14 Ways to Save Money as a Truck Driver

How to save money as a truck driver

Being a truck driver is hard, but being a broke truck driver is even harder. One thing that doesn’t have to be difficult is saving money. Follow these 14 simple money saving tips for truckers if you’re trying to lower your trucking expenses and keep more of your hard-earned cash in your bank account.

How to Cut Truck Driving Costs

1. Make a budget and stick to it

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s on the top of the list for a reason. Creating a trucking budget is your biggest asset when it comes to saving money on the road. It does take some work to get your budget started – estimating how much money you are going to spend monthly, weekly, etc. is harder than it sounds. But once that step is done, you’re in the clear. Just log how much money you spent out of your allotted budget each time you purchase something.

Let’s use food for an example. Say you decide you’re going to give yourself a $150 budget for fast food per month. You log when you spend money eating at drive-throughs and check it weekly. Halfway through the month, you notice you spent over half of your fast food allotment. From there, you decide to start planning on cooking meals in your truck so you don’t go over your budget.

Not physically seeing where you spend your money makes it more difficult to keep track of how you’re spending it. By keeping a budget, you can easily lower your trucking expenses. If you want to start budgeting, but don’t know where to start, check out this pre-created income and expense worksheet or this make-your-own-budget website.

2. Take advantage of gas stations

Gas stations are a haven of resources for truckers. Lower your trucking expenses by taking advantage of everything they have to offer. Take a shower, fill up your water bottle, indulge in an inexpensive cup of joe. If they have a lounge, connect to their free WIFI and give your family a call. Check your emails and revisit your trucking budget.

If you are at a rest stop or station that offers a fitness station, work out a bit. Do your laundry if there is a laundromat. There are tons of novelty rest stops across the United States that offer unique entertainment and amenities, so don’t be afraid to scope them out!

3. Limit spending on food

Buying and preparing your own meals is the number one way to save money as a truck driver. Think about it this way — An average meal at a fast food chain restaurant is between $5 and $7. If you eat out twice a day for a week, you’ve already spent close to $100. Do that for a year and it’ll cost you anywhere between $3,000 and $5,000. That’s a hefty chunk of change.

Eating at fast food chains and restaurants may seem like a necessary evil when driving cross country, but they aren’t. Truckers can easily save money on the road by investing in ways to make their own meals.  According to AOL Finance the average cost per meal if you make it yourself is significantly lower at $1.50 to $3. Invest in a trucking-specific microwave, crockpot or refrigerator and watch the savings add up.

4. Avoid breakdowns and expensive repairs

Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance! Caring is repairing when it comes to taking care of your truck. Make sure it is in tip-top shape every time you make a drive. Take time at stops to inspect the source of any weird sounds or troublesome rattles. Oftentimes, a minor issue is the cause of a huge problem, so find and fix as much as you can. Doing so will save you thousands of dollars.

You want to be saving money on the road, not breaking down on the side of it. If you run across an issue you don’t know how to repair, just ask another trucker. They’ve most likely experienced it and know a quick fix. Worst case scenario, consult YouTube. It might not be as reliable as another driver, but it will keep your truck running until you can get it back to the shop.

5. Ask about and use CDL discounts

You already have your CDL, why not put it to work for you? There are hundreds of places that will give you a CDL discount if you ask. Hotels are known for giving out discounts for truckers, but there are tons of other places that do as well.

Insurance companies often have special rates or plans specifically for CDL drivers. Some places require the driver to know a certain code or have a specific document, so ask your fellow drivers in-person on online on a trucking forum.

6. Avoid getting tickets

Tickets can add an unexpended expense to your route, so avoid getting them at all costs. Most, if not all, tickets come with an attached fine. The price of said fine depends on what you’re getting ticketed for and what state you’re in.

Getting ticketed for a serious offense like driving under the influence or leaving the scene of an accident can result in the automatic loss of your CDL. Receiving several tickets in a short amount of time can also result in a suspension of your CDL. For specific information, check your CDL handbook. The standards for driving a commercial driver are higher than regular drivers – be extremely cautious on the road. You can’t save money as a truck driver if you’re not allowed to drive!

factor freight bills

7. Use WIFI as much as possible

WIFI is a trucker’s best friend. Many drivers are turning away from CB radio and instead turning to their phone and computer for interaction while on long hauls. Texting and calling are normally free with most cell phone plans, but internet data is something you’re going to have to pay extra for. Unless you have unlimited data, going over your internet limit means serious fees for most providers.

Save money on the road by making sure your phone is using free WIFI as much as possible. WIFI is offered pretty much everywhere you go at this point, so it shouldn’t be hard to find. Some places offer internet but have it password protected. Don’t be afraid to ask for the password – the worst thing that could happen is you get told you can’t have access. With WIFI, you can browse the net or video call your family as much as possible without breaking the bank!

