Tips for Success in Today’s Freight Environment May 2017
This post of The Transportation Scene will look at some ideas to help you find success in today’s Trucking environment. Our industry has become super competitive. These conditions necessitate drivers, owner operators, fleet owners, and Carriers to seek ways to reduce costs and find efficiencies which give them any advantages over others in the industry. This business climate forces the “self-employed” person to become a better business person. Let’s look at some ideas which may help you make more money or feel more sucessful.
Controlling costs. Seems all costs involved in operating your business and lifestyle have been increasing year after year. Unfortunately rates to you and your truck may have been reduced.
Fixed and variable costs such as Insurance, fuel surcharge, tolls, maintenance costs are constantly tugging at your bottom line. You must know actuals costs for each of these items and determine ways to control or decrease the costs involved. Again, you must know and understand the costs before you can effectively manage them. Track expenses and revenue on a spreadsheet or in a ledger and review on a regular basis. Make changes as appropriate. Not all changes will produce desired results but monitoring will allow you to react to what is and is not working quickly.
Stand out from the others. Build a rock-solid reputation. Be accessible and available. Grab attention. Be a positive, confident person, have a great attitude and be a team player. It is not “all about the driver” and it is not “all about the Carrier (trucking company)” – remember it IS all about the customer! Understand failure or a loss is sometimes part of the game. Not every load you do is going to be a “winner”. Master the art of negotiations with dispatch and give and take on any less than preferable loads. Know that at times you may have to “spend money to make money”.
Other ways to stand out from your peers is to get involved. Attend company meetings, attend workshops, participate in webinars, serve on committees or councils within your company, and certainly get involved with industry events and associations. Getting involved will make you more knowledgeable and also keep you current with changes in the industry. Being aware of the changes will allow you to react appropriately and alter your business to use the changes to your advantage before your competitors or peers. You are really investing in yourself when you become involved. You become “known”. Remember to stay involved – it should be an ongoing process.
Posture yourself to the position that dispatch knows who you are, that you do whatever it takes to get the job done and that dispatch knows they can count on you to do the job everytime without fail in the most professional manner. You are the image of the company to the customer.
Be passionate about what you do. Do what you enjoy. Be filled with determination, but know that risks are involved to gain rewards. Many successful business people operate multiple businesses. Some of their businesses may be associated within the same industry, while others are not. If you Expedite and experience periods of sitting and waiting, perhaps you could turn one of your passions or hobbies into a money-making venture which supplements your Expediting income. What if you could design your workspace (truck) for success in two or more businesses that you love doing? You could then use your unproductive “sit and wait for the next Expedite load” time into another business. Think about it – what do you enjoy doing in your spare time? if you enjoy making wood carvings, arts, quilts, model rockets or car bodies, writing books, stock market, book keeping, building websites, watch repair or any other services or small products, you could turn your hobby into money. Things you consider a hobby or passion may be considered “work” to others. You may not make substantial money or success in one business, but the income generated in two businesses combined make help you reach your goals of success.
Success is measured in many ways. Money may be only one measure of success. Happiness and enjoyment – intrinsic benefits – can be just as important. Measure your success by your terms.
Disclaimer: This blog is NOT intended to give legal advice, nor be a substitute for any training required by the Regulations.
Till the next blog, Thank you Transportation Professionals for all you do!. Please be safe!
©John Mueller, CDS, CDT, COSS