Organizing your back office, finding and booking loads, maintaining your accounting and cash flow, finding the right talent, and getting the right trucks are just a few of the things growing trucking businesses need to manage. Building your own small fleet means being methodical about your growth strategy and having the right people skills to attract and manage great office and trucking staff. Here are some operational and HR tips for growing your fleet:
Find The Right Drivers
When you first start out as an owner-operator, you have your own processes for ensuring efficiency and quality. But, when you find yourself in a position where you have to hire another driver to do as good of a job as you, the task can feel daunting. To help with this hurdle, consider bringing the incumbent into your truck while you’re on the job before you hire them. This not only gives you the opportunity to learn what it would be like to work together, it also allows you to teach and correct any issues the potential driver might have before putting them behind the wheel of one of your valuable trucks.
Sub-Contractor Or Employee
For tax purposes, we recommend you decide ahead of time if the drivers you hire will be independent contractors or employees. Be sure to refer to guidelines set by the IRS and also rely on a good accountant to help you in this process. You’ll also want to think about how you will pay drivers whether it be by mile or percentage of the load.
Buy Or Lease A Truck
Websites like TruckerToTrucker.com and TruckPaper.com list trucks for sale across the country. Both sites provide a good idea of what is currently available in the market, and what the going prices are. Prior to purchasing more trucks, be sure to check that your credit rating is in a good place and that you have the funds for a down payment.
If you choose to lease a truck, just know that it comes at a premium. If you have poor credit, leasing is a definite viable option especially when you’re looking to expand your fleet. As with any contract you sign, be sure to ask the right questions such as:
- What type of lease is it?
- Can you add upgrades to the truck?
- If the business folds, what kind of penalties will you be hit with if you have to abruptly end the lease?
Another option to consider is working with a Factoring company as your business partner. This allows you to focus on managing your carriers and your relationships with your clients while leaving the billing, collections and payment of your carriers to your Factoring partner.
This kind of business partnership provides you with a stable, scalable solution to running your business that doesn’t require you to hire specific, dedicated back office team members. Your bills will always go out on time and a team of collectors ensure that you get paid in a timely manner. Partnering with a Factoring company also allows you to manage your payroll and carrier payout, with options on fuel card savings too.
By choosing the right partner to help with your office operations, you can focus on growing your customer base and your fleet. A recent review of Factoring companies done by Trucker's Report listed Thunder Funding as the number one Factoring company to partner with.
Building a profitable and efficient fleet doesn’t happen overnight. Understand best practices, figure out your finances, learn what it takes to find and retain great staff, or outsource the more complex back office duties to factoring companies that are experts in what they do. You have lots of options. Which one is best for you and your growing fleet?