How to Control Your Trucking Expenses as an Owner-Operator

The market size of the General Freight Trucking (Truckload) industry, measured by revenue, was $91.4bn in 2022, making it extremely competitive.

But being a successful owner-operator and running a trucking business is no easy feat. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication, as well as the ability to manage multiple tasks and responsibilities. Not only do you have to ensure that your trucks are running smoothly, but you also need to stay on top of customer demands, safety regulations, and financial requirements.

Running this type of business can also be very expensive. With the cost of owning a truck, or multiple trucks, combined with fuel prices, insurance rates, and truck maintenance, your profits can quickly be impacted. Knowing how to keep expenses under control and budget is important for any business, but as an owner-operator, it is especially important to learn to balance your priorities.

With the right planning and technology, there are ways you can create operational efficiency to help control your trucking expenses. 

In the article below, we share some of the best foolproof ways to manage and control your trucking expenses as an owner-operator and maximize profitability.

Control Your Fuel Costs

Fuel is a major expense for your trucking business, but it’s also a necessity. Budgeting for fuel is not a problem, as there are many ways to save on fuel that is intended for vehicle operators, including exploring options like what is a fleet card.

Get a fuel card 

Fuel cards are a great way for owner-operators to pay for fuel at a discounted price, which can be a flat percentage of the total purchase or monthly rebates. Owner-operators should expect to pay less than the cash price when using fuel cards. 

Keep in mind that the majority of these cards are only valid at certain fuel stations. However, the network is extensive. Some cards can be used at locations outside the network but with a lower discount. Before choosing the best fuel card for truckers, consider the networks available along your route as well as the stations you visit the most.

Be aware of your speed

Fuel mileage will decrease once your truck reaches its optimal speed. This is usually around 60 mph. You’re wasting money and fuel if you exceed this speed. A slight reduction in speed on the highway can reduce fuel consumption and add only a few minutes of travel time.

Consider the rolling resistance when buying tires

To minimize fuel consumption, you should make an informed tire purchase. Higher-quality tires will cost more initially, but they’ll last longer and have a better grip on the tread. This can result in considerable fuel savings.

Consider Using TMS

Trucking owner-operators can benefit greatly from using a transportation management system (TMS). It can help them streamline their operations and improve the efficiency of their business. TMS provides a wide range of features that can help trucking owner-operators save time and money, such as route optimization, real-time tracking, automated invoicing, and more. With TMS, trucking owner-operators can reduce costs, increase revenue, and maximize profits. It is an essential tool for any trucking business looking to stay competitive in the industry.

Keep an Eye on Insurance Costs

Insurance in the trucking sector is mandatory. There are ways you can reduce your insurance rates while still having comprehensive coverage.

That’s why you should shop around to find the best rate before you make a choice. This is also something you should do annually since rates are always changing. Managing your compliance, safety, and accountability (CSA) score is another way to reduce insurance costs. Having good safety habits and a clean driving record can also help you save money on insurance premiums.

Create Your Route

Trucking businesses can save money by arranging the most efficient route to every destination. Trucks are often dispatched along main roads only to specific delivery locations. Fleet managers may not be aware of alternate routes, which are shorter and require fewer stops.

There are also mobile applications that help you avoid traffic, roadworks, higher-priced fuel stations, etc., and find alternate routes to your final destination. You can use mobile apps to manage your deliveries more efficiently and run through more convenient routes.

Ensure Timely Maintenance

A mechanical failure without a safety net can be costly or even cause you to lose your business. Create a maintenance plan to keep your equipment running smoothly and avoid major breakdowns that can turn into bigger expenses.

Always check the oil level before each load. In addition, make sure the tires are in good condition and have the right tire pressure as this can save on fuel. Also, make sure all fluids are filled up before a trip.

Final Thoughts

As a trucking owner-operator, you must be able to control your costs for you to boost your profits. Even in tough economic conditions, cutting excess costs and improving efficiency can help your business grow. To lessen your expenses, make sure to control fuel costs, plan your routes, be proactive with your maintenance, and consider your insurance costs.

Steven Hatman
Steven Hatman

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