Success means different things to different fleet owners, but we can all agree that any definition of success starts with keeping trucks loaded, remaining cash-flow positive, and building strong relationships with drivers and customers. When it comes to achieving this level of success, smaller fleets have always appeared to have a disadvantage compared to their larger counterparts.
Finding loads and tracking drivers can feel like more than a full-time job. This leaves minimal time to coach drivers, build strong relationships with customers and plan for long-term growth. Fortunately, dispatch tools give smaller fleets the ability to operate more efficiently. In fact, our fleet management system at FR8 provides free dispatch tools, enabling your team to find, schedule, and track loads faster.
We help smaller fleets tackle three pain points in order to optimize their business:
Keeping Trucks Loaded
The most common concern facing small and medium-sized fleets is keeping all trucks loaded. Unfortunately, we often find a load with an ideal route just to discover the broker or shipper is demanding a pretty unfair price.
To avoid this problem, you should prepare before entering into a pricing negotiation. First, it’s helpful to get a good sense of current market rates for the lanes you’re searching. With this information, you will be better prepared to negotiate a fair rate.
Second, have a good understanding of your expenses. Understanding your break-even number will better position you to make bids that are low enough to be competitive but high enough to be profitable. This small amount of preparation for every load will quickly pay off.
Building and Maintaining Customer Relationships
Communicating with the people you rely on is essential for moving forward with your business. This includes your drivers and your customers. Empathizing with your drivers can encourage them to provide their best service and stay in your workforce. Understanding your customer’s concerns can build your credibility and keep them coming back to you.
Once you can sustain your fleet’s baseline costs, it’s time to start looking for recurring clients. It’s best to, first, find clients that match your fleet’s services, then, start reaching out to them directly, whether by phone or email. Though time-consuming, this approach will help you narrow down the list of people you need to contact and save effort in the long run. Some places to start looking for clients can include local businesses and supermarkets, industry groups, and even the destinations you find on load boards.
Organizing Your Business
After you start to create reliable partnerships and secure more loads, you may begin to consider expanding your business. This stage can involve adding more trucks, working with more shippers, hiring more drivers, and marketing your business. It also requires a good sense of how to keep operating costs low while increasing your profits. At this point, it may be necessary to look into ways to better organize your back office.
Streamlining your business operations is not only good for bringing in more money. Spending less time on business also means more time for other areas of your life. Whether it’s more quality time with family, paying more attention to your health, or worrying less about the future, having more control over your fleet can benefit you both financially and personally.
Going from focusing on daily costs to outlining plans for the future may be overwhelming at first. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping you stay competitive and informed. For more helpful articles click here.