As an owner operator, you are much more than a truck driver. You are a business owner. And as a business owner, each year is an opportunity for you to compete with your past self in business practices. Whether you are new to the O/O stratosphere, or you’re a seasoned driver, there is always room to boost profits. It all comes down to planning ahead.

 

Create a Budget

The more accurately you can predict your yearly costs, the better. With a concrete idea of how much you’ll spend per mile on variables like food, showers, and fuel, you’ll be able to know with confidence how many loads you need to haul (at what pay rate, factoring in deadhead mileage) to make a profit at the close of the fiscal year. Smart-Trucker’s example budget, which we’ve included below, will give you an idea of some of the factors to account for when putting together your plan.

Aside from fuel and truck payments, one of the heftiest expenses an owner operator will face is maintenance. Maintenance can be difficult to plan for, though, because you never know when (and what type of repair) you’ll need. A large part of putting together an accurate maintenance plan is really just about knowing your truck. While “knowing your truck” may bring to mind images of your rig formally introducing itself at the next truck stop, understanding your truck’s needs actually comes down to one thing – preventative maintenance.

Preventative maintenance typically consists of oil changes, filter and engine checks, tire alignment, and a few other small upkeep tasks. Performed on a regular basis, preventative maintenance puts you in charge of your rig’s future. And while systematic preventative maintenance may feel expensive at the time, it is a regular charge that you can account for in your budget. In the end, you will find yourself saving money by fixing small issues before the problem compounds.

 

Choose Your Loads Carefully

It may seem like simply selecting the highest-paying load available on FreightRover will be the most profitable, but there are actually a few different factors to consider when deciding what load to request. Take into account not only the pay per mile, but also how many miles you will be driving, and whether your destination has a lot of jobs running out of it, as well. If not, the dead time you spend driving to pick up your next load might cancel out the higher paying job in the first place. Our estimated pay calculator will help you more accurately judge a load’s potential profit.

Regardless of the state of the economy, it is important to pay attention to what time of year it is, as well as the type of freight you will be hauling. The industry is naturally busier before the holiday season than it is afterwards. Similarly, more loads are going to be available around when the school year starts in August, than when it ends in June. Use the busy times of year to your advantage, so that you are prepared for the slow times. Consider load weight, which can make a significant difference in fuel economy, versus the pay per mile, versus the total mileage, versus the destination to find the loads that will give your small business the boost it needs to succeed.

 

Keep Your Health In Mind

It’s easy to push doctor’s visits and healthy eating to the back burner when you’re working long weeks on the road, but neglecting your body will only result in missing out on valuable work down the line.  You might find yourself forgoing fruits and vegetables in favor of more immediately filling carbs, but consuming carbs for your meals doesn’t mean healthy eating has to go out the window. Long-lasting energy comes from fiber and protein, so give your body a boost by snacking on cheese cubes, baby carrots, celery, and nuts, rather than chips or candy. And when you do stop for a meal, try to keep it relatively small – multiple small meals per day, rather than a few large meals, is better for digestion and will help your body properly transfer fiber and protein into energy.

If you have long-term health concerns, it always helps to plan doctor’s visits ahead of time, so that your driving schedule isn’t affected by sudden stops. It also pays to have comprehensive health insurance, with travel coverage, so that you don’t end up having to wait for healthcare until you make it back home. Long-haul driving can have serious impacts on your health and family life, and it’s important to consider all aspects as an O/O. Aside from physical health, long-haul drivinghas an impact on you and your family’s mental well-being. It is important to discuss the hours you will be putting into work this year with family/friends ahead of time, so that everyone knows what to expect.

Here at FreightRover, we are committed to the success of our owner operators, as well as the success of our carriers and shippers. If you would like to know more about how to increase your profits in 2017 with the FreightRover app, contact us today!


The freight industry is flooded with business solutions that only solve one issue within the supply chain. It’s a frustrating problem within the industry. Until now, the solutions have either been singular, or costly. For the past seven months, our tech team has been hard at work building an app and web portal to solve many of the freight industry’s most-pressing issues. Today, we are proud to announce that FreightRover has launched nationally!
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Our Background

FreightRover is an Indianapolis-based web and mobile freight exchange platform that redefines the traditional load board process. Partnered with Celadon for beta testing, we provide Celadon’s owner-operator fleet with a unique mobile app to allow better visibility to loads, easier ways to connect to their driver managers, and simple features to manage day-to-day operations.

“Celadon is excited about our partnership with FreightRover. We continuously look for ways to improve upon our operational efficiency and driver retention initiatives. We believe the service FreightRover provides can help us to support our corporate goals. It allows our owner-operators to be more independent and providing more freight options for them,” says Eric Meek, President and COO of Celadon.
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Drivers Stay Truly Independent

Because our app provides drivers with a transparent platform to manage their business, the overall reception has been overwhelmingly positive. Drivers find the transparency of the app particularly helpful. Owner-operators are not only able to select the routes they want to drive; they can input pay package information directly into the app to view the expected net pay of each load.
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“Being able to have personal input of freight selection improves efficiency between the independent contractors and our operations team. Revenue and detailed load visibility allows for drivers to independently preplan with Freightrover,” says Brad Hackett, Director of Operations at Celadon.
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Carriers Control Their Supply Chain

Our web portal integrates with a shipper, broker, or carrier’s TMS system through an API. It allows for a hands-off load process from order entry to document scanning. Carriers using FreightRover can restrict drivers to their personal loads, or allow them to request loads from the marketplace. Shippers and brokers have the option to post loads to a specific group of carriers and drivers on the “Select” board, or expand their audience to more partners in the “Open” market.
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General Features

All of our users have access to real-time load tracking, full visibility to rates and appointment times, document scanning and retention, and ability to message each party to a specific load. Users also receive intelligent load status updates through geofencing, which restricts results based on the current location reported by GPS.

