Being an owner-operator and running a trucking business is expensive, especially when you’re handling several trucks—and when you add things like fuel, market, rates, and the weather to the mix, it can become a costly journey. It’s no wonder it requires a focused mind to drive trucks.
That said, if you’re an owner-operator and are running your own trucking business and want to cut and manage some of your expenses, the following tips will help.
Improve Safety Procedures
When you’re investing in your safety, you’re making significant changes to minimize damage and repair costs. This plan is suitable for long-term operations, as the time and energy you invest in safety will gradually pay off over the next couple of years. However, owner-operators or trucking companies that invest in security—whether by enhancing safety procedures, offering safety bonuses, or hiring trucking attorneys to reduce costs in case of legal issues, will maintain a stronger financial standing for years.
Long-term cost savings for owner-operators is just one of the several reasons why you should incorporate a detailed safety plan for your trucking company.
Track Your Budget at Least Every Month
If you’re looking to save as much as possible, you’re going to need to keep track of all your incoming and outgoing income to determine your operational costs. Discovering how much you’re spending per mile can help you keep track of your expenses and find new ways to save more money, allowing you to ensure a smoother ride and increase profits along the way. So, if you don’t know how much you’re currently spending, take the time to track your truck and see where you can make any cuts.
It’s best to work with an experienced accountant for a profit and loss statement at the end of every quarter and look for any trends you may have in spending. That’s because most of the time, it’s more profitable to cut costs to increase earnings.
Use a Transportation Management System
Having a reliable transportation management system or TMS can help you handle several tasks that owner-operators regularly tackle, including managing loads, simplifying payrolls, and automating IFTA reports. It should also create detailed reporting and statistics of your trucking business, cutting the amount of time you spend on office tasks and saving you money down the line.
Protect Your Cargo
Cargo theft is one of the most common and costly crimes in the United States, continuing to be a real and current danger across the country. Unfortunately, thieves are always looking for new ways to steal trailers and cargo, which can devastate owner-operators once lost. That’s why it’s best to educate yourself about the best ways to protect your freight, saving you from making expensive repairs or replacement costs.
Follow Fuel-Cutting Strategies
Although you can always limit the amount of time spent idling, there are several ways to cut fuel costs that you may not know, ranging from keeping tires at the ‘correct’ pressure at all times to adding a roof fairing. These changes can help cut your fuel costs down the line, saving you more money and increasing your profit.
Plan Routes and Stops Beforehand
Although you can’t necessarily prepare for everything you may encounter on the road, taking a quick look at several potential issues can help. These include looking at the weather forecast, road and construction ahead, shortcuts, toll booths, truck parking, and limitations that can help ensure a smooth journey without delays—saving you on fuel costs.
Reduce Insurance Premiums
Since trucking comes with substantial risks on the road, trucking insurance is often expensive. The expenses of an owner-operator vary widely, with a difference of up to thousands of dollars every year. Most of the time, insurance costs skyrocket because some owner-operators apply for premiums that they don’t need. The best way to cut costs in this aspect is to keep track of your policies and see which ones you need and don’t need.
Additionally, when choosing premiums, make sure to get several quotes from different insurance agents before choosing which insurer would benefit you the most while saving you money.
Being an owner-operator rides on a narrow margin of error. With unpredictable fuel costs changes nearly every day, high repair and maintenance expenses, expensive insurance premiums, and the never-ending requirement for equipment and fuel, your income can evaporate fast. That’s why it pays to be proactive and follow the tips mentioned, helping you save money and earn more in the long run while ensuring you got all the equipment you need for your long hauls.