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Tag Archive for IFTA Reporting

Top Issues for Trucking Industry : Truck Driver Retention and Factoring

Talking to Owner Operators and small fleet owners, I asked the question. What is the most important issue to you in trucking now? The answers were mixed between “Factoring” and truck driver retention. Small fleet owners are worried about keeping the good drivers they have. It cost between recruiting and the process that one goes through as a new hire, the company spends thousands a year. They are getting creative when it comes to keeping good drivers. One said he has a driver living in another state that works their normal routes for several weeks then he gets a load going home. The driver lets him know several weeks in advance of when he wants to be home. They guy is single so it is not very often. If an emergency comes up they work together to get him home. Even as far as allowing the driver to borrow the boss’s personal vehicle to get there. Paid him a small amount for the drive even though it was in his POV (Personal Own Vehicle). Good company owners who want to keep good drivers will do many things to keep them, if not then they lose that driver. Losing a quality affects the bottom line and as many are finding out this can affect the other drivers in a small company also. Drivers in a small company specially when you only have 20 drivers or so, they talk. They talk to one another when things are good and especially when things are bad. Drivers talk can be a motivation killer in a company. That’s why companies are doing more and more to make sure their drivers are happy. There is a balance between happy driver and happy customer. Drivers are finally getting retention pay, for sitting at shippers and receivers to long. It’s used to be a real problem with several receivers in the US. There were and still are some that don’t even want you to ask till after 4 hours of waiting. 4 hours past your appointment time is when you can ask if your trailer is empty yet. They are the ones that have had issues like this for years, and they are the ones that if a driver sees the load is going there, then they want to refuse and get a different one. That’s why companies started paying them for sitting long periods of time. I will say that companies are doing more than ever to keep drivers, if they don’t then they are making less money.

The other issue that was a very big topic, factoring. Years ago no one heard of this, then some smart business people realized they can make money off, the drivers rush to get paid. Now I know there are the times when money is needed quick. The single truck owner operator who just got his new truck, and he does not have much cash to run his business. In this case I understand that quick payment is needed. It is good to have this but it cost.

Some owner operators telling me that they pay between 4.5% to almost 6% of the invoice. As I said to them, over a years’ time you can lose a lot of your money that way. Companies like Comdata and EFS, who provide fuel cards and many other services like log book auditing and fuel tax fillings and factoring. I can see paying someone like that to handle my business as they do things I cannot do. One owner operator telling me he only is charged 3% for factoring, but never gave me the name of the company he uses. Love’s Financial seems to be very popular with a fee of only 4.99%. Many of the owner operators I spoke with use them they also have fuel cards and discounts on fuel and other services they offer. Other companies do advertise lower prices but that’s for companies with more than one truck. If you only have one truck then they all seem to be at or around that 5%. Not all are the same, check them out and always check with the Better Business Bureau, and US Chamber of Commerce. Get credit checks on them if you can, or if you have questions.

I know years ago we never had this, and it does seem to be a service that can help a company especially when first starting up. I know some freight brokers do a fast pay on the loads you haul for them. Again look at the fees that any company charges you, make sure to read the fine lines of any contract you are required to sign and try to find a company that does not require a long term contract. If you can find one that takes care of more than one thing for you. They do the factoring and fuel cards and discount fuel, file IFTA taxes and reports and the little things that can trip up a small company. Sometimes it’s worth paying someone to have your back. Just back sure the cost is more than you feel it is worth. Talk to them and maybe you can get a lower rate after being with them for a length of time.

What Are the Advantages of the Perfect Trucking Software?

Recently, the software companies started to realize the significance of a good software system for the owners, managers and employees at trucking companies. This resulted in various attempts to revolutionize the trucking software world, some of them quite unsuccessful. Currently, there are hundreds of various software packages available to try and buy, and each of them offers particular features to the users. However, our research in the matter discovered that only 4 of the existing web-based software packages offer every possible feature and can be used by more than 1000 employees simultaneously, compared to only 2 installed software packages with the same characteristics. Below you can find all the features these software packages offer and why they are important for your trucking company.

Number of Users

When it comes to selecting trucking software, you will need to know how many people in your company will be using it simultaneously. Make sure to add some extra people to the actual number as business expands and new employees are always an option and you will be in trouble if the number of people in your company becomes more than what the software can support. Currently, the different packs support different number of users: 1; 2-9; 10-49; 50-99; 100-499; 500-999; 1000+. For now, only 6 software packs support 1000+ users.

