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Are small fleets being unfairly targeted?

March 19, 2013

The following article written by Tod Dills (March 14, 2013), outlines major issues with regards to how independent owners are being unfairly targeted. According to the article, independent owners' trucks are 4 times more likely to get inspected than carriers with more than 500 trucks. Not only that, "the likelihood of being placed out of service is three and a half times as great for independent drivers - and almost twice as likely for their vehicles - compared to those of the biggest fleets," (Dills).

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Updates to BigRoad: Alaska & Oilfield Rules + Driver's Signature

March 15, 2013

Good afternoon BigRoad app users!

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Here's Why Your Company's Website is so Important: 7 Fleet Examples

March 14, 2013

Looking to grow your business and customer reach? One of the best ways to do it is through developing your company's website and keeping it up to date. Technology is now a major player in today's business world, and most organizations are manipulating it to optimize their business potential. The best place to start is with understanding how your company's website benefits you, your business and your current and potential customers. There are 3 major (and useful) points that Maita Yoldi touches on in her article "Know the Importance of a Website for Your Business": 

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GPS fleet tracking: Maintenance, Logs, Smart phones

March 14, 2013

A good article about technology in trucking from Homer Hogg, Maintenance Supervisor for TA and Petro,. Homer highlights the benefits of technology, mobile and otherwise, as well as explores the benefits of things like a truck Blackbox (EOBR, AOBRD, ELD.....).  He also discusses the need to get drivers on board and not resisting technology that may help them and improve fleet operations at the same time.  Technologies like BigRoad can be used to automate electronic driver logs and improve CSA scores for the fleet.

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Click Mouse, Make Money - Owner Operators and Load Boards

March 11, 2013

A good article about how flatbed drivers Ed and Salena look for loads and enjoy the freedom of being Owner Operators. I always appreciate Salena's blog with her perspective on the trucking industry.  In this article Salena discusses how they find loads using a loadboard and the freedom this provides in terms of making their own load choices.

Original Article Salena Lettera Daily Rant Blog 

Most of you know we are owner-operators and pull a flatbed trailer. Our freight ranges from building materials, to containers, to military equipment, to aircraft parts to honeybees. We'll haul just about anything they can put on a flatbed if the price is right.

And although finding freight isn't hard, it is a little bit of an art. Knowing where the freight is, knowing how much time is involved loading, knowing if it's going to a good area, deciding whether deadheading (driving empty to pick up) is going to be worth it. These are all learned. Ed is a master at this - you can throw a load and a rate at him and he'll know immediately if it's worth doing. Me? I'm not as quick with the figuring, but I'm pretty good now too.

We have a few agents who will call us outright, if we're in the area, to offer us a load before they post it. They know us, they've worked with us before, and they know we deliver - no pun intended. Most of the time though, we find our loads on the board. "The Board" is the load board where the company we're leased to posts their loads. If you enlarge the photo below (click to enlarge), you'll see a real example of freight that's available to us.

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Amazing BigRoad Giveaways at MATS!!

March 11, 2013

Let us help you!! Come by the BigRoad booth 72125 at MATS and show us at least 7 days of e-logs. Not only will we teach you how to optimize your BigRoad app, but also you will be one step closer in winning one of our AMAZING draw PRIZES!!! You can also visit the NASTC booth 36257 and the DriveWyze booth 69205 for more information.

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New HOS Rules - are electronic logs the answer?

February 28, 2013

It now looks like the FMCSA is not going to delay the proposed July 1, 2013 implementation of the new HOS rules after all.  Even though the new rules will cost the industry a lot ($230M according to the ATA) in terms of lost productivity while also decreasing the flexibilty drivers have to choose their sleep/drive/work cycles it will not cause too much trouble to adopt for those fleets using electronic logs today.  

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Trucking Myth Busters - good article by Team RunSmart

February 21, 2013

It can be hard to separate the truck stop rumors or myths from the facts. As an owner-operator, one of your biggest concerns is revenue. Since most owner-operators are paid on a per-mile basis, this tends to dominate discussions about income because it is easy to measure.

Unfortunately, pay-per-mile is often used as the deciding factor of which carrier to lease with.  While pay-per-mile is important, it alone is not an indicator of success, nor does it mean a big settlement check is coming your way. Pay-per-mile must always be looked at in perspective with gross revenue. It can include mileage pay, percentage of revenue pay, loading or unloading pay, toll or scale reimbursement, etc.

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Professional Appearance for Truck Drivers: does it affect CSA Scores?