8. Use your phone to pay bills

If you’re a long-haul trucker, you may not be at home for weeks at a time. If you’re getting your bills sent to you house and aren’t there to pay them, you’re going to rack up some serious late fees. Setting up automatic bill pay or electronic bill pay is a great way to make sure you pay on time.

Most companies offer automatic or electronic bill pay when you sign up. If you’re a long-time customer, you can easily switch your billing preferences in-person, online or over the phone. It’s a five-minute process that’s guaranteed to help you lower your trucking expenses by eliminating accidental fees.

9. Exercise (safely)

A great way for truck drivers to save money is by exercising. According to the New York Times, 86 percent of all truck drivers are overweight. In 2008, $149 billion dollars was spent treating obesity-related healthcare problems.  Fighting obesity by staying healthy on the road will save you an unbelievable amount of money in prescriptions and medical bills.

It’s not difficult to up your activity level, but it does take a continued effort. If you don’t have any workout ideas for yourself, check out YouTube. Drivers are constantly sharing trucking-specific workouts that don’t require a lot of equipment. Start out slow and work your way from there. Exercising is important to staying healthy, but if it is done incorrectly, you can risk a trip to the hospital.

10. Use cruise control

Gas is a huge expense for truck drivers – save it by using cruise control whenever possible. Using cruise control keeps your truck moving at a steady speed, therefore eliminating the need to constantly speed up or slow down to stay within the limit. Each time you adjust your speed manually, your truck has to work. Especially when it comes to slowing down. It takes a decent amount of gas to get a multi-thousand-pound hunk of steel moving after it has been brought to a stop.

It also prevents you from accidentally going too fast, which is the biggest waste of fuel. Going too fast could also mean a ticket, which means a fee and possibly the loss of your CDL. Use cruise control and watch how much less you need to stop for a fuel up.

11. Pay your insurance as a lump sum

When purchasing insurance, opt to pay for it yearly (or in full). It might be a commitment, but it will save you a hefty chunk of change. If you choose to pay your insurance quarterly or monthly, you will have to pay a familiar annual percentage rate, or APR.

Let’s say insurance for your truck is $5,000 per year if you pay in full, $2,750 if you pay it quarterly and $500 if you pay it monthly. You’d be paying $500 more for the quarterly plan and $1,000 more if you chose to pay monthly. See why paying in full is important to saving money as a truck driver?

12. Do your taxes properly

Another tip for truck drivers looking to save money – make sure your taxes are done correctly, especially if you are an owner-operator. Keep your receipts so you can claim certain deductibles, such as supplies, meals and lodging.

If you think you can handle tax duty on your own, download tax preparation software and have at it. If you’re not, consider hiring a professional. They pretty much pay for themselves in this industry.

13. Use your own containers

Here’s a great tip to save money – use your own containers. Purchase a large reusable water bottle or coffee canister online or get one from your local gas station. Some places offer a discount on drinks if you bring your own cup, so take advantage of that if it is an option! Bring plastic containers with lids so you can save all your leftovers from cooking in your truck.

An added way to save money on the road – bring your own chips and snacks in resealable bags.  Most areas have a bulk grocery store where you can buy snacks in extra-large servings. Take them back to your truck and place them in resealable bags or containers to keep them fresh. After you eat one bag’s worth, wash it out and use it to store something else. It reduces your waste and prevents you from buying snacks at every stop.

14. Factor your invoices

If you find yourself in a position where you need money for expenses but don’t get paid until you drop off your load, consider factoring your freight bills. By doing so, you’ll get paid in as little as 24 hours and won’t have to take out a loan. The money you receive from factoring can cover expenses, such as meals, and anything else you encounter on your trucking journey. Most factoring programs can offer fuel cards as well, which is a cost-effective way to fill up your tank.

All you need to do is decide what factoring company is best for you and your situation, give them a call or fill out a form and watch the money be deposited into your account. We can help you get started.

Can You Believe It? The Most Surprising Facts About Semi Trucks

They’re everywhere you look on the highway, you can’t miss ’em, right? People know what semis look like, but you might not believe what they’re capable of, where they came from, or what they can do.

If you’re a truck driver, you obviously know how to operate a truck, and you can probably do it pretty well. But, do you know everything about the 18-wheeler you’re driving? Check out these interesting facts about semis that might shock you.

10 Most Interesting Facts About Semis

1. It all started in 1898.

The first semi truck was invented in 1898 and was manufactured the following year. In Cleveland, Ohio, Alexander Winton was a “horseless carriage” manufacturer (to us, that’s making cars) and when his business sold their first carriages, they wanted a more efficient delivery method to get them to their customers.

So all the auto-haulers out there, your semi-trucks are the originals.

2. Only 80,000 pounds?

The maximum weight an 18-wheeler can hold is 80,000 pounds. To put this crazy fact about semis into perspective for you, that’s about 23 small-sized cars, or roughly 450 people.

