5 Tips to Run Smart and Stay Profitable in the Trucking Business
June 9, 2022
When you have an owner-operator trucking business, running smart is key to growing a highly profitable operation. To get there, you'll need to think about how to lower your operational costs, maximize your uptime, and retain and attract clients. Running a smart owner-operator trucking business is about thinking ahead, learning from others, and finding a strategy that works for you. So, we rounded up some tips to help you do just that.
Ways Keep Your Trucking Business Running Smart
As trucking becomes more complicated, it's essential to know the business side of it better than a map of the I-80. To do that, check out these ideas and advice.
Charge the Right Rate Per Mile
To charge the right rate per mile, you'll first need to determine the expenses it takes to get the job done. Consider fixed costs, such as truck payments, insurance, and permits, as well as variable costs, such as fuel. Once you know your expenses, you can more accurately calculate what rate to charge your clients to haul a load. Your prices should be competitive, yet enough to generate a profit while paying all your operating costs.
Create a Fuel-buying Strategy
Fuel can account for up to 40% of a trucking business's operating expenses. But, the lowest pump price does not provide the most economical fuel because of taxes. Truck drivers pay taxes based on fuel used as they drive through states, regardless of the fuel source. So, a best practice is to buy your fuel at the lowest base price, fuel price minus tax, no matter the pump price.
Plan Your Route for Peak Efficiency
One of the keys to running a smart trucking business is to plan a route that makes the best use of your time and resources. Without a well-planned itinerary, you could run out of fuel or over fuel before scaling, causing an overweight issue that adversely affects your schedule. Taking the wrong route can also cost you money if it requires extra miles or time to get back on track. To plan your routes effectively, we'd humbly suggest checking out the Highway Weather App (you're on our site, after all), which helps truck drivers account for weather conditions and rest stops.
Attract and Retain Clients
To build a sustainable, long-term trucking business, it's vital to operate with a diverse set of revenue streams, which means having multiple active clients and a healthy list of potential clients. To keep your current clients, focus on providing excellent customer service. To attract new clients, focus on marketing to reach out to your potential customers, and get jobs.
Protect the Asset — You!
In his book, "Essentialism," author Greg McKeown writes, "The best asset we have for making a contribution to the world is ourselves. If we underinvest in ourselves, and by that, I mean our minds, our bodies, our spirits, we damage the very tool we need to make our highest contribution." As a truck driver, this concept is especially true. To keep your asset running at peak efficiency, it's essential to reduce stress and take other steps to ensure your health.
By running smart, you can ensure the longevity and profitability of your trucking business.