Monthly Archives: August 2012

Trucking Software You Have to Have

Today, nearly every business is upgrading with new technology, and the trucking industry is no different.  Trucking software is becoming a must for any driver or company that delivers freight.  The software helps with numerous tasks, making your trucking job easier and more efficient.  However, while there are numerous trucking software companies and programs available on the market, you may not be able to use all of them, nor are all of them relevant to every type of trucking company.  Here is a look at what you need to know about trucking software.

What the software should do

There are some basic fundamentals that all trucking software should do to be useful to the user.  Keep in mind that the specialized requirements will differ from one trucking software program to the next, but this should give you a general idea of what to look for.

All trucking software should have web enabled operation.  It should also have a user interface that is simple and easy to use.  Lastly, it should be able to be integrated with the internet at each truck stop.

If you are looking for a complete trucking software program, then you will want something that is split into dispatching, accounting, and reporting tasks.  These are all needed to make sure that your operations run smoothly.

  • Dispatching module – The dispatching module should allow you to view and manage active loads.  It should allow you to add in basic details quickly and easily, as well as create duplicate loads to save time on the data entry portion.  Ideally it should allow you to create loads in advance and then manage all the loads from one point.  It should also allow the trucker to view his loads or all available loads.
  • Accounts module – This part of the trucking software program would be where you handle the client’s information, such as setting credit limits and printing invoices.  It should also include information such as payroll payments.  The data should be easy to export so that you can transfer it to your accounting programs.
  • Reporting module – You will be using your trucking software to manage information, so there should be a clear and easy way to access this as a report.  This should allow you to see statistics of individual truck drivers or customers, as well as overall totals.

Things to keep in mind

When you are shopping for a trucking software program, you want something that is easy to use and makes managing your business easier.  If you will have drivers input their own information, then you need a program that is readily understood by the average person – not something that only the IT department can figure out.  The more functional and useful a program is, the more value it is for your money.

The idea of having trucking software is to keep track of your business.  The more you know about your business, from who is driving what route to what customers order the most shipments, the better you can tailor it so that you maximize your profits.(thetruckersreport.com)

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Trucking Software: Something For Everyone

Trucking Software

As more and more truckers dive into the computer age, their reliance on technology to enable them to operate smarter has increased dramatically.  Regardless of whether you’re a fleet driver hoping to keep tabs on your miles, reimbursements, and logs, or an independent owner/operator that needs an all-in-one solution, there’s a software application for nearly everyone.

Until now, software applications came in one form — programs — that installed on your computer’s hard drive and were updated with manual data inputs.  Recently, however, a new phenomenon has begun to show up in the computer world — cloud computing.  Instead of installing on your computer’s hard drive, the user of a cloud application will access their account via the Internet by logging into their account and entering relevant information online.

Access to these cloud networks is restricted to those users with an Internet connection, but with a wireless connection as close as the nearest truck stop, rest area, or cellular telephone hookup, truckers can access their online accounts more easily than ever before.  In addition, cloud applications also enable truckers to reach information about their business anywhere they have access to the web — from any computer.

Features

Depending upon which software solution you decide upon, there are a variety of features available in the different trucking software offerings on the market.  Some of the more common features include:

Income and expenses by trip –  Because managing your cashflow is dependent upon keeping tabs on your income and expenses, the overwhelming majority of the trucking software applications utilize a per trip recording interface — which makes the most sense because that’s how you generate income and incur expenses.

Electronic Log Books (e-logs) — While you may still prefer keeping paper logs, many of the software programs have features that allow you to input you log data for electronic logbook record-keeping and compliance purposes.  Some will make note of e-log errors and will automatically generate “gotcha” letters, which gives you the opportunity to correct any errors before an enforcement officer does it for you during a roadside inspection or during a D.O.T. compliance review.

Settlement Reconciliation — Reconciling settlement sheets can be a time-consuming process when done manually, but by entering information from settlement sheets, your computer can cross-reference information previously entered in other sections of the software to ensure that all expenses have properly been reimbursed by your carrier.

Customer Records — One of the biggest challenges owner/operators face is keeping track of their customer information.  Most trucking software applications offer you the ability to maintain customer records, either through a basic software feature or through an upgraded version of the software.

Driver Records — While many owner/operators are one-man (or woman) operations, some owner/operators need to maintain driver records for a hired co-driver or other drivers that they employ.

Fuel Reports — You may be hundreds or thousands of miles from home, but you’re still responsible for maintaining accurate records of your trips so that you can file fuel reports.  This feature gives you the ability to compile the necessary information to compile your fuel reports, while minimizing your expenses.

IFTA Reports — Any driver that has ever spent hours reconstructing trips in order to comply with IFTA mileage reporting requirements knows that this can be a real pain in the neck.  However, IFTA reports are easier to generate because some of these trucking software applications take information from your trip sheets and automatically export it to the IFTA reporting feature of the software — freeing you to drive.

Truck and Trailer Maintenance Records — Not only are good maintenance records critical to your ability to properly maintain your equipment, it is also important for D.O.T. compliance purposes.  Another reason that this is important is because your equipment will eventually be traded-in for newer equipment — and accurate record can help to ensure that your trade-in allowance is as high as possible.

