Rescue Your Revenue

Don't Just Winterproof Your Truck, Winterproof Your Business

By W. Kelsea Eckert, Attorney at Law
Posted Jan 21st 2022 5:02PM

When the winter storm blew through the Midwest last February bringing freezing temperatures, high winds and snow, fleet owner Jimmy B. was ready. In the months prior, he had prepared each of his trucks for such a possibility. In addition to making sure all trucks had their regularly scheduled maintenance, he also made sure the fuel was treated and blended for low temperatures and all APUs were in tiptop condition.

Jimmy had trained his drivers for winter driving, well before winter. High quality pre-trip inspections were stressed. There were winter supplies in each truck, including an emergency supply of food and water, first aid kit, blankets, and insulated clothes in case a driver were to get stranded. In addition, each driver kept a checklist to stay prepared for the worst.

Jimmy was prepared and had a great winter season. However, beyond preparedness of equipment and training of drivers, there’s one remaining area which requires vigilance by every truck owner: protection of the business’ finances. Bad weather can cause loads to be delayed, income to be lost, and accidents to happen. A clever business owner will consider the risks and prepare for them before they happen.

How do you protect your business from potential losses due to bad weather? Create a plan before it’s necessary. Make sure to cover at least all normal possibilities. For example, if your truck is stuck in a snow drift, do you have tow insurance or money in the bank to pay the tow? Do you have access to another truck if yours was damaged and needs repaired?

Plan for a Rainy (or snowy!) Day:

Hopefully, your equipment is never damaged. However, it’s important to have contingencies in place if it happens. Some suggestions include:

  1. Review your insurance policies with your insurance agent to make sure your equipment is fully covered.
  2. Establish a relationship with a truck rental company or motor carrier that will provide you with equipment if yours is down.
  3. Keep a good relationship and line of credit open with your bank. Be aware that rental companies often ask for a $5,000 - $10,000 deposit on their equipment, plus weekly rental and fees.
  4. Increase the limits on your credit cards. You may be able to use a credit card for the rental truck deposit. Just make sure you pay those cards off each month!
  5. Work on increasing your credit score. You won’t be able to rent or buy the equipment if your credit score is poor.
  6. Keep a rainy-day fund. If your equipment is down and there are no rentals, make sure you have enough money in escrow or savings to pay business and personal bills for at least 2-3 months.

None of us want interruptions to our businesses, but if we don’t prepare for the possibility, those interruptions can financially damage our businesses. As the poet Maya Angelou once said, “Hoping for the best, prepared for the worst, and unsurprised by anything in between.” Wishing you safe travels this winter season!

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.

For more information on this or other legal issues, please contact:
The Law Offices of
Eckert & Associates, P.A.