Our entire industry needs to wake up. The purported driver shortage, driver pay, working conditions, and highway safety are all interconnected. To solve one of these problems, it’s necessary to address and resolve them all.
According to many studies on the subject, you’ve got fewer than 30 seconds to make an impression on someone. In business, this can mean the difference between losing, landing or keeping a customer. So, ask yourself, “What would impress me?” If the initial contact is by phone, then that impression is determined by the manner in which you handle the phone call.
- Do you answer the phone in a professional, business-like manner?
- Do you speak clearly and slowly enough so the listener has time to understand what you are saying?
The days of parking a truck in the lot and tearing down an engine are long past. Instead, the best course of action for the micro- and small motor carrier is investing time in finding, hauling and delivering loads.
There are no guarantees when it comes to making money as an entrepreneur. It’s a learning process that continues every time you pick up a new skill or knowledge. Each enterprise develops a life of its own, equally as true in trucking as in any other small business. The hardest lesson to learn is that it takes years to grow a start-up to the point where it’s generating a sustainable profit and enough revenue to cover costs.
The marketing approach that works in one location isn’t necessarily the method that will work in another. This statement is true whether you’re establishing a bricks-and-mortar retail business, a service provider, or a trucking company. Learning the uniqueness and similarities of a market is crucial to the success of any expansion into a new area.
The day will come when you realize that the multiple tasks required to operate and grow your small trucking company require more time and energy than one person can muster. In other words, it’s time to start building a sales team. So, how do you find the person who will represent your company, forge strong professional bonds, and help maintain, sustain and grow your company?
Driver turnover and retention in the trucking industry seems to be at an all-time high. The myth: Training more truckers will solve the driver shortage problem.
Putting more unsuspecting, newly trained truckers on the road won’t solve the retention problem. If any other industry had annual employee turnover exceeding 100%, industry leaders would demand major changes.
The fabrication: Some industry organizations and large carriers are perpetuating the myth that there’s a shortage of qualified, trained truckers.
In any retail store or car dealership, employees are the major point of contact for the customers who come in to purchase items. They’re the folks who spend the greatest amount of time with the customer, thus having the greatest influence on any consumer’s experience with that business.
With the tremendous focus the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has put on fatigue, sleep deprivation, and sleep apnea involving truckers, certain questions arise. Add in the creation of rules and regulations to address these issues and it’s likely that if you weren’t sleep-deprived before, you are now. What about the rest and sleep habits of owners, managers, dispatchers, and the rest of your office staff? Are you addressing what the lack of sleep among these employees might be doing to your productivity and how they manage your truckers?
What’s the difference between a ‘rut’ and a ‘groove’ when it comes to trucking? Being in a ‘rut’ would indicate stagnation. In other words, you’re spinning your wheels, causing your trucking business to seemingly stay in one place without moving forward. Your business is either barely meeting the goals you’ve set or not meeting the revenue needs required to grow.
Trucking and farming businesses have a lot in common. They’re both risky because they’re affected by weather, fuel costs, and huge maintenance requirements for their equipment. Both have similar objectives. On the farm, the plan is to prepare the ground for planting by tilling and fertilizing, creating a fertile place to plant the seeds. Next comes nurturing and care through proper watering, keeping weeds from infiltrating the planted areas, and keeping insects from eating or destroying the crops.
Did it really pay for itself? As a frugal and wise business owner, this is a question you should not have to ask yourself. Because if all it did was pay for itself, it means you’ve covered expenses, but where’s the profit? Just covering costs only keeps you mired in the mud and doesn’t let you set up your future sustainability and growth.
With all the turmoil in the world, it’s time to have a definitive fuel cost-to-revenue strategy to deal with the day-to-day price volatility in diesel prices. The one thing that will put a small trucking company out of business quickest is getting behind the fuel eight-ball. You don’t want to be charging hauling rates that are based on last week’s, or even last month’s, price of fuel at the pump.