3. Watch them on the big screen.

There was a period of time in America where semi-trucks were popular in movies. In the 1970s particularly, Smokey and the Bandit, Duel, White Line Fever and Convoy were all released.

Convoy was arguably the most popular and it was based on a song that has made it onto Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Country Songs of All Time.

4. They can have up to 18 gears.

Just like the number of wheels, semitrucks can have up to 18 gears! This is an especially shocking fact about semis for non-truck drivers who rarely even operate a manual car with just four gears.

Not only do truck drivers have 80,000 pounds to maneuver, they potentially have 18 gears to get through.

5. Part of that 80,000 pounds is liquid…

The tank of a semi-truck itself can hold between 100 to 400 gallons of fuel. An even more interesting fact about semis is that the fuel tankers that actually take the gas to a gas station are holding about 9,000 gallons!

6. …because semi-trucks are thirsty.

Most get about 5 to 6.5 gallons of fuel per mile. No, they’re not the most fuel efficient vehicles, but refer to #4 to see what they have to do. You’d be thirsty too.

save time and money

7. If it’s so massive, why is it a “semi”?

The actual part of the semi-truck that is thought of as the “semi” isn’t a truck at all, it’s basically just a huge box full of stuff if you think about it. So, that part, plus the part the driver sits in and steers the vehicle with (the “truck”) equals a semi-truck.

This isn’t the craziest fact about semis on our list, but if anyone asks you why, at least you’ll know the answer!

8. It’s not a popularity contest.

If you were wondering who would be the most popular if it was… As of 2017, the most popular Class 8 truck manufacturer in the United States is Freightliner, with over 37% of the market share.

Coming in second is Peterbilt with 15.9%, followed by Kenworth (12.5%), International (10.9%), Volvo (10.5%), with a few others sharing the rest.

9. Why diesel?

For a vehicle this large, diesel is actually more efficient to ensure that the engine has enough energy to function properly. Engines that run on diesel have a longer life expectancy than engines that run on gasoline, and with the sheer size, amount of miles put into operating, and price of an engine in a semi, those things should be kept in good shape for as long as possible.

10. They’re expensive.

This one doesn’t change, a definite fact about semis is that they’re pretty pricey vehicles. A brand new semi can range anywhere in price from $120 to $200,000 per truck.

You can get a used one for a lot cheaper, but check out our guide to purchasing a used truck before you do.

If you’re in the trucking business and could use some cash for a new truck or simply want more flexibility with you cash flow, you should be factoring your freight bills. With no minimums, high advances, flat fees and fast funding, how could it get any easier? Contact us to get started with a free quote.

 

APU Weight Exemption Guide

APU Weight Exemptions by State

APUs (Auxiliary Power Units) make it possible for truck drivers to remain comfortable while their parked and reduce fuel usage. For example, APUs can be used to power heat and A/C, a mini refrigerator, a television, hot plate or coffee maker.

It’s helpful for truckers because they can still be comfortable while parked, but APUs weigh hundreds of pounds. This makes it difficult for drivers to use them, especially if they’re close to the maximum weight limit.

Laws regulating the weight of trucks can be confusing and they change frequently. It’s important for truckers to understand APU Weight Exemptions in each state to ensure law compliance, while staying comfortable.

Track Your Truck created this helpful table to allow truck drivers to easily understand how much weight is exempt throughout the United States.

APU Exemption Guide

While APU weight exemptions can be confusing, but truck factoring shouldn’t be. Learn more about freight factoring or get started with a free quote to get the best rate with the lowest fees.

Pros and Cons of Leasing a Semi-Truck

Are you in the transportation industry and thinking about leasing a commercial truck instead of buying one? Weigh the pros and cons of leasing instead of buying before you decide what is right for you, personally. This guide to leasing a semi truck will be dependent on your personal financial situation, your future plans as a trucker and many other variables, but the general pros and cons are definitely worth considering before making your final decision.

“Should I Lease a Truck?” – The Pros

Pro: Lower upfront cost

Obviously buying a truck is expensive, but if you lease you might be able to put little to no money down. This means you could have your truck sooner than having to save your money for months or trying to qualify for a loan. If you have less than perfect credit, you might not even be able to get a loan at all, so leasing can be a better option.

Pro: Shorter commitment

If you decide to lease your semi truck, it’s far less of a commitment than purchasing a truck. If you’re new to the trucking industry, it might be a better option to lease in case you end up wanting to switch career paths. If you purchase, you have to go through the challenge of selling a truck rather than just terminating your lease if you decide that trucking isn’t for you.

Pro: Less risky

Leasing a semi truck instead of buying your own is financially less of a risk. You’ll know the set amount every month you’re expected to pay when you lease and it offers you more flexibility in years to come rather than purchasing and owning a truck. If you’re slightly unsure about owning your own truck, leasing might be right for you.

