“This here’s the Rubber Duck.” In 1975, some forty-two years ago, the song “Convoy” hit the airwaves and became a number one hit song. It told the story of some “outlaw” truckers who tore up their “swindle sheets” dumping them on the scales as they bypassed weigh stations, and roared through state police and National Guard roadblocks at 98MPH! All this done while they talked to each other on their CB radios.
A lot has changed since then. Today’s long haul driver is a professional businessman, or businesswoman. Highway safety is a very important part of this professionalism. It was this emphasis on highway safety that lead to the creation of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The CVSA is an association of North American governmental jurisdictions dedicated to enforcement of uniform safety inspections. Founded in 1980, the CVSA covers the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Every year they conduct an international enforcement event, inspecting commercial motor vehicles and their drivers. Each year, there is an emphasis on a different category of violation.
CVSA’s 2017 International Roadcheck Enforcement Event will take place over three days in June; 6/6 to 6/8. This year’s event will place special emphasis on cargo safety. Nothing is quite as thrilling as driving down an Interstate and seeing a flatbed load of train car axles break loose and come flying toward you at 80 MPH.
Inspectors will be primarily conducting the 37-step North American Level I Inspection, checking both the driver and the vehicle. This is the most thorough roadside inspection CVSA gives. This year, there will be special attention paid to cargo safety.
Drivers will be required to show their drivers licenses, shipping documentation, hours of service documentation, and registration. Inspectors will also be checking for the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. The vehicle itself, and its many operating systems, goes through a rigorous inspection. International Roadcheck is the world’s largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles. Every minute during the Roadcheck Event, 17 trucks or busses are inspected across North America. Since this program began in 1987, over 1.5 million roadside inspections have been conducted.
If the vehicle successfully passes the CVSA inspection, the inspector will affix a CVSA decal on the windshield. Vehicles displaying the decal are generally not subject to re-inspection for three months.
In addition to the Annual International Roadcheck Enforcement Events, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, through its trained governmental inspectors, conducts an additional 4 million inspections. These are based on procedures and criteria created by CVSA, known as the North American Standard Inspection Program. The CVSA is administered by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation. This group ensures that vehicle and driver safety criteria are uniform throughout North America.
New technologies and levels of training have enhanced the professionalism of the trucking industry. The CVSA works on keeping everyone safe. The days of “a Jimmy haulin’ hogs,” and “callin’ all trucks” to “go a-huntin’ bear” are gone.
When you absolutely have to make sure you make the delivery on time…
Spring season is just around the corner and owner operator truck drivers across the country know this is the peak season for produce shipping. The ripple-effect of the season affects almost every sector in the industry, even those not directly related to produce shipping. Status Transportation became one the best trucking companies for owner operators by recognizing and seizing opportunities like these for its owner operators.
Load rates during produce season
During produce season it might be more difficult for shippers to find trucks readily available to haul non-perishable goods therefore creating a short-term truck shortage. Most truckers are running loads from farms to wholesalers or food manufacturing companies. As a result of this shortage, there is a rise in load rates across the board including loads not related to produce shipping. This is one of the seasons when independent truckers can have the highest paying owner operator jobs.
Preparing for the season
First of all, as a rule of thumb to be prepared for any season, you should make sure your truck is in tip-top condition by staying on top of your truck and trailer maintenance. Produce is a time-sensitive commodity that requires you to make sure you will be able to deliver on schedule. That being said, make sure to take care of any mechanical issues in order to avoid any unexpected mechanical breakdowns. Take some time to address any major repairs or maintenance so you can run confidently knowing your rig will be reliable when accepting one of these time-sensitive loads.
Vented dry vans
Drivers leasing to owner operator trucking companies don’t necessarily require to have a reefer trailer to transport produce. Vented vans allow for air to flow freely, enabling truckers to run loads that otherwise would require a reefer trailer. In fact, there are many goods that are transported in vented vans like corn, watermelons, pumpkins, potatoes, onions and nursery stock.
Adjust your running strategy
Increase your owner operator revenue by adjusting your running strategy accordingly. Communicate with your dispatcher ahead of time and plan a running strategy that will put you in the best position to run seasonal loads. Many owner operators tend to prefer one region of operation and stick to it based on the number of tolls, traffic or how close it is from home. In order to monetize from the spring season, it is important to adjust your region of operation.
According to a recent report by the United States Department of Agriculture, the top ten city destinations are:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Baltimore, Maryland
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Chicago, Illinois
- Dallas, Texas
- Los Angeles, California
- Miami, Florida
- New York, New York
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Seattle, Washington.
Status Transportation reviews dispatching strategies on a continuous basis adjusting its game plan with the purpose of helping drivers to increase their revenue. The trucking industry is a fast moving environment in which you need to make quick decisions, so be open to new regions of operation, trust your dispatcher and move depending on what goods are trending and pretty soon you’ll see an increase in your owner operator pay.