Deployment

As for deployment of the trucking software system, there are two options – web-based or installed. We prefer and recommend the web-based options as it can be accessed from everywhere and from various devices. If your drivers need to access the software system on the road, they can do so through tablets, smartphones and laptops, or from a computer in a hotel/motel which does not have the software installed. On the other hand, those software packs that require installation will still require Internet access in order to synchronise, but will be accessible only through devices where they have been already installed. It is needless to say that they are highly unlikely to support installations on tablets or mobile devices.

Features

There are various features that the software pack can provide your trucking company with. We will list and explain all of them here so that you can check if the software you are examining supports those you need. As mentioned above, only 6 software packs currently offer all the features that we will mention below and can be used by more than 1000 people simultaneously. 3 more products offer them and support fewer users at a time.

Accounting Management – if you are dealing with accounting on the road, better consider an Internet-based trucking software pack. Whether you choose Internet-based or installed pack, you will certainly need it to have accounting management support. This means that everything regarding your trucking company will be at one place – in the program, so you will not get confused by several accounts, software packages and programs.

Billing & Invoicing – it is good to have this feature in your trucking software management because you will be able to directly send a bill or invoice to the client while you are sending a truck or trucks off. This and the account management system will help you tie everything together and facilitate the management and organization of your company.

Bills of Lading – needless to say, if you have opted in for the above two features, you’d better have software that can issue bills of lading, too. It will contribute to the simplification of the whole process and will save you time and resources.

Client Database – once you have worked with a client, it will be easier for both them and you to save their details in your system. Not every system offers to create a client database, but this is a useful feature and your clients will appreciate not spending time giving you their details again and again. You will also be able to ask your clients if they agree to receive newsletters and other promotions and use the data in the database to distribute them

Dispatch Interface – the dispatch interface is a really important feature and its design is crucial for the smooth work of your trucking company. Imagine dispatch interface where you cannot understand anything at all – this will slow down the whole process of dispatching and create confusion and problems. Always check the dispatch interface when choosing trucking software for your company – it must be easy to use and user-friendly.

Driver Compliance – some of the trucking software packs give you the opportunity to save information regarding your drivers and trucks and when the time for dispatching comes, you can search for a driver who is capable to perform the task directly from the system. Driving hours, tonnage, experience, last long rout etc. can be some of the search options.

Driver Data – this feature will help you manage your drivers and add more exhaustive information about them. You can have a personal file for every driver and update it regularly with their achievements, characteristics, routes, trucks, accomplished tasks etc.

Driver Logs – in the driver logs you can see when the drivers have left or arrived, when are their next routes and other information. Some trucking software packs allow you to customize the logs, others come pre-defined. Check out this feature carefully, because it may turn of much use and provide you with the convenience you need.

Expense Tracking – one of the most important features a trucking software pack can provide you with is expense tracking. This will show you what you pay for and how much exactly you pay and will give you precious insights about how to cut off some unnecessary expenses.

Fuel Optimization – this feature is of much use for the drivers as it will help them manage the levels of fuel and ‘use’ it economically and efficiently. If the fuel optimization feature is working properly, it will help you pay much less for fuel than before.

IFTA Reporting – with this feature you will be able to track the mileage of each driver, monitor the activity of your fleet and calculate the taxes you are currently liable to.

Maintenance Scheduling – maintenance is something you can easily forget when your mind is somewhere else and there is much confusion in the company, but the tracking software packs that support this feature will remind you when it is necessary to perform it. You will get notifications and reminders so that you can make sure everything is in order.

Mapping – with the mapping feature you are practically having a GPS system that will allow you to choose the best possible route for a delivery or task and will give you a lot of options on the road – zooming in maps, showing a lot of details etc.

Mileage Tracking – this feature may be similar to the IFTA Reporting but it may be quite useful if you want to have statistics only for the mileage covered for your drivers. It will precisely and accurately count the miles and give you regular statistics.

Route Optimization – finding a better route will help you deliver faster and use less fuel. This feature is a must for every trucking software pack out there, so make sure you get it when choosing one.

To cut a long story short, there are a lot of features and functions you should require when looking for software for your trucking company. Make sure you choose with attention, because there are really expensive and useless packs and, again, there are a lot of really good trucking software programs that are quite affordable. Good luck!

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