As the COVID pandemic continues to impact both domestic and global supply chains, trucking owner-operators and fleet managers are still trying to make effective, lasting changes. The difficulty for most likes in developing actionable solutions while finding ways to compensate for lost wages and interruptions. Throughout 2021 and 2022, the focus should lie on improving management as much as possible, staying in open communication with both drivers and clients and continually evaluating your business model.
In April 2020, the trucking industry took a hit and there is still a massive trucker shortage that threatens the stability of the entire industry. Supply chains have been thrown off course, price inflation is making it harder for consumers to afford basic necessities and the future as a business owner may feel more unstable than ever. Despite slow but steady progress in vaccination, it will likely take several more years for truckers and fleet owners to rebound. As you work toward reshaping your business model to meet the changing workforce, here are some tips to help you build greater security.
Expand Your Recruiting Efforts
In addition to job listings on the usual sites, consider advertising through other mediums as well. Appeal to female truck drivers, and become a part of the movement to diversify and expand the entire industry. Social media marketing can be a highly effective tool in recruiting. In addition to advertising the jobs you have open; you can also build a strong image of your company’s culture. What makes driving for you worth it? What benefits do you offer? How do you provide what people need the most, like security and growth? Do not try things like offering to pay employees off the books just to get them in the door. Often waiting for quality recruits is the best bet for sustainability.
Target Niche Loads
With a lot of competition among smaller fleets and industry dominance from major companies, you’ll need to position yourself strongly in a particular area. Niche marketing has been around for decades, but now, it is becoming a matter of business survival rather than a growth strategy. Look for niches in your current market that offer more consistent work with less competition. This can give you more room to grow financially while continuing to expand in other areas as well. Securing cashflow, however, should be your primary focus in recovery efforts. You have to make up what’s been lost, but not at the expense of giving up on future profits. It’s a bit of a juggling act, so you’ll need to be highly specific about what your plans are for the next year.
Reduce Unnecessary Costs
Driving incidents and collisions cause unnecessary financial loss. In addition to costing more money, they also tend to delay deliveries or pick-ups and hinder your entire operations. Having truck dash cams are one way to start saving money while offering greater protection for drivers. With real-time incident detection and preventative in-cab coaching, you can implement these devices in all your vehicles to make the workplace safer and protect your bottom line.
Consider Outsourcing Office Work
If you find yourself drowning under mountains of paperwork or falling behind on customer service, look for affordable freelancers to help. Being able to haul loads only makes up a fraction of a successful trucking business. Your company has to be just as efficient behind the scenes as your drivers have to be on the road. Consider recruiting a full-time dispatcher and using freelancers for less critical work. There are plenty of professionals online that can perform customer service jobs or act as assistants without costing you thousands of dollars a month. The real reason you should look into outsourcing some work is to improve your overall operations. This prevents any major oversights or problems with time tracking, dispatching and scheduling that can take a company under.