You may be an experienced driver with decades behind the wheel and several as a fleet manager, but running your own business is a different ball game. You’re responsible for making sure that your customers are satisfied and your drivers are well-trained and safe while on the road. You also have to focus on your company’s bottom line.
With so much to learn and do, starting a trucking business can be overwhelming if you don’t know what steps to take. Continue reading to get some tips on how to start a successful trucking company.
Some things are better left to the experts.
Trying to handle too much on your own is a recipe for disaster. When you’re starting your company, you’ll need the expertise of business lawyers with experience in the trucking industry to help you understand and comply with regulations. You’ll need accountants to help you manage your payroll, monitor your revenue, pay taxes, and minimize your overhead costs. You may even need to outsource your fleet maintenance needs.
Running a business isn’t a one-man job like driving. You have to be smart enough to know what you don’t know and hire people to cover you in those areas. Whether it means hiring a fleet manager for day-to-day ops, outsourcing your accounting needs, or keeping lawyers on retainer, building a capable, cohesive team is a must.
Be diverse in the goods you transport.
Most businesses, trucking companies included, don’t turn a profit in the first few years nor last beyond that mark. An ideal way to make sure that your trucking company has lasting success is to transport a wide variety of products.
Just like in any other market, the trucking industry is all about supply and demand. With COVID-19 putting extreme stress on medical facilities, voltage trailers and medical equipment are in high demand. In a time when hospitals can’t afford to have power outages or not enough ventilators, transporting these goods could take your company to new heights.
Don’t be shy about optimizing your fleet.
No matter what kind of business you run, it’s important to have a budget and stick within it. However, it’s equally important to make sure that you have equipment that enables you to provide premium-level service.
Your drivers could use every advantage possible to help them drive safely and reach destinations in a timely fashion. Tools like lane-departure assist and dash cams help drivers to avoid collisions and even help you to hold drivers accountable.
Surfsight is a telematics solution that helps with fleet safety and driver accountability. It’s a dashcam with AI that has the ability to detect distracted driving, near misses, and even has a built-in WiFi hotspot. It can collect visual data and report it to a cloud management dashboard.
The key is to smartly use technology to mitigate human error as much as possible. Poorly-equipped truck fleets are one of the leading causes of preventable accidents.
Underpromise and overdeliver.
The reputation your company establishes will be either the wings upon which your business soars or the banana peel on which it slips into oblivion. When marketing your business, you want to make people aware of your business and how great it is, but it’s better to undersell than oversell.
Assess your business and the level of services you’re able to provide impartially, and then promise a little less than that to customers. That’s how you build a reputation for exceeding your customers’ expectations!
Show appreciation to your staff.
One of the most important keys to making sure that your customers are satisfied is to make sure that your employees feel appreciated. The fact of the matter is that happy employees deliver better customer service. Happy drivers are likely to be more attentive and less aggressive on the road.
If your company’s morale is low, then it will show in the service that you provide to your customers. Deliveries will be late and shipments unorganized and in disarray. Your drivers’ lack of confidence in the business will show in their demeanor and the lack of care they show for their work.
When dealing with employees, “gratitude is the best attitude.” Your drivers are the backbone of your business—they know it, and you need to show it.