Come visit us at Truck World April 14,15 &16
To receive a complimentary ticket visit http://www.truckworld.ca our VIP code is FLEETTAX
Booth #2481 – Outside of Hall 2, across from the washrooms
“When starting our own business, Fleet-Tax Services knowledge of the industry helped us know what was needed, when and how to do it. This was invaluable to us and still is as everything is kept up to date and enables us to focus on what we need to do without the stress and expense of missed deadlines and documentation. We appreciate the quick and dependable advice as well.”
Maureen / Crossroad Transportation Services / Stoney Creek, Ontario
Fleet Tax Services in Grimsby Ontario is now an official testing site for Millennium Compliance Services. We now handle all the drug testing for Millennium in the Grimsby Ontario area. Located at the Fifth Wheel in Grimsby there is plenty of truck parking and our convenient location means you will be on your way in moments.
As I meet many owner operators in my travels many of them have lofty ideas of starting their own small fleet of two or three trucks. There is nothing wrong with that dream and since I am a big goal person I would rather work with someone who has goals than to work with those that have nothing planned out for the future. Having specific goals are great and that is the way everyone should work. It allows you to focus your business on items that will help you attain your goals. There is one problem for those of us that are extremely focused, sometimes we can grow too fast and cause more problems than needed. Adding trucks onto your business will drastically change the dynamics of how you operate, the amount of investment required, and develop roles in the company that you may be handling all by yourself.
Think about it, right now you are the owner, the office manager, the dispatcher, the driver, the janitor, the mechanic, and any other job you can possibly find for yourself. Once you start adding other people into the mix the dynamics change and that can make you take on positions you weren’t planning on. For instance think about expanding your fleet to just one truck. You now have to hire another driver which will now add payroll duties, possibly dispatch (if you are totally independent) vacation fill in and so on. You may still be driving and able to handle that but your administration work will double with two trucks possibly causing you to outsource it.
Let’s assume you move to two extra trucks, you may find you are starting to work outside of the truck. That’s fine if you are planning on that but if you wanted to continue to drive it may be an area you are uncomfortable with. At this point you may also need more administration staff and depending how your business is set up you may find yourself now doing sales to find enough work for the trucks. You may also have to start adding more overhead to your business, parking issues, maintenance issues, and office space can add more overhead than most people plan on.
Now going back to the beginning of this article I don’t want to scare you. Many of these issue may go away depending on how you are operating your business. If you’re leased on with a carrier then maybe parking, maintenance, dispatch, and sales may not be an issue. Bookkeeping and other office administrative tasks can be outsourced. The trick is to have a plan in place of how you will handle expansion.
Planning is the best thing you can do for your business and your future.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant for the transportation industry. He helps Owner Operators run successful businesses. For information on Fleet Tax Services please visit www.fleettaxservices.com which helps independent operators set up their operating authorities among other services.
Now that the summer is over we will be resuming our informal seminar series called “Ask The Expert”. The next program will feature a question and answer period with transportation consultant Bruce Outridge on things you can do to run your company profitably. Trucking companies are expense heavy operations and it is crucial to keep your eye on the ball in order to be profitable. To learn more and register for this free session please contact Fleet Tax Services or view the event poster below.
There is one item in business that is the key to success, the engine that drives your car, the most important paper in the filing cabinet, the invoice. For most of us in business that is the key to getting paid and to moving your business forward. If you are not creating invoices, then you are not getting paid. This is normal practice for traditional business that trade products and services in the general course of business, but what about the owner operator. He doesn’t need an invoice because he receives a statement, wrong! In speaking with owner operators all over the province about their profit and loss statements many of them would benefit from creating an invoice for their work. Most people don’t like to do any extra work but by creating an invoice for your work it gives you a clear picture into how much you are really earning. It is an extra step that so many would benefit from by taking the time to do it properly. Here is why I like an invoice.
Statements are issued by your company; they also have a variety of items on them such as fuel payments, plates, holdbacks, and so on. They are also usually a month behind of what you actually have run due to the process of collecting data by the person in charge of payroll. So many owner operators when they get their statements are not getting a true picture of what they are getting paid for and even worse some do not know if they are being paid for all of their miles. The fact that they do not have an invoice tracking their income gives them no recourse should they have to fight the company for funds at a later date. Have you ever heard someone wining that they aren’t making enough money and when you ask them to show how they got to that point they have nothing to show you, no evidence to back up their claim other than a broke bank account. Bank accounts mean nothing in the world of business, many successful companies have no money in their accounts, assets, and invoiced sales, among other factors are what drive business. The company isn’t giving you a pay check, you are billing them as a customer, and it is up to you to make sure you are being paid for your work, not the company.
So how do you start? First of all you have to make this a habit, do it all the time always. It won’t work if you only do it for one week. Second of all start at the beginning of a month. This way you have a nice clean break. Now if you are a driver only each time you get back to you terminal photocopy your trip envelope or print off your run sheet, however your company does their trip reporting. That becomes your invoice so to speak. If you are an owner operator I want you to create an invoice on a weekly basis showing where you went, your trip number, and your income made for that trip. You don’t have to send it off to anyone, but when you receive your statement if you are using software or by hand you can check off that you have been paid for the trip. At the end of the year you will know exactly how much income you earned, if you have been paid properly, and how long it took you to be paid. Should you be looking to purchase a truck or trying to get funding you will have proper invoices to show to help you make your case to the financial institution. This is considered due diligence, successful companies do it, so why don’t you?
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a business and leadership consultant for the transportation industry. Bruce is a columnist for many trade magazines and industry blogs. Fleet Tax Services offers compliance and administrative services for independent trucking companies and Owner Operators. For more information please visit their website at www.fleettaxservices.com