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6 Steps for Growing Your Trucking Company

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Operating a trucking company can be difficult due to rising operational costs, fluctuating insurance rates, and increased customer demands. However, careful planning and smart financial choices create plenty of opportunities to grow or even expand.

Knowing where to focus your efforts strategically can improve your efficiency and your bottom line to maximize your profitability potential.

Assess the Financial Health of Your Business

Economic instability magnifies the importance of every decision and dollar spent. As an owner-operator, you need to be savvy about allocating your money.

If you don’t already have a comprehensive business plan, now is the time to create one. Your plan should project ahead about 3 to 5 years and include an executive summary and description of the company, as well as detailed plans for operations, services, sales, and marketing. This practice not only gives you a clear idea of where your business is—financially and otherwise— but also helps you make solid plans for the future.

You can gain valuable insight into the financial health of your company by doing the following:

  • Determine your financial health rating (FHR) and core health score (CHS)
  • Analyze your cash flow
  • Review profit and loss statements
  • Track key performance indicators (KPIs)

Another key aspect of growing your business is maintaining a good credit score. 

Your credit score can significantly impact insurance costs and your ability to lease or purchase a reliable truck.

Insurance companies use credit-based scores to predict claim likelihood, leading to higher premiums for poor scores. Late payments, high debt, and credit mistakes can hike premiums at policy renewal time. 

Leverage Technology

There are many tech solutions and digital tools that can take away some of the daily operational stress and streamline your processes. Consider using some of the following solutions to help your business grow: 

  • Electronic logging devices (ELDs). ELDs make it easier to comply with hours of service (HOS) regulations and other federal standards and regulations. They can also streamline administrative tasks like payroll and billing. 
  • Fleet management software. This software can help you manage your vehicles, track cargo, improve communication, and optimize routes for maximum efficiency. 
  • Digital load boards. Load boards provide you with a reliable place to find the right loads for your business and make connections with brokers and shippers. Advanced options, like Truckstop’s Load Alert Notifications, automate the process, making finding loads even easier. You just set up your haul preferences based on route, truck type, and cost per mile, and you’ll be alerted every time your criteria is met through push notifications.

Manage Your Costs

Keeping your costs as low as possible is a key aspect of growing your trucking business. The best place to start? Fuel costs. Simple changes like cutting down on idling time and maintaining appropriate tire pressure are easy ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of every gallon of fuel. You might also consider using fuel cards that provide discounts at the pump and offer loyalty reward points for other purchases.

Negotiating fuel surcharges to help offset fluctuating fuel costs can help you balance the highs and lows. This can significantly boost your bottom line. It also gives you more ability to forecast your cost of doing business. 

Another way to keep operation costs down is tracking and analyzing your cost per mile. Cost per mile is used to determine how much you should be charging for each haul. Not knowing (or having an inaccurate cost per mile) means you could be undercharging for your services and losing out on money that could be used to expand your business. To determine cost per mile, simply divide your total monthly costs (fixed and variable) by the total miles you drive. 

Build a Reliable Network

Diversifying your network and building reliable contacts are key to setting you up for future success. When possible, vary the industries that your customers represent as well. 

Offering competitive rates isn’t the only factor in building long-term relationships. Your service quality is arguably just as important—if not more. Treating every account like they’re your most important customer and going the extra mile is key to fostering relationships and ensuring you’re the first call when they have a new load. 

Maintaining a satisfactory MC rating also gives shippers and brokers confidence that you can be trusted with high-dollar loads, which improves your reputation and business. It’s important to understand how these ratings are established, monitor your rating, and work to improve your score if you have any violations.

Optimize Load Management

The number one way to make sure you’re able to find and manage your loads and network with other professionals is to use a reputable load board like Truckstop. Load boards bring carriers, brokers, and shippers together so they can network with other professionals and find new loads to haul.
The benefits of using a load board include: 

  • Finding higher-paying loads. Higher paying loads help maximize profits, which are essential for company growth. 
  • Avoiding empty miles. With load boards, finding the perfect load for a backhaul is easy, helping you avoid deadhead miles. Consistent backhaul loads mean that you don’t have to lose money hauling an empty trailer. 
  • Networking opportunities. Load boards are a great way to get in contact with well-connected and properly vetted brokers. And the wider your network, the easier it is to find new clients and form partnerships that can help expand your reach and keep your truck on the road. 
  • Maximizing headhauls. Headhauls are high-revenue-earning shipping lanes that are great for your bottom line and overall growth. Load boards make finding headhauls a cinch! 

Enhance Your Online Presence

In an increasingly digital age, having a solid online presence increases your visibility and credibility, which could lead to business opportunities. When establishing your business, it’s important to create a distinct company name that’s both professional and memorable. Choosing a busines name (rather than using your personal name) allows for growth and makes it easier to transfer ownership in the case of a sale or passing to future generations.

A professional, well-designed website allows potential customers to learn about your company and makes them more likely to take advantage of your services. It can also offer contact information, chat functionality, and other features that improve communication with both current and potential customers. 

Active social media accounts give your company even more opportunities for marketing and establishing your brand. On social media, highlight the services your company offers and your industry experience—both of which show your credibility and help attract new customers. 

Keep Learning, Keep Growing

With hard work, focused priorities, and the right tools, you can grow your trucking business in 2024. A concerted and dedicated effort to evaluating and managing finances, adopting tech solutions, maintaining strong client relationships, utilizing load boards, and more can help your growth skyrocket. You may run into roadblocks or challenges, but growth is possible by being adaptable and open to learning and trying new methods!

Truckstop is here to help. Whether it’s through our best-in-the-industry load board, connections with other trucking companies and professionals, or reputable information about all the latest happenings in trucking, we can support your growth.

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