This article is for all the trucking company owners overseeing a small fleet of commercial trucks. You’re grinding away each day, week and month to secure contracts, keep up with safety protocols and struggle against the formidable logistics and lobbying efforts of the big fleets. It can get exhausting. Sometimes, it feels like a losing game.
But remember, every trucking fleet – even those massive companies like XPO Logistics with tens of thousands of trucks on their register – started small. With the right business practices and some shrewd financial manoeuvring on your part, you can grow your small fleet into a major player.
How do you get there? In this post, let’s discuss a few critical steps to take in your journey toward a 200+ truck fleet.
Forge Strong Relationships with Customers
Whatever industry you’re in and however large your company is, customer relationships comprise the backbone of your business. It is critical to remember this as you attempt to grow. By offering service that the big fleets can’t – availability, attention and special offers – you can charge more than the prevailing rate and keep the phones ringing.
If strong customer service isn’t already a part of your core philosophy, make sure it is.
Get Creative with a Commercial Equipment Financing Expert
To tackle unique problems, you need unique solutions. In other words, if you need financing to grow your fleet, enlist the help of equipment financing experts that understand your line of business – experts with experience helping fleet owners.
A quality equipment financing expert takes a holistic approach to your financing needs, working with you to understand your budget, current equipment, and future equipment needs. A superior equipment financing expert should be able to offer creative truck and trailer leases, refinancing options, collateral mortgage options and major repairs solutions to ensure you have the cash to grow.
You can follow the rest of these tips to a tee, but at the end of the day, it’s money that grows businesses. And the best way to get that money is by seeking out quality, experienced, creative financing experts.
Fill the Driver’s Seats without Spending a Fortune
As your fleet grows, you need people in the seats. The market can be competitive, but before you drop thousands of dollars filming a TV ad spot, exhaust your free options first.
Ask your current drivers for recommendations; chances are that they know quality off-work drivers. Head to the job wanted section of your local Craigslist or Kijiji, and place a free ad on there looking for experienced drivers. The more you can cut down on job advertising costs, the easier you can grow your fleet.
Pay Special Attention to Safety
As you grow, expect increased scrutiny from the FMCSA or local Ministry of Transportation. Enforcement officers will be taking a close look at the safety of your fleet, and fines for non-compliance can easily track in the range of tens of thousands of dollars. That’s not money you want to lose. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
If you’re a fleet owner with ambitions to be part of the big league, the last piece of advice is this: Start now. Talk to an equipment financing expert, continue to grow your client relationships, actively pursue experienced drivers and ramp up your safety protocols.