Pro: Less maintenance

If you decide to lease a truck, it might be newer than the truck you would be able to afford if you purchased your own, so there should be fewer and less frequent payments for maintenance purposes with a leased commercial vehicle.

Pro: Can upgrade easily

Who doesn’t want the latest and greatest technology? If you lease your commercial vehicle, you’ll be able to upgrade your truck to include features you might not be able to implement into your truck if you own one.

“Why Shouldn’t I Lease a Truck?” – The Cons

Con: It’s technically not yours

Remember how much you loved your first car, even if it was embarrassingly old or ugly? Some drivers love their trucks just as much as they love their pets, kids or spouse (maybe even more!). If you purchase your own, you might not be able to upgrade the technological features as often, but it’s yours to make your own. You can’t really modify a leased truck like you could if it were your own.

Con: You might end up paying more 

Although the amount you need initially to purchase a truck is a lot upfront, if you don’t end up buying a truck at the end of your lease, it might end up costing you more than it would have if you just bought one from the start.

Con: Lease agreements can be tricky

If you lease your semi truck, make sure you carefully read and examine the lease agreement before you sign. If you lease from the company you work for (if you aren’t an owner-operator), you might not be eligible for health benefits. They might even deduct the cost of the leased truck right from your paycheck, which isn’t necessarily horrible as long as you know what you’re getting yourself into.

In addition, some contracts will make you set aside specific amounts of money for different types of repairs, but the money set aside might not even be used for those repairs. As Truckers Report explains it, “If your tire escrow account has $1,000 in it, but the carrier requires a tire repair expense to be at least $500 before you can tap into it, you will be forced to pay most tire-related expenses yourself.” This might be frustrating if the situation arises.

So, should you buy or lease?

One of the biggest factors to consider when deciding whether you should be buying or leasing a semi truck deals solely with your financial status. Learn more about how freight factoring can help you get the funding you need to buy or lease a truck. Contact us today to start factoring your freight bills and to make sure you’re getting the best rate in the trucking and transportation industry.

What Would Happen If Trucks Stopped

Why are truckers so important?

Trucking is the beating heart of the U.S. economy. Truck drivers deliver 10 billion tons of every commodity consumed and transport over 671 billion dollars’ worth of goods every year. In fact, 70 percent of all freight moved in the U.S. ranging from the food industry to healthcare is done by trucks.

Many people may not think twice about a truck passing them on the highway, but that truck could be delivering essential medical supplies to save someone’s life. If trucks stopped, the economy and life as we know it would fall apart.

If this were to happen, Americans would be in life-threatening situations from major delivery shortages in no time. Due to their time-sensitivity, there are seven industries that would suffer immediately if trucks stopped moving. These industries include food, healthcare, transportation, retail, manufacturing, waste removal, and banking.

With increasing truck driver shortages, you can only be left to wonder what would happen without truckers? That’s why we compiled an exact timeline of events if trucks stopped today.

One Month without Trucks

Within the first 12 hours

  • Fuel becomes scarce
  • Manufacturing delays an product component shortages
  • Hospitals and nursing homes begin to run out of food and medical supplies
  • U.S. mail and other package delivery services come to a halt

Within 1 day

  • Fuel availability will decrease, which leads to skyrocketing prices and long lines at the gas station
  • Manufacturing comes to a halt and thousands are out of work
  • Food shortages start to develop

Within 2 to 3 days

  • Gas stations are completely out of fuel
  • Without fuel, police, fire, rescue, and other public service vehicles are unable to perform duties, which further endangers public safety
  • Container ships and rail transport is disrupted and comes to a standstill
  • Food shortages escalate, leading to consumer panic and hoarding
  • Essential supplies – such as bottled water, canned meat, and powdered milk – will disappear at major retailers
  • Garbage starts to pile up, which creates breeding grounds for insects and bacteria
  • Medical waste and hazardous material start to release toxins and infectious diseases into living environments
  • ATMs run out of cash and banks are unable to process transactions

Within a week of trucks no longer operating

  • Automobile travel will come to a full halt
  • Hospitals start to lack oxygen supplies

Within 2 weeks

  • Sources of clean water run dry

Within 4 weeks

  • The clean water supply is exhausted and water will only be safe for consumption after boiling
  • The number of gastrointestinal illnesses increases due to lack of clean water, which further exhausts the already weakened health care system

However scary it may sound, this timeline of a world without trucks only shows the direct effects of a freeze in the trucking industry. Secondary effects of a trucker shutdown can also be taken into consideration, such as reduced law enforcement, increased crime, inability to use telecommunications, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and civil unrest.

When trucks stop running, it will only be a matter of time before all our nation’s regular functions stop, which would trigger a series of events that will change the way we live.

Hopefully, this timeline gives you some newfound appreciation for truck drivers. The country truly wouldn’t be the same without their dedicated efforts. If you’re a truck driver, you should pat yourself on the back. You provide a very important service to this country.

