Many Fleet Solutions Can Provide for 1 Truck or 100
The advent of the Internet, the cloud, and a device that allows us to work in almost any location from the palm of our hand has been life-changing — to say the least. Business is changing as a result and many of us are taking the opportunity to have more control over the way we make a living.
With the help of technology, we are taking on projects and opening businesses because we can be confident that software solutions will keep us efficient and in order. Technology can handle the details for businesses and that includes trucking. The trucking industry is experiencing an influx of new startups for those reasons and more, and with more independent contractors, robust fleet solutions that can handle the details will apply to a fleet of one or a hundred.
The business of logistics is used to managing a multitude of operational tasks taking place at the same time in a number of different locations across the nation. They have streamlined the process and developed fleet solutions that aid in organization and execution so that they can be confident in their successes. The details are more important than ever, and smaller companies are following these large-scale models. The requirements can be daunting but the foundation of success comes down to structure, coordination, and knowledge.
A smaller startup relies on that same knowledge to keep it efficient. Researching and comparing prior to making any decision is critical in business today. Decisions such as implementing the best fleet card or the best payment software or even finding the best freight factoring company to help can be pivotal to a small fleet’s success. However, it is the things that they may take for granted that could be a factor in failure. A recent article on TruckerPath.com outlined some of those details as follows:
1. Applying for Trucking Authority – Trucking Company Forms
Paperwork, documentation, and forms. They’re tedious and might seem redundant but are necessary for you to get your trucking company started and earn trucking authority, which will allow you to transport freight as a motor carrier. If you haven’t already been assigned a US DOT number, you will need to register for one before you can apply for trucking authority.
To get a US DOT number you will need to use the new Unified Registration System. Processing can take 20-25 business days according to the FMCSA.
If you already have a US DOT number and wish to apply for operating authority, you can do so by completing this registration form and paying the associated $300 fee.
2. Choosing a Process Agent
You will need to choose a process agent who can represent you regarding court papers, one for each state in which your trucking company operates. A process agent is critical if you ever face a situation in which court papers are served in a state other than the one where your company is registered. The FMCSA has a list of process agents to choose from here. The process agent is responsible for completing Form BOC-3 on behalf of your trucking company.
3. Obtaining Truck Insurance
Once you’ve established your trucking company, you will need to make sure your fleet is properly insured. Trucking companies require liability insurance to cover potential damages or injuries caused by a commercial vehicle. Shop around and get several quotes before deciding which insurance provider is best for your company. Here is a detailed overview of the FMCSA insurance requirements to help get you started.
4. Buying or Leasing a Truck
When starting your trucking company, you can either buy or lease trucks depending on your needs. If you have the working capital upfront to cover the cost and want to operate a small fleet with a few trucks, buying several trucks at once from a dealer might result in a discounted price per vehicle. Multi-vehicle fleet solutions can sometime benefit budgets over time.
You can also look into leasing trucks, which often keeps monthly costs down and may open up a lease-to-own option. However, restrictions usually apply to leasing that can vary by dealer. You will want to take the time to research and compare dealer options and offers before choosing.
Lastly, you also have the option to purchase used trucks, which can save you money upfront but can be costly down the line. A used truck that is a few years old with more than 400,000 miles on it may go for $40,000 to $50,000 less than a new one.
It might be a great deal, but remember: On average, truck repairs cost an estimated $15,000 annually according to the ATRI, and with used trucks, that number can be even higher.
5. Choosing the Right Truck and Trailer Equipment
Choosing the correct equipment to haul truck freight can have a tremendous impact on your trucking company’s earning potential. Although freight rates fluctuate week to week, typically flatbed truckloads pay the highest rate on average. That is not to say that a reefer, van, or step deck load won’t ever pay a better rate. Rather it’s just an overall average to consider before choosing the equipment type for your truck. The best fleet solution could vary depending on location, which is always a factor in determining freight rates.
Looking ahead: Some efficient fleet solutions are also offered online. Once your trucking company is operational, you can find truck freight to haul on free load boards like Truckloads. Customize your truckload searches by deadhead location and the trailer equipment type for you.
6. Registering on the International Registration Plan (IRP)
By registering your vehicle through the IRP in your home state, you will gain permission to haul interstate loads as well as freight through Canada without having to worry about additional registrations. You will be provided an apportioned license plate and cab cards that display all jurisdictions that you cover. The IRP registration fee for your apportioned plate will vary depending on state and vehicle weight, but typically the price ranges from $1,500 - $2,000.
What it all indicates is that whether a fleet is operating with just one truck or a hundred, it must keep current on details that matter in the success of the company, which is why many startups and even larger fleets rely on partners to help keep them efficient. More and more trucking companies are partnering with experts to manage the aspects of business that need the most attention. Companies like WEX and EFS can provide supportive fleet solutions that help to manage the details an owner operator or fleet manager may not be as qualified to handle. Collaboration and cooperation have become guiding principles helping to keep everything buttoned up and trucking companies moving forward.