February 18, 2013

I’m sure you’ve heard it said that first impressions are the most important. People make immediate judgments about a person’s ability, knowledge, attention to detail, etc, based entirely on their appearance. Rarely do people forget their first impressions of someone, so you should always make sure that yours was a good one. This is especially true for truck drivers. It may not be something you have considered, but truck drivers are the face of their business, so first impressions are important. A negative DOT inspection directly affects the Driver's PSP score and the carriers CSA Scores, presenting a professional appearance makes a difference.

As Truckers, you are out on the road most of the time and it’s easy to get caught up in running as many loads as possible and concentrating on making money. But even when you are on out the road, you encounter numerous people every day. Therefore, you need to be thinking about the impression that you are conveying because it will affect how people view your business. According to Mike Card, the chairmen of American Trucking Associations, Truckers do not always “garner the respect [they] deserve from the news media, the general public and our political leaders. The image of our drivers and our companies needs a makeover.”( www.transporttopics.com ) Truckers have a difficult and sometime treacherous job that deserves a certain level of respect.

Truck drivers need to start looking at their professional appearance as a component of running their business successfully and gaining the respect of their customers and peers. Here is a list of some of the most important aspects of having a professional appearance that will help your business be more successful:
  • Personal Appearance. Personal appearance and hygiene are probably the most obvious aspects of your professional appearance. Since you are the face of your business, you want to make sure you come across as experienced and reliable. No matter how good you are at your job, people are not inclined to take you seriously if you do not look like a professional. Although I’m not suggesting you wear a suit to drive your truck around, it is important that you are wearing clean clothes with minimal holes, stains, etc. Also, you should make sure that you maintain an acceptable hygiene level, i.e. brushing hair and teeth, showering on a regular basis, and washing your face. All these things add to your professional appearance and make it easier for people to respect you and value your business.
  • Truck Appearance. The appearance of your truck is another important part of how people perceive your business. It should be cleaned inside and out, on a regular basis, as well as regular maintenance. A clean truck is both for safety and so your truck does not look or sound like it’s falling apart. You want to inspire confidence in your customers.
  • Business Practices. Business practices are an equally important part of a professional exterior. Every aspect of your business that your customers are privy to should look professional. Your voicemail greeting should have the name of your business, your name, and an assurance that you will return the call as soon as you are able to do so. Your email address should also be professional. You do not want an email address that is derogatory, silly, or sports related. It’s a good idea to have the name of your business as your email address, but it’s not necessary.
  • Mannerisms. One final part of your professional appearance are your mannerisms. As an owner-operator, it is important to be on time, knowledgeable, and polite. When you look like you know what you are doing, your customers will be more likely to do business with you again. Also, you never know when you will be talking to potential customers and you never want to burn any bridges.
  • Professional Paperwork. Applications such as the free BigRoad Electronic Logs can help fleets and drivers present a more professional image as well to the roadside DOT inspectors.  Hundreds of accounts from drivers using BigRoad confirm that the DOT inspectors appreciate the clean logs, lack of errors and elimintaion of illegible handwriting.  see previous blog post about Why Paper Driver Logs Suck

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7 ways to cut your fleet insurance costs - protect your CSA scores

February 17, 2013

After a truck payment, insurance is often the biggest fixed cost for owner-operators. Whether you’re leased or running under your own authority, there’s plenty you can do to reduce costs when updating existing policies or shopping for new ones, while also protecting your fleets CSA scores.  

Mind the deductible.You can raise your policy’s deductible to lower the premium, but independents should weigh their risk in an accident with multiple claims. For example, separate $2,500 deductibles on a tractor, a trailer and cargo easily could come into play at once, yielding a $7,500 bill. Leased operators should know if their carrier holds them responsible for a certain amount of carrier liability or cargo deductibles in a loss.

Keep credit history clean. Credit reports often are pulled by underwriters to determine owner-operator insurance rates. Pay your bills on time, and follow other practices to maintain a high credit score.

Include aftermarket items in stated value. When you determine fair market value during policy updates, use online and dealer resources to help determine aftermarket add-ons’ real effect on your rig’s resale value. Also, enhancements that would lower the insuror’s exposure, like deer catchers and anti-theft devices, can bring rate discounts.

Account for safety. Don’t be shy about communicating a strong safety record during any rate quote or policy update.

Use technology to protect your CSA scores and improve Safety. Affordable electronic log apps like smartphone based BigRoad is a good first step toward proactively managing your driver logs, CSA scores and reducing your compliance liability

Compare rates. As with anything you buy, it’s wise to compare rates periodically. Before changing insurors, see if your current one offers a discount for staying with the company.

Update business information. Type of freight, miles driven and area of haul are factors that affect the accuracy of your rates.

 

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