In the business world time is money or so it is said. If you are wasting time you are wasting productivity therefore you are wasting money. That holds true for many of us in business or not. It’s all around us as well, just watch people as they rush around all day trying to catch up with this or trying to complete that. If you really want to tick them off ask them to complete a task for you by a certain time, and watch the fireworks go. Now some people don’t feel that time management can work for them. The excuses I get are that, “too many outside factors affect my time frame”, or “I am paid to work here for eight hours anyway”. Those situations may be true but that doesn’t mean you can’t be productive within that time frame. The group that probably needs time management the most but refuses to use it is the truck drivers of world. As I speak with owner operators across the country through seminars and workshops I hear the same thing, “Dispatch doesn’t give us the time we need” or “we can’t make any money!” That may be true but are you doing the things that are important for your business to be successful by using time wisely? As an entrepreneur working on and in my business I have to make sure I am working productively to not only grow my business, but completing the projects I receive from my clients. I also have to watch the outside factors don’t eat away my time, so I have to remain very scheduled to be productive. So how do you do that without losing sight of your lifestyle?
If you’re an entrepreneur then the best time management technique that I enjoy is through using colour to manage your time. To learn how to do that read my past article on how to “Colour Manage Your Time” which is posted on my blog. However we are talking about the professional driver here and there is certain situations that you will come across that will affect your time. Those outside forces are necessarily under anyone’s control as they may be weather or traffic related. You also have hours of service which tell you how much work you can put in during the day and so on. But as an owner operator you need to keep your eye on the profit and loss of your business and also future stability of the business through productivity. Many owner operators feel they don’t have to work hard or can schedule time off whenever they want, but that isn’t true as those wheels need to keep moving. So how do you plan for all of the unknown factors that affect your schedule?
The first part is to know your breakeven point for the business on a monthly basis. This will be based on the budget you created when starting your operation as an owner operator. How much work do you need? The next step is to make sure you know how much profit you want to make above your costs, is it 5%, 10%, or 20%. Now break your mileage in to the days you have available to work. So let’s say you need to complete 500 miles per day to create the income you want for your business. Your going to lose a certain amount of time unloading, loading, clearing customs, etc so that needs to be factored in to your calculations. If you are waiting to be unloaded for an hour that should be replacing the income for that driving time being lost. So as you factor in all of those situations you will be evaluating your operation to make sure each day you are making the money you have set out to make. Now let’s assume you are working in Canada and have 13 hours of driving time available to put in the miles. Five hundred miles will take approximately 10 hours of driving time. Factor in your breaks and inspections and you should require around 12 hours a day without any major delays. So set your daily limit at 12 hours and you have a safety net of an hour. Just because you can run 13 hours a day doesn’t mean you should. If you are trip planning effectively and managing your time, while watching your business you will find you are more productive with less time. You can also increase your profits by keeping your finger on the pulse of your business. Manage your time effectively on and off duty and you will succeed at time management. Remember time is money!
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a leadership consultant for the transportation industry and entrpeneurs. To view more information on programs and services available visit http://www.outridge.ca