Building a company from the ground up is filled with challenges, but with a little perseverance and the right tactics, you can succeed. Growing a trucking business is no different. In fact, there are plenty of opportunities to expand your business along the way. Whether you specialize in hauling one commodity or a wide assortment, these simple tips can keep you on track to growing your business efficiently.
1. Buff Up Your Financial Skills
Like any other business, running your own trucking company means you need to keep everything on a budget. Balance your income and expenses, limit excess spending, and keep a running financial plan for at least the next six months of business. A solid business plan that involves keeping a strict and exhaustive budget can make the difference between a struggling small business and a booming medium to large business over the next ten years.
2. Upgrade to Next-Gen Tech
Do not make the mistake of underestimating the value of technological upgrades. You have to think in terms of business management and how any potential technologies could give you an advantage. One of the simplest tech upgrades you can implement is to have your drivers keep electronic logs on a computer, phone, or tablet application, so all of their records are immediately available at the main office. Other technologies like installing fleet GPS trackers to coordinate with drivers to figure out the best possible routes.
3. Maximize the Profitability of Each Haul
As your business grows, you have to learn how to prioritize the travel time of your fleet to maximize profits. Determine what loads will offer the best payoff for the least number of miles traveled. Less driving combined with more frequent and higher-paying loads will not only increase your immediate financial gains but also the lifespan of your trucks and equipment. Maximizing earning potential is the primary focus of this tactic; however, it also maintains a margin of safety for the state of your fleet that helps reduce your expenses.
4. Aim for Slow and Steady Growth
You want to set up a business growth plan that offers realistic yet satisfying milestones. Keeping steady growth as your goal rather than sudden bursts ensures that you maintain reliable income and stay motivated. Each new growth plateau should be a success worth celebrating, but the time in between those plateaus should also continue to feel like you are making progress toward your end-goal. Remember that slow and steady wins the race without the risk of burning out too quickly.
5. Nurture Relationships With Clients
One of the simplest advantages that small businesses can use against their larger competitors is the ability to more easily develop personal relationships with clients. Treating clients simply like just another customer can be more than a little off-putting. Committing to quality customer service and building those individual relationships not only reinforces your current client base but also sends the message to other potential clients and business partners that your business actually prioritizes their needs.
6. Prepare for Shifting Regulations
Unlike some businesses, the trucking industry has to keep an eye out for the next big regulatory change. Federal and state legislation is constantly in flux, so running a trucking business requires that you stay on top of the game. Keep an eye out for any potential legislation that will affect traffic laws, insurance policies, and environmental platforms that can affect the transportation of certain commodities. While keeping up-to-date with the Department of Transportation publications will cover most of these changes, keeping an eye on current legislation in session can give you a few more months of preparation.
Of course, there will be plenty of other opportunities to improve your business’s efficiency. Keeping these six tips in mind will carry you a long way in your business’s growth, but always be prepared to shift gears when necessary. Capitalize on every opportunity, always weigh the potential reward for any risk, and surround yourself with a reliable, trustworthy workforce that will support your decisions and help you achieve your goals.