Written by Erik Chavez (Status Transportation)
Here at Steelhead Finance, we take pride in the quality of services to our clients as well as our ability to create an enjoyable environment for our team. That’s exactly what we are… a team. We work together to effectively solve problems and create new opportunity in order to grow the businesses we work with every day. With this standard, it’s clear why our own employees have voted for us in the Oregon Business Magazine – 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon for the second year in a row. Not only that, but we ranked seventh for 2017!
As a trucking factoring company established in 1981, the Steelhead team members seem to really appreciate our ability to collectively work hard to give top-notch customer service. We recognize how much our clients rely on what we do for them. We are reminded each day that the littlest thing can go a long way. While we definitely hunker down to meet regular deadlines, train to become better at what we do, and maintain necessary communications, we also strive to incorporate an element of fun that creates the right balance of Steelhead Finance culture.
Among many other in-office competitions, the team had a great time competing in a HORSE basketball tournament with prizes up for grabs this last year. Even better, the CEO was leading the charge in tracking the bracket and scheduling! We had regular barbeque sessions throughout the year with top-tier bratwursts, chicken, and all the sides. When you mix in the other regular lunches provided you can tell the company really cares about the employees when it comes to the little things that make a big difference with a staff.
In an era where many small and medium-size businesses are downsizing the benefits packages, the owners of Steelhead Finance have decided to retain a very competitive array of benefits. This consists of one of the best medical programs in Southern Oregon, dental, vision, 401k with matching, 50% off gym membership, and automotive discounts.
We appreciate our many trucking clients, our vendors, and the factoring company crew that makes it all possible… each member of Steelhead. They aim to do more than punch in and out for paycheck. With our mission and values, we believe in achieving something more to better ourselves and the people we work with everyday… inside and outside our building walls.
Cheers to another amazing year!
There has been a lot of buzz regarding the introduction of Electronic Log Devices (ELD) rule. From recent studies, it has been identified that most of the drivers have mixed emotions when it comes to the usage of electronic logs when compared to paper logs. In other words, some drivers prefer electronic logs whereas others prefer to stick to the paper logs. People who are used to paper logs find it a challenging task to move to paper logs as well.
What is the Electronic Log Device, or ELD?
The simplest of explanations, ELD is the solution that enables drivers in the transportation industry easily track the hours of service to maintain HOS compliance. All CDL drivers will be required to use an ELD by December 2017 in order to maintain records in order to stay in compliance with the Hours of Service rule.
What does the Electronic Log Device need to do?
There are specific technical qualifications that each added device must feature:
- It must connect to the engine of the truck to ensure it records when the truck is in motion
- The driver must be able to log in and select On-duty, or On-duty Not Driving – must be automatically selected based on the movement of the truck
- The device must be able to display a Record of Duty Status to ensure the driver can easily see hours in a day
- Provide data that can be sent out to law enforcement
- Ensure the device meets the appropriate stipulation
Using an ELD to save time
The most prominent benefit associated with electronic logs is the ability to pre-plan all the trips in advance. This will assist the truck drivers to stay away from frustration and make their lives easy. On average, a truck driver fills out 240 RODS in a given year. An ELD can potentially reduce the amount of time drivers take to log their Hours of Service by up to 19 hours per year.
It can also help them to save a considerable amount of money throughout the entire journey. As a result, it would financially benefit the trucking company in the long run. This helps debunk the common misconception that the incorporation of ELDs will increase the likelihood of owner/operators out of business due to the perceived cost to get things in order. After making the switch to the ELDs, you won’t be required to round up to the nearest 15 minutes, but instead to the nearest minute resulting in more accurate miles logged.
What can I expect to pay to incorporate an ELD?
Years ago many fleets paid upwards of $2,500 per device. Today, technology and performance has only gotten better and more affordable. As hardware costs have decreased the prices for the common ELD have dropped significantly. FMCSA estimates that the cost of an ELD will be $495 per truck on an average annual basis.
Am I being watched?
Many assume that the information will be transmitted to law enforcement and/or DOT automatically. The truth is an ELD is simply replacing the paper logbook. No data is being transmitted to trigger any violations. There are also privacy provisions in place to give the drivers more peace of mind. When it comes down to it, the DOT will not be playing big brother to monitor your every move. It will allow a faster roadside inspection and maintain a higher level of accuracy.
Will my smartphone work as an ELD?
A smartphone or tablet by itself will not suffice to meet ELD requirements. In order to meet compliance, the device must be certified and synchronized with the vehicle’s engine.
How Factoring Helps
- $250 Fuel Card (just for getting started with us)
- Same-Day Funding on Your Invoices
- Top Fuel Card Discounts
- Fuel Advances
- National Tire Discounts
- Free Loadboard Trial
- Premier Borker List
- Equipment & Service Discounts
- No Minimum Factoring Requirements
- Quick Account Setup Process
- Personal Account Representative
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Do I need a dispatch service?
