In today’s owner operator jobs, the supply vs. demand curve indicates there are far more goods and services to be transported than there are owner operator truck drivers available to carry it from one destination to another. As an independent owner operator, the opportunity exists for you to leverage productivity and maximize profitability on a daily basis.
Typically, you’ll find most owner operator manuals light in this important area, so this article will serve as an owner operator guide to implement key strategies to improve your compensation and ROI of your investment as a professional independent owner operator.
Charge for round trip miles on every load. Any trucking company or individual owner-operator who isn’t charging round- trip miles on any outbound load is going to leave 50% of its revenue for each job on the table. If a company rented a truck and hired a truck driver, would they not still have fuel and labor expenses on the outbound and return runs? Of course they would.
Bottom Line: If you are not charging your customers for round trip mileage expense, you are doomed to fail.
Keep your trailer fully loaded at all times. Every mile a truck is driven costs money, whether loaded or not. Once a load is delivered, the operating costs for your new load include the number of days and miles required to complete the next load. Load planning, which keeps the truck full with profitable tonnage whenever it is rolling, is the number one reason why some owner operators fail to be consistently profitable. As an owner operator truck driver, you’re about to see why this is a key metric to your profitability model. Load planning applies to both single or multiple sem truck operations. Effective Load planning should be one of the best practices employed by every trucking company or independent owner operator, regardless of size.
Bottom line: If you want to match the success of large trucking companies, act like one!
Combine outbound and inbound loads to maximize your revenue. It’s well documented that more than 42% of owner operators crisscrossing this greatest nation on God’s green earth, are partially or completely empty. This is a crystal clear sign that you need to review the section of owner operator manual that covers efficiency. In order to bid job profitability you must look for returning loads. Your travel expenses including maintenance, gas, food and lodging don’t just disappear when you arrive at the outbound load destination. You incur the same expenses on the return trip so make sure you have pre-arranged a return load whenever possible.
Bottom line: Effective implementation of this strategy will directly impact your level of profitability.
Discipline yourself to manage return loads more efficiently that outgoing loads. Better yet; you’re looking two or three or more trips into the future, planning loads for each truck, so that every trailer has a load assigned to it long before it has reached its destination. Remember Geometry 101 and the concept that a straight line is the shortest distance between two points? You must match your loads– as the truck starts pickups and deliveries. The best practice would be too deviates very little from the straight line. When it has to stray from the line to pick up or deliver, the rates charged reflect the time and distance required out of route.
Bottom line: Small-package trucking companies are masters at doing this, why shouldn’t you?
Regardless of whether you’re hauling paying tonnage or snowmobile fuel, deadheading or traveling to your next pickup with no load will negatively impact of completely kill your profits. Each time a truck is rolling there’s dollars leaving your bank account via the exhaust pipe. Keep in mind, to maintain lane density, you must think in straight lines. Keep that loaded truck on the most direct path between pickup and delivery. Minimize distance traveled to save on operational costs and driver’s hours of service.