Dollars & Sense
Trucking In The Digital World
From the December 2002/January 2003 issue of Land Line Magazine Reprinted with the kind permission of Land Line.
FAST TRACK By FAST LANE
Fast Track records all trip information with invoicing, revenue and expenses for one to five trucks. The software allows you to enter all expenses and revenue on one screen exclusively designed for trucking, and create freight bill invoices, provide profit percentages and average revenue, including cost per mile.
Payments, insurance and license costs are allocated for the appropriate time periods to allow you to see actual earnings.
Reports will give you the current information you need to make decisions and simplify reporting annual income and expenses.
For the standard edition of FastTrack, you will pay $179.95. For a deluxe upgrade, which allows the addition of three more trucks, driver log entries and fuel tax reporting, you'll pay an additional $99.95. To add payroll functions, add another $74.95.
For a free demo, visit http://www.gofastlane.com/, or call 1-877-928-1464.
LOADLEDGER By ANTWORX
AntWorx, a software company in Effingham, IL, offers an accounting and record-keeping program specifically for owner-operators, independent drivers, small fleets and company drivers.
The newest version of LoadLedger 2.5 includes a more comprehensive backup and restore utility to make it easier to transfer from a laptop to a desktop computer. You can edit fuel tax rates as they change, and you can export data for use in other Windows software such as Microsoft Excel.
In 2003, AntWorx expects to release LoadLedger 3, which will include payroll/driverreimbursement, check writing and equipment/driver/load tracking among other requested features.
The program currently costs $149 for a licensed CD and User Guide, or $125 for a serial number for evaluation versions and software downloaded from the Internet. OOIDA members receive a $25 discount.
To download the free 30-day demo, visit http://www.loadledger.com/, or call (217) 342-6399 for a free trial CD.
ROAD TAX By RAND MCNALLY
Rand McNally, the map people, now has RoadTax software to manage the information and reporting requirements necessary to complete IFTA, IRP, state mileage tax returns, ad valorem tax returns, SSRS and FHUT/2290 returns and other tax returns.
The program,which is powered by Rand McNally's IntelliRoute, allows users to import trip records and information from major dispatch systems and fuel cards, and export data files for use in spreadsheet applications. To keep the program up to date, you receive quarterly updates that ensure compliance with IFTA, IRP and all weight-distance jurisdictions' change requirements.
For pricing and demo information, visit http://www.trucking.randmcnally.com/, or call 1-800-234-4069.
EASY TRUCKING SOFTWARE By OMNI COMMUNICATIONS
Easy Trucking Software, designed especially for the owner-operator and small-fleet owner, includes the Profit Per Mile and Fuel Manager programs. Profit Per Mile keeps track of income and expenses, creates driver trip sheets and trip recaps and gives you reports needed to fill out tax forms.
Fuel Manager calculates fuel taxes owed, creates IFTA, IRP and audit reports, separates quarterly tax tables, and helps navigate trips around fuel stops. Easy Trucking Software's owner-operator version for one to five trucks costs $137.95. For a guided tour or a risk-free trial, visit http://www.2omni.com/, or call (920) 459-9511.
PROFIT TRACKER & PROFIT TRACKER PLUS II By EDONNA
Profit Tracker by Edonna is a database program designed to keep track of expenses, load revenue, maintenance, state mileage, fuel purchases and customers. The software will calculate fixed cost per mile, variable cost per mile, total cost per mile, fixed expenses, variable expenses, total expenses, mileage, revenue, revenue per mile, revenue per day and profit/loss in dollars and per mile.
Depending on the version (single truck or multiple trucks),detailed or summary reports sort information by driver, type of expense, load, truck, dates, year and states. Reports also include a year-to-date summary, customers by name or state, and fuel stops by name or state.
Profit Tracker Plus II does all this with one form, plus a complete database of customers, fuel stops, personnel, vehicles and a ZIP code database with more than 43,000 ZIP codes.
You can generate more than 200 easy-to-read reports, including invoices, expenses, revenue, pay, advances, fuel purchases, state mileage, account information, profit and loss, preventive maintenance, fuel stops, customers, personnel, vehicles, pallets, directions and mailing/shipping labels.
Profit Tracker costs $100 for the single-truck version, while Profit Tracker Plus II runs $225. For free demos, version updates and technical support, visit http://www.edonna.com/, or call 1-800-846-1802.
OWNER/OPERATOR By HAMMERLANE
With HammerLane's Owner/Operator software package, owner-operators can manage their trips as they go by entering information related to location, route, stops, payments and rates. HammerLane takes all that information and makes calculations necessary to turn your rig into a profitable living.
The program can calculate actual and virtual cost per mile, create invoices, remind you of important maintenance tasks, track state miles and fuel purchases and provide bookkeeping information.
Once you have set up driver and truck information, you deal mostly with the current trip screen. There areno hidden menus required to find entry screens and calculators. Color-coding allows drivers to interpret information easily.
HammerLane's single-entry system allows you to enter information about each trip in a simple location, and thenapplies that same information to many different calculations.
The program takes the single entry and automatically updates the trip report, the state/fuel mileage report and the expense report. Once information is entered, it goes right where it should.
HammerLane's Owner/Operator software costs $399. You can add the Prophesy ProDriver mileage database for an additional $200. Download a demo at http://www.hammerlane.com/, or call HammerLane at 1-800-772-2716.
THE DRIVER'S DAILY LOG
This program was developed by Nick Bjorklund, a truckdriver (six months OTR experience) and software developer (30 years experience), who says more than 100,000 copies of his DDL (driver's daily log) software are being used in the United States and Canada by truckdrivers, auditors, DOT inspectors and state police.
DDL is available as a 60-day free trial. After the trial period, you pay a $69 user registration fee to continue using the software.
According to the web site, the software implements the requirements of the FMCSA's logbook. The program “takes the power of the computer and applies a convenient entry of duty-status data, displays that data in the ”˜classic' driver's daily log format and prints signature-ready log pages for submission,” the web site says.
To download the free software, or to purchase the enhanced version, visit http://www.driversdailylog.com/.
In January this year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) approved the use of computers to generate logbook data.
FMCSA said “a driver may use a computer to generate the graph grid and entries for the record of duty status or logbook, provided the logbook includes the minimum information required by law.”
In addition, printouts for the current 24-hour period must be provided when requested by an enforcement officer; a printed version must be hand-signed at the end of each 24-hour period; and copies of the signed records must be available to officers for the previous seven consecutive days.
In view of FMCSA's approval of e-log systems, several companies are now offering electronic log-entry programs as part of their total trucking software offerings. Here are a few examples:
Dick Larsen - Senior Editor, Land Line
The Truckers Helper tracks billing and load information, as well as maintenance schedules. The owner-operator version features the trip sheet, which simplifies data entry and eliminates the need to make individual entries in the accounting and mileage reporting section.
The settlement reconciliation section provides a way to balance settlement statements. A complete customer record system keeps important information on customers, including directions and contact names. The program also tracks gallons of fuel purchased in each state and miles run in each state for IFTA reports.
Records are kept on all periodic maintenance, and future maintenance can be scheduled as well. Using set intervals, pop-up reminders inform you when a truck is within 500 miles of scheduled maintenance.
A tire tracking feature also allows you to keep a record of tire serial numbers and tread readings. This feature also keeps records on your trailer and provides reminders when regularly scheduled maintenance is coming due.
The basic owner-operator version for a single-truck operation is $179. For a detailed price list and free demo, visit http://www.truckershelper.com/, or call (321) 956-7331.