A Look Back and Into The Future
Time for a reality check. Following three years of strong demand growth that led to higher volumes and pricing power for the trucking industry, demand began to wane in the latter half of 2006 and weakened further over the course of 2007.
The hoped-for increase in demand that many expected in the second half of this year never materialized, and demand in the peak season has been about as weak as the lackluster period last year.
Quick Trucking Tax Tips!
Records help you document the deductions you’ve claimed on your return. You’ll need this documentation should the IRS select your return for examination.
Normally, tax records should be kept for three years, but some documents – such as records relating to a home purchase or sale, stock transactions, IRA and business or rental property – should be kept longer.
Year End Tax Planning
Marriage, divorce, financial support of a parent, cohabitation, birth of a child, adoption, death of a loved one – all of these changes have an impact on your income taxes. Be sure to consult your tax preparer if you have experienced any of these events in the past year.
Note: You are considered married for the entire year even if you get married December 31st.
Don't Kill Your Fuel Economy!
Truck aerodynamics, engine type, gear ratios, tire size and type and other spec items are all important to the quest for fuel economy, but programming your personal driving habits towards saving fuel is the most essential part of the equation.
If your primary focus (along with safety, of course) is centered upon squeezing every mile from every drop of fuel, you will develop those habits that will keep a greater portion of your money in your pocket and not the fuel tank.
A Word to the Road Wise
Experts from Popular Mechanics tested seven fuel-saving(gas engines) products for its September 2005 issue and found no significant change in miles-per-gallon ratings. Two actually increased fuel consumption by 20 percent, according to the writer, and a third one melted before the test was completed.
As a spokesperson for the EPA puts it, these devices, "Don't work. If it were that easy, vehicles would be built that way, especially the magnets and other gizmos."
IRS audit help and business plans
According to the SBA, a business plan should contain details about what the business will do, as well as important information regarding marketing, financing, and management. A business plan should also include all proposed equipment purchases or leases, financing methods, and start-up costs.
Every business plan must include an executive summary and
supporting financial documents, such as tax returns, personal financial statements, and resumes of the principals and key personnel involved in the business.
Rates Verses Operating Costs
Many years ago at the birth of expediting, this would be a topic seldom discussed. Compared to other forms of trucking, expediting was commanding some of the highest rates in the industry. Even today, it still has some of the highest rates available to the owner operator.
What happened over the last five to ten years?
Much like other industries, it became a supply verses demand issue. What started with Roberts Express as the pioneer, quickly turned into hundreds of companies competing for the same freight. Over time, rates have either been stagnant, or have dropped.
Bookkeeping can tell you how much you have collected, how much you have spent by category – such as fuel, insurance, repairs, parts, etc. It can tell you if you have been successful, and highlight areas where your expenses should be examined.
In short, it gets you thinking about your business and what you can do to make it better. There are various bookkeeping methods available to you.
Pocket The Savings
Reduce Engine Idling - With the ever-escalating price of fuel along with the anti-idling legislation across the nation, it's become difficult to justify idling the truck's engine unless it's absolutely necessary for heat or air conditioning.
In a perfect world, every truck would be APU- or diesel-fired heater equipped, but you can still save fuel simply by changing a few habits. If you could cut your idling time from 50% of all engine hours to 10%, you'll save about 7% in mpg.
Why Owner-Operators Fail
The inability to understand the revenue-cost equation is just a symptom of a larger problem: lack of essential business skills. When drivers become owner-operators, they become owners of small businesses.
According to the experts, one of the most important components of successful business and monetary management is knowing your Cost-Per-Mile (CPM).
New owner-operators can be especially vulnerable in the initial period after they take the plunge into ownership.