If you are like most, this time of year is slow for many of us in business except those in financial services or health and wellness. You may even see this in trucking depending on the amount of freight and quality of contracts that companies have on board. As an Owner Operator however it can be frustrating if the miles aren’t there at this time, so how do you keep yourself motivated to keep moving forward. There are a number of ways to work with your business to help make it better for the future.
1) The first thing you should do is evaluate the carrier you’re with to make sure they have enough freight. Don’t just evaluate your findings on one or two periods but look over one to two years and see if they always get slow in certain periods or if they generally have problems getting you miles. If the problem is miles and nothing has changed this year to improve that then you may want to look at another operation.
Look at your own operation are you operating as efficiently as you should be? Could you be managing your business better, increasing your cash flow, or managing expenses better. Many times even little things like improving your bookkeeping and organizing your operation can help you find overlooked items that may be costing you money.
Match your statements from the carrier with those of your business to make sure you have been paid for money and work that has been done. Too many times I have seen owner operators that don’t look or keep track of items on their statements and don’t know if they have been paid for work completed or not. Many times they are leaving money on the table that isn’t being accounted for in their operation.
Evaluate your fuel consumption, get out all your statements from your fuel payments, take out your logbooks and sit down and figure out how many miles you are getting to the gallon with your truck, hopefully you are doing this on an ongoing basis but if not you may find that it is time to upgrade your truck to increase your fuel mileage. One or two cents a mile can be a big increase in revenue for your business.
Increase your time management, look at how many times you have been late, your delivery schedule, are you sitting more than running and so on. Time management is crucial to any operation and that is the same for owner operators. If arriving at a customer late puts you at the bottom of the list for a return load then you may be costing yourself more than your making.
These aren’t all the ways to increase profits in your business but they are areas that cost you much money if not looked over on a regular basis. The smart owner operator is the one that makes money leaving the rest sitting in traffic.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a transportation consultant and author of the book “Running By The Mile” among others. For more information visit outridgeenterprises.ca