Since we know the consequences would be great if trucks stopped, make sure that you keep yours on the road. Thankfully, freight factoring is a straightforward way for truck drivers to get paid sooner. Give us a call today to boost your cash flow, in order to keep performing your important work. After all, when trucks stop, America stops.

How to Battle Homesickness on the Road

Dealing with homesickness as a truck driver

A truck driver’s life sounds like a country song: open roads, working hard, deadlines to meet, lone soul getting it done. The reality is that while trucking is a great career, it often comes with long days away from home.

Even the most seasoned truck driver will feel pangs of homesickness from time to time. How do you cope with missing home when your job is, by definition, away from home?

Homesickness for truck drivers can present itself in many forms, such as being irritable, anxious, tense, or just constantly thinking about home. Whereas these feelings may just be an annoyance to other professionals, they can present a serious risk to a truck driver’s quality of work. Any type of distraction can impact the overall experience very easily and significantly in a job that requires vigilance, long hours, and technical precision. Consequently, attending to your wandering mind is in your best interest as well as those around you. Don’t become a distracted driver!

Trucking should be a career you enjoy, so hopefully our 10 tips will help you deal with homesickness on the road.

10 Tips for Truck Drivers who are Homesick

1. Take your feelings seriously

Downplaying your homesickness is just as ineffective as ignoring it all together. Without proper attention, these feelings could linger around for days instead of hours. It may feel silly to acknowledge that you’re homesick when you’re trying to focus on work, but remember that many truckers have to cope with homesickness.

Humans are naturally drawn to routine and breaking from that can be stressful. Truck driving, by nature, is breaking from routine and overcoming that is impressive, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran.

2. Skype and call daily

Call your family or friends daily and ask them how their day is going. When possible, hit the free Wi-Fi spots on the road, so you’re not only talking but also seeing each other. Try to make these daily calls a family thing, for instance by reading stories to your children over Skype. If you each have the same books, you can even read together. Nothing beats homesickness for truck drivers than a little bit of quality time with your family.

3. Send pictures to family and friends

If you or your family can’t schedule a time to call, keep in touch by sending each other pictures throughout the day. It will make you feel like you’re right there even when you’re miles apart.

4. Send postcards to your kids from different states

Children hardly ever get mail with their name on it. Fighting homesickness becomes easier by imagining their faces light up when they get a postcard from their mom or dad from a totally different state! Moreover, this is a great learning tool to teach your children all the states and capitals.

5. Carry pictures of your family in the truck

Not only can you show off to other truck drivers with photos of your beautiful family, but looking at these pictures from time to time while driving will also put you in a better mood. It’s a good reminder of who you’re doing this work for and that every mile driven is one closer to them.

6. Make your cab feel like home

Because you’re spending a lot of time in the cab of your truck, try to make it as cozy as possible. A nice mattress and bedding already goes a long way. Fight homesickness by bringing your favorite pillow or blanket that smells like home or your spouse. Additionally, these items will give you a good night’s sleep, which will make you feel a lot better the next day.

You can also make your cab more fun by hanging up some curtains and placing a few posters of your favorite movies or sports team. You can also bring a coffee pot or crockpot to brew coffee or cook meals.

7. Be kind to your body

Feeling great physically can help fend off even the worst pangs of homesickness, whereas feeling sluggish or sick can magnify them exponentially. Drink water, eat balanced meals, snack when you’re feeling lightheaded, and sleep as much as possible. Don’t skip meals, but try to avoid the cheeseburger and fries at fast food restaurants.

Furthermore, physical activity releases endorphins, which helps improve your mood and release negative emotions. It may be challenging to find time to work out on the road, so stop at rest areas when possible and stretch your legs by walking for 15 minutes or so. Stay healthy for your wellbeing and to help overcome your homesickness!

8. Get a hobby

Take your mind off missing home by listening to a fun podcast or watching the newest movies and shows on Netflix. You can even channel the secret bookworm hiding inside of you by picking up a book.

9. Bring someone along

Homesickness for truck drivers is made worse by the long hours spent alone. Thankfully, some trucking companies allow for drivers to bring their significant others, close friend or even pet. A little one on one quality time with a person you care about works wonders for your relationship and homesickness.

10. Talk to other truck drivers at stops

You’re all in the same boat, so why not talk to the other truckers at the stops or even reach out over the CB for a quick chat with fellow drivers. A work family can be almost as great as your family waiting at home.

The independence and open road are major rewards that come with the trucking profession. There is good reason for why truckers are so proud of what they do. It may be impossible to never feel homesick, but hopefully these tips can make it a little easier.

While there are many challenges to working in the trucking industry, finances should not be one of them. Thankfully, freight factoring is a straightforward way to boost your cash flow. Let us take a load of your shoulders, so you can focus hauling your loads.

