Timothy Brady

Standing out from the rest 

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?

Revenue stream 

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 

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.

Sniffing out the unscrupulous 

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.

Avoid the haggle 

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.

The path forward 

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.

One month at a time 

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.

The one-truck advantage 

What’s the biggest challenge facing many single-truck operations? Changing their paradigm from being a trucker to being a trucking company.

The ABCs of trucking 

Just like any other industry, trucking has its own jargon. Do you know these acronyms and terms related to trucking?

Trust dividend 

You can have all the needed capital, the right people, the right customers, and the opportunity to grow; however, if you micromanage your business, all the above will be for naught.  One of the greatest problem areas that prevent most micro-trucking operations from growing to become a small carrier and then on up the line to a larger carrier is the ability of the owner(s) to delegate and let go.

What causes an owner to micromanage his/her operation?

Growing pains 

How do you grow from a one-truck carrier to a two, three, four or more truck operation?  Very carefully.

Ethics lesson 

As we move further into the 21st century, businesses—yes, even those small motor carriers with fewer than 20 vehicles—are becoming more and more entrenched in the global market.  The global supply chain has become increasingly local as raw materials are shipped around the globe only to find their way into finished products.  Through all this movement, small motor carriers are finding that they have become an integral part of the overall global supply chain.

Editing the plan 

Long-term survival in the business world requires the discipline to frequently reinvent your company.  If you don’t adapt to the constantly changing business environment, your business will fall behind that of your  competitors.

Wholesale vs. retail 

In reality, the majority of micro- and small carrier freight is ‘wholesale freight,’ meaning brokered freight.  Is this a good way to do business?

While the objective of any carrier, regardless of size, is to haul loads at the highest rate possible, there are multiple variables when determining the highest rate possible.  Who has the freight? Direct shipper, 3PL, freight broker or another trucking company? 

You would receive a retail hauling rate from the direct shipper; wholesale rates from the other three.

Taxing decision 

By the time you read this, you will have but a short time left before having to file your 2013 Federal income tax return.  While it’s likely too late to change what you’ll pay this time around, start looking to the future now and put a strategy in place to reduce your tax bite in 2014 and beyond.

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