When an emergency situation arises, the news stations cover all the hard-working first responders and others who are tasked with keeping us safe. We have emergency management departments, fire departments, law enforcement, and rescue squads in every county. We have FEMA, the Red Cross and the National Guard. But who is taking care of your business?
With all the changes in trucking regulations and their impact on small and micro-trucking companies, there are many pundits in the industry who are saying owner-operators and micro- and small trucking companies are coming to the end of their days.
Last month, I showcased the first of two small trucking companies that faced similar driver turnover challenges. Although the companies approached the challenges differently, both successfully maintained a turnover of less than 10% for the past four years. Now let’s look at Carrier Two this month.
I’ve recently spoken with the owners of two small motor carriers who have successfully maintained a driver turnover rate of less than 10% for the past four years. What are they doing differently that encourages their drivers to stay with the company? Well, let’s look at each one, as they have different approaches.
It’s been over six years since Jason’s Law was introduced in Congress under H.R. 2156. Finally, it was passed by Congress and signed by the president as part of the MAP-21 transportation legislation in June 2012.
Why speed limiters? I drove several million miles, nearly 25 years, in trucks that could easily have done triple-digits in speed, yet I’ve never had an accident or a ticket on my DMV record.
My position has everything to do with safety. Speed limiters on semis are a major negative safety issue—and here’s why.
If there weren’t other trucking companies and freight brokers competing for their share of the shippers for which you haul freight, would there be any money to be made in that market? So, a medium to high amount of competition is a good thing because it shows active shippers looking for haulers to move their freight. However, that reassurance does not eliminate the sleepless nights spent worrying about finding revenue for the following week.
Is there a strategy to leave your competition in the dust? To make sleepless nights a thing of the past?
One of the most effective means for a small or micro-carrier to be successful is to service a specific type of freight, geographical area, or specialized market that requires unique equipment and handling, especially one in which larger carriers, just by their sheer size, have difficulty servicing.
Going “green” requires finding business practices and activities within your company that can be adjusted to leave a more environmentally savvy footprint. As a small motor carrier, you face the constant challenge of finding and landing quality freight-hauling opportunities. One way to have a leg up on your competition is to be greener than other carriers bidding on the same freight.
Small and micro motor carriers face many challenges. At the top of the list is how to avoid doing business with an unethical and unscrupulous freight broker. Does the broker pay invoices in a timely manner? Does the broker consider the best interest of all the parties involved—shipper, carrier and broker? These are just two of the concerns, but there are steps a trucking company can take to avoid these pitfalls.
One of the many challenges small and micro-carriers face is how to avoid haggling over a rate with a shipper or broker. If you find yourself going back and forth with a customer where price is the only subject of discussion, you’ve resorted to haggling. And when that occurs, inevitably you’ll lose, leaving revenue you need on the negotiation table. In every load negotiation, your objective needs to be selling value to your customer.
We don’t need tolls. What we need is a comprehensive means to maintain our roads and bridges from the collected monies in the Highway Trust Fund (HTF). As vehicles are getting better fuel mileage, the revenue to states to maintain and build roads and bridges has significantly decreased. Without more revenue going into the HTF, the worse road conditions will become.
As we head toward the end of 2014, it’s very important to look at where your trucking company is financially. Has your revenue over the past 11 months increased or decreased? Have you achieved the necessary cash flow to pay business expenses? Do you have any money left to sustain and grow your operation? What do you need to do going forward? Set your annual goals, then your monthly revenue bull’s eye.