How to Become A Hot Shot Truck Driver

hot shot driver driving his truck

Becoming a hot shot truck driver has plenty of benefits for truckers; the main one being that you are your own boss. If you’re considering becoming a hot shot driver, the process is similar to going into business with a Class 8. The difference? Since hot shot trucking often involves only one destination and can be on a tight time schedule, companies will hire contract drivers to complete one run at a time. Hot shot loads are usually expedited in a flatbed truck so load is usually industrial material. Most of the time, the work is local or regional so if you’re looking for a type of trucking where you get to spend a lot of time at home, this may be the right choice for you. Your hot shot income should look similar to a Class 8 trucker’s wage.

Steps to Becoming a Hot Shot Driver:

  1. Apply for USDOT and MC Numbers

Your DOT number serves as a unique identifier for your company when dealing with safety reports, crash investigations, inspections, reviews and audit. To apply for a USDOT number, visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website.

The process of getting your DOT number from the FMCSA differs for first time applicants and applicants who have already registered for a USDOT number, or looking for additional authorities. Read through the FMCSA steps to ensure you’re filling out the right application.

In addition to a DOT number, if you’re planning on crossing state lines you’ll need an MC number as well. You can apply for your operating authority, also known as your MC number, here. There are some filing fees, so you’ll want to be aware of those before you start the process.

  1. Purchase Insurance

Arguably the biggest initial cost when starting your hot shot business is buying at least $750,000 worth of liability insurance coverage. According to Overdrive, you’re out of pocket costs are estimated to be around $5,500 for the liability insurance.

To receive the proper amount of coverage, you’ll also need your DOT number, a membership in a drug and alcohol testing group, required driver qualification filings and observance of the hours of service regulations.

  1. Purchase Equipment

The equipment costs for hot shot businesses are far less than those of a Class 8 trucking business. The two main purchases include a truck, usually a pickup, and a flatbed trailer. There may be other small pieces of equipment needed such as bungee cords, chains and anything else you need to secure your load down.

The type of truck you buy is up to you. Most drivers start with a Ford F450 or F550 or a similar model from a different automaker, like Chevy. Smaller trucks such as a F250 or F350 would also work, but the wear and tear on your truck would obviously be greater because lighter duty trucks are often pushed to the max while carrying hot shot loads.

Carefully weigh your options and budget to decide which type of truck will work best for your business. Depending on what type of truck you purchase, if you add in the cost of supplies and insurance, you may be able to begin hauling hot shot loads for as little as $50,000.

  1. Find Loads

You can use load boards such as DAT TruckersEdge to find hot shot loads to haul. Load boards can help you to develop relationships with customers you often purchase loads from. 123 Loadboard is another solution to finding freight. Many load boards have apps and mobile sites, so you’ll be able to have access to loads 24/7.

Starting your own hot shot trucking business has many benefits. In addition to staying close to home and low equipment costs, hot shot truckers make a better wage than Class 8 truckers and have a lot of independence to create their own schedules and free time. If you need extra cash to fund your startup hot shot business, invoice factoring is a great solution. EZ Freight can help you secure low-cost funding to ensure your company’s success.

 

Ways for Trucking Companies to Reduce Operating Costs

trucking industry

One of the most significant challenges for small trucking companies is keeping up with constant operating expenses. From truck repairs and maintenance to fuel costs, being an owner operator is no easy task. Business owners have to be organized and take budgeting seriously when planning for their financial future. Overspending can be detrimental to trucking companies because you never know when you may need a large amount of money for a major repair. Below are some ways truckers can cut operating expenses to save money for times of difficulty or simply to maintain a strong cashflow.

  1. Maintain a tight budget

Before you can cut costs, you must understand where you’re spending the bulk of your money. Every time you deliver a load or dispatch a truck, you should know how much money you made. Along with your budget, create a profit and loss statement every month to be aware of the profit your trucking business is turning.  By creating a budget and PL statement, you will easily be able to track expenses and make decisions on where you can make changes. For example, if you see that your spending a ton of money on an accountant maybe you could look into accounting software to do your businesses bookkeeping in-house.

  1. Eliminate intangible costs

Intangible costs are those that would not be found in your profit and loss statement. These psychological and physiological costs include poor attitude, poor heath and poor communication. Poor attitude in the workplace can bring the mood down for everyone, not just the person with the bad attitude. Intangible costs such as these should be stopped immediately. Whether you need to have conversations with employees about staying motivated and communicating effectively or if you have to potentially let go of an employee with a poor attitude, it will be best for the future of your trucking business.

  1. Outsource

Focus on your niche and outsource the rest. This will help you stay in control of your business. When trying to do a ton of things at once you’ll become burnt out and lose focus on what you love. For example, if you have a dump truck business stick it to, don’t try to get involved with other types of trucking businesses or if you must, designate someone else to run it.

