Slow Season Solutions
Just like all industries, the trucking industry goes through fast and slow periods, with the slower months falling around January through March. The holiday season ended and the produce has yet to ripen leading to a decrease in the number of loads available and rate-per-mile (RPM). Although the season may slow down, there are still many things that can be done. Avoid letting your business slow with the season by utilizing this time wisely. Use this extra time by making smart choices when it comes to the loads, organizing your bookkeeping and files, and keeping your trucks/trailers well-maintained.
Pick Smart Loads
With fewer loads available during this time of year, it is important to make sure that no mile goes by empty. Map out your truck’s routes to reduce the number of miles driven with an empty trailer. Deadhead miles reduce your fuel efficiency, and this time of year is not when you want to be less efficient. The slow season also happens to fall during the coldest time of the year. Cold weather can lead to accidents, so keep an eye out for the weather and the routes you take while hauling.
During the busy season, it may be challenging to notice issues such as missing paperwork, drivers causing violations, or missing payments. Utilizing this slowed time by getting organized helps to save you from any potential problems in the future.
Some important bookkeeping to focus on is gathering your IFTAs, Loss Runs, and lists of all your current drivers and units running under your authority. Having this information easily accessible makes your insurance renewal process simple and easy. With your spare time, check that your driver(s)/unit(s) list matches what is listed on your policy, for if you are running any unscheduled drivers/units it could end up costing you a significant amount of money.
Keep-up with Maintenance
Since the slow season coincides with cold weather, it is vital to take this time to ensure your trucks and/or trailers are properly maintained. Use this time to check your tire quality and other parts/equipment that may be affected.
Additionally, the new year sometimes brings new rules and/or regulations. Inspecting it during the slow season reduces the chances of you being non-compliant throughout the rest of the year. Having your truck’s annual inspection during this time is economically beneficial to your business. If you are running fewer loads, your truck is not in use which gives you time to get it an inspection.
• Keep your equipment up-to-date and ready for when things pick up