place, so the market will always be there. With good management, your trucking firm can be a solid source of income for years to come.
Kara Masterson is a freelance writer from West Jordan, Utah. She graduated from the University of Utah and enjoys writing and spending time with her dog, Max.