  1. Perform regular maintenance on your trucks

Upkeep on your trucks can get expensive. It’s a good idea to perform regular maintenance rather than wait until something breaks down. Regular maintenance costs a lot less and is proven to be more effective. If you wait until repairs are absolutely needed, your truck could be out of commission for days or even weeks, which would really affect your cash flow.

Following these tips will help truckers to be financially conscious while running their businesses. Maintaining a budget and keeping track of spending will ensure your businesses success. If you need additional help maintaining a strong cash flow for your trucking business, checkout invoice factoring. Invoice factoring gives you instant cash and allows you to factor loads on your own terms. There are no minimums or long-term contracts. Call us today for your free quote!

Most Expensive Toll Roads in the United States

hot shot driver driving his truck

It’s another day at work and you’re hauling a load down the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Traffic is moving at a steady pace, you’re listening to your favorite trucking podcast and basking in the warm sunlight that’s hitting your windshield. Suddenly, there’s flashing sign, “35 mph. Slow down. TOLL PLAZA AHEAD.” A maze of brake lights flickers in the distance. Expensive toll roads can really ruin the moment, can’t they?

You think to yourself, “Again?! I just paid a toll 15 minutes ago!”

Highway tolls are an expensive nuisance for any owner-operator or truck driver in the United States. But, like fuel, taxes and tires, highway tolls are another unavoidable cost of trucking. Toll charges average around $2500 per year for truckers. Different states have drastically different tolls which may make hauling a load even more expensive for you (or not).

It’s important to have all the toll road information available before you start driving, so you won’t face any unpleasant surprises at toll crossings. Be aware of the costly routes and calculate them into your cost per mile before you hit the road.

Which toll roads can truckers expect to hit their wallet the hardest?

The 11 Most Expensive Toll Roads in America by the Mile

  1. Chesapeake Expressway (Virginia): $1.05
  2. 17-Mile Drive (California): 54.4 cents
  3. Ford Bend Parkway (Houston, Texas): 53.3 cents
  4. Chicago Skyway: 51.2 cents
  5. Delaware Turnpike: 36 cents
  6. E-470 (Denver, Colorado): 33 cents
  7. SR-73 (Orange County, California): 25 cents
  8. Texas State Highway 130: 14.6 cents
  9. Triangle Expressway (Raleigh, North Carolina): 14.5 cents
  10. Florida State Road 417: 14.3 cents
  11. New Jersey Turnpike: 11.4 cents

Can expensive toll roads be avoided? Not always. As a small business owner, you may have to bite the bullet and use the expensive highway routes. Sometimes there is no sensible alternative. Toll costs aren’t the only expense to consider. Forget about the short-term financial gain and think about your operating costs in the long run. When factoring in fuel for alternative routes, truck and tire deteriorations, delays and extra time, sticking with pricey tolls on highways and turnpikes may be the better option.

Your shipping routes may not align with the most expensive highway tolls listed above, but that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. While certain state highway tolls are more expensive per mile, other states hit you with more toll road mileage overall, making it even more expensive for truckers to haul and deliver loads. You’re now aware of expensive tolls in the United States, but what states have the most miles of toll roads? If you’re a long-haul trucker, this list will not surprise you.

The 11 States with the Most Toll Road Mileage

  1. Florida: 657 miles
  2. Oklahoma: 596.7 miles
  3. New York: 574.6 miles
  4. Pennsylvania: 508.2 miles
  5. Ohio: 392.2 miles
  6. New Jersey: 356 miles
  7. Illinois: 282.1 miles
  8. Kentucky: 248.5 miles
  9. Kansas: 236.1 miles
  10. Indiana: 156.8 miles
  11. Texas: 145.6 miles

Truckers passing through these 11 states are out of luck. The bad luck doubles in states such as Florida and Texas, who made our list for the most toll mileage AND house the most expensive toll roads. With so much road wrapped up in tolls, it’s tough to find a reasonable workaround. Then again, do you really want to drive down 1-95 in Miami during rush hour when you could just stick to the turnpike?

Thankfully, not every state charges insane highway tolls. As a matter of fact, almost half of U.S. states don’t include any toll roads in their infrastructure.

States Without Toll Roads

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

Loading...

Loading…

If toll-free driving sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Although these states don’t have any toll roads, roughly half still operate toll bridges, toll tunnels and toll ferries. You may never fully avoid paying highway tolls in America, but we hope our US highway toll overview map helps guide your route planning.

And if you’re not already enrolled in a toll program, Florida’s SunPass or East Coast’s E-Z Pass, you should get on that.

Expensive toll roads, vehicle maintenance, fuel and tire costs are all part of what makes being a trucker a pricey profession. Fortunately, freight factoring helps truckers get paid sooner – within 24 hours of delivery. What’s even better? Factoring companies provide fuel advances (up to 50% of the load amount) to help cover costs before delivery like fuel and road tolls. Factoring helps you get right back on the road, whether it be the most expensive or cheapest one out there.