“Creating an intelligent and adaptable interface that’s able to fit the needs of any driver, carrier, or shipper is our goal,” says Michael Pecchia, President of FreightRover. “Through our partnership with Celadon, both of our teams have seen tremendous value for future growth.”

Interested in streamlining your business operations? Contact us today at sales@freightrover.com for more information!

As the trees lose their leaves and the cold rolls in, the time comes to prepare your truck for its inevitable future: winter. Winter can do serious damage to even a brand new truck, so an older rig needs extra care and attention. You wouldn’t walk into below freezing temperatures without pants and a jacket, right? Well, your truck deserves the same! Don’t let it go unprotected throughout the coldest months of the year.

Emergency Kit

In the event that your truck takes a turn for the worse and you end up stranded without heat, it’s a good idea to have an emergency kit prepared. Your emergency kit may vary based on your own personal needs, but if you’re just looking for the basics, it’s a good idea to keep the following items tucked safely away in the back of your cab:

  • Blankets, blankets, and more blankets
  • A strong (preferably LED) flashlight, with an extra set of batteries
  • Non-perishable food and bottled water
  • Gloves, Scarves, a hat, and snow boots
  • Pocket Hand Warmers
  • Snow Shovel
  • Flares
  • A battery-run radio
  • More batteries
  • Extra coolant, washer fluid, and engine oil
  • An additional fuel filter and wrench
  • Tire chains

Battery

If you haven’t reviewed the condition of your battery recently (and by recently, we mean in the last couple months), autumn is a great time to do so. If your battery is nearing the 48-72 month life cycle, it’s a good idea to replace it. Below freezing temperatures can drain the battery life quicker than you’d think, and a dead battery is an expensive emergency fix, according to RoadKing Magazine. Inspecting your battery for signs of wear is pretty simple. First, check the connection of the battery, itself, and make sure that all of the wires are securely connected. Then perform a load test, and check the alternator, while you’re at it.

Fuel

Regardless of the condition of your truck, it won’t get far without fuel. There are two parts to ensuring that your fuel is in winter-ready condition. First, check your water separator and fuel filter. Next, look into mixing additives into your fuel. To check the water separator and reduce the risk of damage to your rig’s engine, monitor it daily for a week or so before you intend to do your complete review. Making sure the water separator is draining properly is particularly important during the winter, because the cold outside air and warm engine can cause condensation to form under your truck’s hood. If you find throughout the week that the separator is collecting an excess of water, rather than draining it, you’ll need to do it yourself. To drain the water, simply locate the water separator, which is near the fuel filter, and turn the drain valve to empty out the water.

Secondly, add additives into your diesel fuel. Diesel contains paraffin, which is a wax that crystalizes when it is below freezing. The fuel then becomes thick and gooey, and struggles to pass through the fuel filter. You can find anti-gel fuel additives at most gas stations and truck stops, and adding some in every time (or every few times) that you fill up can help keep the fuel in a liquid state. Retaining a liquid consistency relieves stress on your engine and will lengthen the life of your fuel filter.

Engine

Ever notice how much more difficult it can be to start up your truck, than it is to start up your car, in the wintertime? Diesel engines require a higher cylinder temperature than your average car, and therefore take a longer time to reach that temperature in the cold. If your typical routes travel through cold, snowy states, an electric block heater is worth considering. The heater will keep your engine warm throughout the night and other times when your truck is turned off for an extended period of time. MetroMPG is a great source to learn more about various block heaters and their attributes. If you’ve decided that an electric block heater is the engine solution for you, just make sure that you purchase one with a three-prong plug and keep it held securely in place within your truck.

Windshield and Tires

Both your tires and your windshield are outer components to your truck that require special care during the winter. To keep your windshield clear, inspect the wipers for signs of wear. Replace the wipers if necessary and top off the wiper fluid while you’re at it. Much like your windshield, your tires are vital to keeping your rig safely on the road. If your tires are old and worn down, they won’t be able to perform properly in the snow. Your tires need plenty of tread to be able to navigate ice on the road. Aside from checking the tire, itself, it’s important to also check the chains for rust or damaged links. Make sure you have the recommended size and number of chains on your truck and replace them as soon as you notice something that might cause an issue when on the road.

Autumn is in full swing and for executives in the trucking industry, that only means one thing – the annual 2016 ATA Management Conference and Exhibition (MCE). This year, MCE will take place October 1-4 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. You can find us in booth 553.

“MCE is once again the trucking industry’s must-attend annual event for top executives. No other meeting attracts as many CEOs and senior managers. MCE offers unparalleled access to government and industry policy makers, top suppliers, and industry experts that are critical to your success in today’s rapidly changing business, regulatory, and political environment, ” according to the American Trucking Association.

Stop by Our Booth!
We are looking forward to attending the conference for our first time. We are excited for the opportunity to discuss professional driving, the implications of our rapidly changing industry, and how the future of FreightRover aligns with your business’ needs.

Learn more about our upcoming launch, as well as how we are staying at the forefront of the trucking industry with new technologies, by visiting us at booth 553.

We’ll see you at the ATA MCE!