9 keys to every successful trucking business
With the distribution of goods at an all time high, running a successful trucking business is no easy feat. While the trucking industry can be lucrative, it requires a careful balance of effective tools and integral skills. Whether you’ve hit a roadblock in your trucking business or are curious about what it takes to avoid potential obstacles, you’re in the right place.
In this blog post, we’ve outlined nine keys to every successful trucking business and how transportation management systems can transform your daily operations. Let’s dive in:
1. Develop a sustainable business plan
Regardless of where you’re currently at in your trucking business, having a well-researched and thoughtfully formulated business plan is a must. Being on the hook for communicating with several shippers, drivers, and brokers requires long-term thinking. When it comes to building your plan, it’s important to outline your goals, formulate a realistic budget and establish a blueprint. Your in-depth detailed plan should cover everything from the services you offer to a marketing strategy.
2. Know the legal rules and regulations
Understanding the legal requirements and commercial logistics for operating is a must. For starters, obtaining the authority to operate is done so with a Motor Carrier number, which varies based on the types of cargo being transported. Some carriers are even exempt from operating authority, while others require an International Fuel Tax Agreement sticker. Regardless of where and how you operate, an Employment Identification Number is needed for any business entity. And if find it challenging to know whether you’ve got all your paperwork filed correctly, you may want to consider bringing a process agent on board.
Other requirements to consider include:
· FMCSA-compliant logging device for vehicles
· Standard Carrier Alpha Code
3. Embrace technology
It’s hard to deny the massive impact technology is making on the trucking industry. From
Electronic Logging Devices to Transportation Management Software, there is no shortage of tools for tech-savvy business owners to utilize when tackling the daily responsibilities of running a trucking business. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, ELDs will result in 1,844 fewer crashes per year, increasing safety and efficiency across the country. As for implementing a TMS system, the ability to automate your operations will not only help you store data and track shipments, but also keep all logistics organized and ultimately result in cost savings for your business.
4. Build a reputable company culture
While creating a solid foundation for your trucking business starts with a strong plan and innovative tech, company culture is also at the forefront. From improving performance to retaining your top talent, the essence of your company matters and is what will set you apart from competitors. A positive reputation can also attract new clients and customers through referrals, similar to drivers exchanging their best back-end routes to get to destinations quicker.
5. Invest in experienced drivers
While there might be ways to creatively cut costs within a trucking business, the drivers you choose to hire shouldn’t be one of them. Ensuring your loads get safely from point A to point B within a set time frame is the main responsibility of any trucking business. To put it simply: drivers are the backbone. When hiring, create a checklist of qualities including being safety-conscious, professional, reliable, and experienced. It’s important to also check their driving record, commercial driver’s license and what field they have experience in. Though this might be a bigger financial commitment upfront, it can save time, hassle, hiccups and even money in the long run. Don’t forget that every driver has to complete a pre-trip truck inspection before smooth sailing to the delivery destination.
6. Encourage continuous development and training
In an industry that is constantly evolving, ensuring you and your team are up to date with the newest rules, technology and safety measures will give you a competitive advantage while supporting your company culture. Funding staff development and training (whether it’s monthly or annually) will strengthen your team’s skills and often increase job satisfaction.
7. Manage your finances
The world of financial management and taxes might not sound appealing, but it’s a crucial part of running a successful business. If you’re already knee-deep in your business, then you likely have a business bank account by now. Aside from that, an accounting software will take the stress out juggling numbers and decision-making. Keeping your finances in check, from insurance costs to payroll, has other benefits too, like simplifying access to funding, increased performance and long-term stability.
8. Maintain strong relationships
The process of building relationships with brokers and shippers is like fueling up your trucks for a long journey. Without it, you’re likely to run low mid-haul, with no choice but to call for backup. Through exceptional customer service and transparent communication, you can establish trust with your business partners and be well-equipped for the road ahead. Showcasing the reliability of your trucking business might also give you the opportunity to secure better contract rates and land reoccurring deals.
9. Stay on top of industry trends
Though regular employee training is encouraged, going the extra mile will make a larger impact. Consider attending industry-related conferences or trade shows, implementing on-site progress checks with clients and distributing trucking publications to your team. To achieve sustainable success in this industry, staying ahead of the curve and adapting is a must.
The bottom line
Streamlining and automating operations, along with the other keys we shared, is an important aspect of running a thriving trucking business. Want to learn more about implementing a Transportation Management System? Book a demo below with one of our Rose Rocket logistics experts – as the #1 Rated TMS, we’d be happy to help guide you through this process