Whether you plan to be an owner-operator or hire some other employees, deciding to operate a trucking company is a big step, but it can be a rewarding one. This being said, there are steps involved with the process of turning your ideas into a business model that’s right for you. To help point you in the right direction, here are seven steps for a successful trucking company to keep in mind.
1. Effectively Manage Your Time
Getting lost and not being aware of loading/unloading locations are just some of the many things that can eat into your time if you are trying to run a successful trucking business. Plus, you’ll have a bunch of mundane tasks, like keeping track of invoices and fuel expenses, that can take up a lot of your time as well. Therefore, it can be helpful to manage your time better by:
• Making a list of your top priorities
• Using time management apps to track your daily to-do lists
• Communicating better with clients so you’re aware of pick-up and drop-off routines and locations
2. Have the Right Mindset
It’s great to have a “big picture” goals in terms of what you ultimately want to achieve with your trucking company. Still, you’ll be less stressed and more motivated if you get in the mindset of solving one or two problems related to your operations. For instance, you might initially have some trouble planning your trips. So, you would put your time and energy into becoming a more adept trip planner before tackling the next challenge.
3. Don’t Overly Rely on Technology
Be cautious about getting into the habit of assuming technology will always mean 100 percent accuracy. GPS, for example, can get less accurate with each subsequent trip, or it can even provide entirely inaccurate results. In this instance, one solution is to check GPS data with the latest edition of the Trucker’s Road Atlas to make sure routes line up. The last thing you want to do is get a reputation as a trucking company that can’t get from Point A to Point B effectively!
4. Have a Clear Plan for Everything
Not every task involved with a trucking company and related operations will always go according to plan. You’ll be more likely to be successful if you have clear plans and back-up steps in place. For instance, if you or one of your drivers enters a receiving area and nobody is there, you might have a plan that includes:
• Ringing the bell and waiting for a minute or two
• Ringing the bell again
• Using available contact numbers to call on a manager or other authorized individual to open the door if there’s no response from ringing
5. Develop Good Relationships
The key to most successful businesses is the ability to build and sustain mutually beneficial relationships. In the trucking industry, this can involve establishing relationships with clients, dispatchers managing your hauls, local leaders in your industry, and key contacts.
6. Reduce Surprises (as Much as Possible, Anyway)
Knowledge is power! Make an effort to know as much as you can about your clients and specific details like route information, shipper/receiver dock locations, and standard protocols related to your operations. You’re not going to avoid all surprises, but the more prepared you are, the less likely you’ll be caught off guard!
7. Work On Your Communication Skills
Good communication is another key ingredient when it comes to a successful trucking company. This includes proactive communication with drivers and driver leaders (dispatchers) that involves providing details about trip progress and delays. It’s equally important to document communication.
This way, you can refer back to your records when there’s a need for clarity or confirmation of what was communicated. Finally, don’t be afraid to draw on your communication skills to ask for some help as you get started and move forward!
For more information on the trucking industry, contact Pay4Freight for all of your needs.