5 Money/Time Saving Tips for Owner Operators in 2012

February 15, 2012

The economic crisis has impacted the trucking industry in many ways, and owner-operators usually have an especially difficult time making a profit. Even new business owners who were company drivers for years before venturing out on their own often find it difficult to save time and money. Here are a few tips to help owner/operators manage money and time effectively.

Maintain Your Equipment

Sometimes truck maintenance can cost more up front, the time and money that drivers save by scheduling maintenance makes it worth the investment. Checking the oil, radiator and tire pressure regularly can save you money by increasing your fuel economy. These preventative measures also save time because trucks that aren't well maintained are likely to break down in the middle of a long haul. Unexpected breakdowns are usually very expensive and can cause your load to be delivered late, damaging your reputation as a reliable carrier.

Compare Insurance Rates

Many owner-operators choose the first insurance company they receive a quote from in the interest of saving time, but insurance rates vary so widely that it is a good idea to get quotes from at least three companies and compare your options. Many truck owners save hundreds of dollars each year simply by choosing the insurance provider that meets their needs for the lowest premium amount.

Hire a Good Accountant

Keeping the books yourself may seem like the best option if you're an owner-operator who wants to save money, but forgetting a payment or not figuring your taxes properly can end up costing you much more in the long run. Asking around in your home area to find a local Certified Public Accountant with experience in trucking is probably your best bet, especially if you're just starting out. Owner/operators who have been in business for several years and are familiar with all of the required business and tax paperwork can use QuickBooks or a similar program to do their own accounting.

Avoid High Traffic Areas and Rush Hour

Most owner-operators will not be able to avoid traffic all of the time, but avoiding busy highways at peak travel times is a good way to save time and increase your fuel economy. A good Global Positioning System will be able to give you information on alternative routes if you are stuck in road construction or closures. It is a good idea to choose a GPS that is designed for truckers so that you don't inadvertently drive over a road with low clearance or other issues.

Cell Phones

Another simple way to save money is to change your cell phone plan. Switching to a different carrier is a good idea, especially if you are not currently locked into a contract. Make sure that you're using all of the extra services you are paying for. Cell phone plans with unlimited minutes are usually the best option for owner-operators because they spend time talking to shippers and receivers as well as their families and friends.

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