Doing your own dispatching is very tedious and beyond stressful. Thankfully there are skilled professionals that have dispatch services to help you stay on the road without the headache. They will look through the endless loads and call all the possibilities so you don’t have to. They will handle the back and forth with the brokers to negotiate the best possible rate for you. They deal with the broker setups and build you a carrier packet. A dispatch service will coordinate your loads to keep you rolling while your truck is making money. Some will also do your billing for you, which will either do your invoicing or provide your factoring company with the correct paperwork.
What dispatch service do I choose?
While all independent services are different, the main purpose is the same. Choosing the right company is extremely important. The quality of your dispatcher should be a top priority to ensure that your company thrives in this competitive industry. Having a poor dispatch department can ultimately result in your business failing. It is imperative to choose this part of your team very wisely.
Are their services right for you?
First, find a service that has experience in the same field as your company. You wouldn’t have your mechanic book loads for your truck, nor would you have a dispatcher overhaul your equipment. Ask them questions about what they specialize in and to give you comparable figures as an example. If you cannot find a dispatch service that has experience in your specific field, use your common sense. Some may have enough knowledge to succeed in areas they are not familiar with.
Is the company reputable?
Consider companies you have heard of before. Word of mouth is usually better than finding them at the top of the list on google. When a company is doing good things, you will usually hear the buzz going around. You can go to forums or Facebook groups to get real opinions on companies. Also, keep in mind that if a reputable company has referred you to another company you are probably headed in the right direction.
Should I sign a contract?
The answer is simple. NO! Hiring an independent dispatch service should make you more profit, save you time and stress, or both. If they are not performing in such a manor there is no reason why you should be locked in a contract with them. This is a red flag and automatically says they may not be confident in their services.
What is a fair rate?
Rates are the last thing you should consider but the subject is a huge factor. Most companies will be comparable to each other. Rates that sound too good to be true typically are too good to be true. There is a cost of operation, just as a truck has cost of operation. If the rates are extremely low, odds are they won’t be in business very long. Don’t be fooled into outrageous rates and fees either. There are many dispatch services that have free setup without monthly minimums.
Written by Brandon Martin Co-Owner of Hammerdown Dispatch LLC
How to get paid fast and grow your business in 2017?
2017 is finally here! This past year we watch a crazy political season, cars driving themselves, drones delivering packages, and Angelina and Brad making the split (we all knew it was going to happen).
Every New Year gives us a chance to analyze the past year and prepare ourselves for a more profitable and successful year. If you are involved in the transportation industry, you should know that getting paid in a timely manner is one of the most important things for those who want to grow their business. Whether you’re looking to incorporate invoice factoring to the equation or make adjustments in your terms, it is important to carefully analyze your business model for optimal success when starting a trucking company or looking for growth opportunities.
If there are any delays or issues related to payment of invoices, then this situation will eventually lead to cash flow issues too. This is especially true for those who have to deal with their business creditors too. As the payments start accumulating, you will start wasting your precious time on collecting debts instead of working on your business growth. Don’t let this 2017 turn into a difficult year and follow some tips that can help you get paid fast and grow your business in 2017.
- Highlighting Payment Terms
Before sending an invoice to any client, make sure that the payment terms are highlighted, understandable and clear. Just to be sure that every client understands them, feel free to add a payment due date on every invoice.
- Invoice Accurately
This 2017, do your best and double check your invoices before sending them. Sending incorrect invoices will not only cause confusion and lead to delays in payment, but it will also ruin your reputation. In case you are providing different products or you are providing complex services, break down all these items into separate lines. This is a good way to double check the invoice and to help the clients understand what exactly they are paying for. In the end, make sure that you are delivering the invoice to the right person.
- Invoice on a Regular Basis
Many successful companies are invoicing on specific dates every month so they can get paid much faster. For instance, some of them are sending invoices every Monday or every 10th of the month. However, in case you are working with many different clients, on many different projects, it would best to send the invoices right after you are done with your job.
- Be Unique
Use the experience of other trucking companies that don’t have such problems. Namely, it turns out that providing incentives can improve payment rates. For instance, by stating that if the client pays the invoice in less than ten days they’ll get a certain discount you can expect increased payment rates. Of course, when working with the bigger brokers, we don’t always get to determine the parameters.
- Use the Help of a Factoring Company
As we have mentioned before, thinking about these payments and wasting your resources to make sure that your delayed payments are completed can slow down your business. If you want to grow your business this 2017, you should think about hiring a professional factoring company specialized in trucking factoring like Steelhead Finance. Top factoring companies like Steelhead can help you with invoice factoring (getting paid faster), credit checking, receivables tracking, and collections and removing a lot of the headache from your day to day. They can provide a peace of mind and help you focus on things that can help you strengthen your brand and expand your business.