The Pros and Cons of Dump Truck Driving

pros and cons of dump truck driving

Dump truck driving can be extremely rewarding, but it’s not a job for everyone. If you’re looking into starting a career as a driver or owner operator, make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons of dump truck driving before making a decision. There are several things that make dump truck driving a perfect match for some and a less-than-ideal career for others. If you’re considering entering this career, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a dump truck driver. It’s a great place to start your research!

Advantages to Becoming a Dump Truck Driver

1. Pay Rate

Did we get your attention? Dump truck companies pay drivers on average $15.57 per hour. Certain companies will pay their drivers double the average, hitting about $30 per hour. A dump truck driver’s salary depends on what company they are driving under, if any, their experience and what they are hauling. Drivers are also eligible for company bonuses and incentives due to the high demand of their service. In 2016, the median pay was $41,340. The median salary in the United States was $37,040, suggesting dump truck drivers make an above-average salary.

It’s more difficult to pinpoint the exact salary for being a dump truck owner-operator. Payscale estimates that a dump truck owner-operator can earn anywhere between $40,000 – $197,000. The longer one is a dump truck driver, the more likely one is to make a higher salary. Behind career length, geography is the biggest factor affecting pay. If one owns several trucks, has them working relatively constant jobs and deducts the necessary expenses it takes to run them, the salary range can be easily much higher. However, they are responsible for the care of their trucks. Even if several trucks need maintenance or gas, dump truck factoring can help out by advancing invoices without putting owner/operators into debt.

2. Low Mileage

Unlike other types of truck drivers, a dump truck driver’s routes are mostly local. A lot of jobs that dump truck drivers accept are hauling loads from one place to another within a 20-30 mile radius. Instead of traveling interstate to deliver goods, they’re more likely to travel within a specific county’s boundaries. Not having loads that require multi-day travel allow dump truck drivers to sleep in their own beds and be at home with their families instead of out on the road. That may mean a driver is going to take multiple loads per day every day they work instead of taking one load across the country and back.

3. Opportunity

Opportunity knocks often for dump truck drivers. If you’re a new driver, don’t worry. Companies across the country are searching for potential drivers to train by hauling smaller, heavier loads back and forth to places like construction sites. When you accept the job, you’ll most likely be trained in a classroom and on the job. If you’re willing to learn the job, there are many different companies that will still consider your application.

If you have a few years of experience, there’s even higher demand for drivers like you. Businesses are looking for people with experience that they can trust to haul what they need. Most dump truck jobs require the operator to also inspect certain equipment, clean and maintain the dump truck, or haul waste. If you have experience doing any or all of those things, you’re already ahead of the game.

 

Disadvantages to Becoming a Dump Truck Driver

1. Repetition

If you get bored when you’re required to be repetitive, this job might not be for you. If a driver accepts a certain job that lasts 3 months, they’re most likely going to be driving the exact same route several times a day for those 90 days. Driving locally is a huge perk, but if you’re more concerned with the familiar sites than you are with sleeping close to home, this job is perfect for you. Drivers can avoid complete repetition by switching up their simple routes if at all possible. If not, dump truck drivers get to speak to those they’re hauling for several times a day. Make some friends in your field! If possible, it also helps to take a few breaks and walk around outside of your truck.

2. Seasonal

Work can be seasonal depending on what state you live in. A dump truck driver in Florida is going to experience different weather-related problems than a driver in Alaksa will. If your area has bad winters, you may be out of a job depending on your level of experience. Dump trucks are expensive pieces of equipment, so driving them in less-than-perfect conditions proves more of a risk than anything.

But, if you are a seasoned driver, or want to be eventually, you may be in luck. A dump truck chassis is the base of certain winter service vehicles, so knowing how to operate one in the winter means you have to use an entirely new skill set.  a dump truck chassis is the base of many winter service vehicles, so the ability to operate the truck through all the variables of the job is a valued ability indeed. Since there is a lot of load shifting and the truck is generally pretty heavy, it takes skill to do the precise maneuvers necessary in snow removal.

3. Loneliness

While being lonely is a much bigger problem for long-haul truckers, dump truck driving can still be a relatively isolated job. Working long hours and constantly being inside your truck can be difficult to say the least. To make it a bit easier on yourself, listen to an audiobook or podcast. If music is more your thing, tune into the radio or download your favorite streaming music app to keep you entertained for hours. You can always call a family member or friend if you want to as well. A familiar voice can cure the blues in minutes flat. Regardless of what you do to fight the lonely bug, make sure you’re not driving distracted.

 

 

Truck driving is a tough job and a huge commitment.

But — like any other job — it has its advantages and disadvantages. 

If you decide the pros outweigh the cons, then welcome to the world of dump trucking!

 

 

dump truck driver salary

 

          Share this image on your site!