Dispatch software – It’s no secret that the larger your fleet, the greater your need for software with greater performance capabilities.  Having the ability to handle all aspects off truck and load dispatching is critical to your success – and dispatch software provides many of the features that can enable you to manage all of the moving parts of your business so that your business can operate much more efficiently.(truckersreport.com)

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APPLYING FOR A TRUCK DRIVING JOB TIPS

Tell the truth

Whenever you are talking to a recruiter about a CDL job, or at a job interview, it is important to be honest from the very beginning.  Even if you have some negative information to share, it is better to put it out in the open yourself than to have it come to light later on.

Have your information ready

When you are applying to a number of trucking jobs, it is important to have some information ready.  Some of this may be on your resume, and if it isn’t, make sure that you have it handy.  You will need:

  • Your current CDL, which should be non-expired and have your correct home address
  • At least three years of work history, though more is sometimes wanted by recruiters.  If you were not driving during part of this period, be sure to have other professional references that can speak to your working character.
  • Names and contact information of all trucking companies and employers that you have worked for.  It is a good idea to talk to former employers beforehand to let them know you are using them as a reference.
  • If any of the former employers are unreachable or out of business, you should have other proof of work history.  This can include letters of reference, DOT numbers, and W2 tax forms from trucking jobs.
  • A copy of your driving record.
  • Proof of eligibility for work

Know what the recruiters know

Before you can obtain a job in the trucking industry your potential employer will run a background check.  This will include pulling any criminal records, copies of your driving records, your DAC report with previous truck driving jobs, accident history, and more.  It is important to know what is included in that report and be forthcoming with the information before the recruiter finds it.  If the recruiter believes that you were being dishonest or hiding something during the interview, it could cost you the job.  Also, if there is any information in the background check that is false, you will want to get it taken care of before interviewing.

Drug testing

Most reputable companies will do drug screening on potential and current employees.  If interested, the company may require you to take a drug test on the spot to prove that you are drug free. (truckersreport.com)

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What everybody ought to know about Trucking Insurance

A crucial part of a career on the road is making sure that you have trucking insurance. There are many type of trucking insurance policies available, but one of the most important out there is liability insurance. Here is a look at some of the different types of insurance options and what you need to look for.

Primary Liability Insurance

To stay legal while on the road, you will need primary trucking liability insurance as a minimum. This type of trucking insurance covers the injuries and damage that would occur to the other driver and their vehicle in an accident. As a truck driver, your primary liability insurance must be at least $750,000 worth of coverage. What that means is if you are in an accident, your insurance will cover up to $750,000 of damage or injury to the other person and their vehicle if it is found that you were at fault.

Keep in mind that if you are found at fault for more than this amount, the other party’s lawyer may go after your personal wages and savings. Because of this, when you are shopping for trucking insurance, you might want to consider more than primary trucking liability insurance. Also trucking liability insurance will not cover you or your vehicle in an accident.

General liability insurance

This type of trucking insurance covers your truck when you are not on the road. General trucking liability insurance covers accidents in parking lots, rest stops, and while loading or unloading. It can also cover risks like theft and vandalism.

The type of trucking insurance may come as one general package or several smaller ones. Talk to your trucking insurance company about the types of general trucking liability insurance that they offer to see what will cover you and your truck the best.

Non-trucking liability insurance

While you are on the road, your truck is covered by the company that you are working for. However, during your off times when your truck is parked in your driveway, you are responsible for the trucking insurance. This type of trucking liability insurance protects your truck whenever you are not working.

The law and trucking liability insurance

When shopping for trucking liability insurance, it is important to keep in mind what your legal requirements are. Trucking insurance is mandatory in all 50 states, and not having proper insurance could cost you pricey fines or your license. It is a way for the state to protect drivers when they are in an accident, and also protects the driver of the at-fault vehicle from having to use personal property to cover the damages that they are responsible for.

When you are shopping for truck liability insurance, you will want to make sure that you meet the legal insurance requirements put out by the ICC/MC Authority. If you are confused, you should talk to your insurance agent or your local DOT representative to make sure that you have enough liability coverage for your vehicle.(www.truckingreport.com)

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Schools to Help with your Trucking Career

The truck driving school that you choose to attend could have a tremendous impact on your future career.  While there are numerous truck driving schools to choose from, they are not created equal – and failure to get your certification from a good school could make it hard for you to get hired.

Things to consider when selecting a school

There are certain things that will make a good truck driving school stand out from a mediocre one.  Some things to look for include:

  • Accreditation – a good school will have sought out accreditation by an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education
  • Certification – meets or exceeds the Professional Truck Driver Institute standard, including a least 44 hours of actual drive time
  • Cost – consider the cost of the school in relation to the number of hours behind the wheel, and look for hidden fees that may not be included, such as obtaining a permit, drug screening, insurance, and more
  • Drive time – you should have at least 44 hours of actual driving time, not including observation time
  • Equipment – well-maintained recent model tractors and trailers, including weighted trailers
  • Facilities – clean classrooms with audio-visual capabilities, a library, and a practice driving range
  • Financing – reputable schools will have financing options
  • Instructors – teaching staff should have at least three years of driving experience, as well as educational experience
  • Placement assistance – while no school can guarantee you a job, they can provide you with assistance in finding one after graduation
  • Program length – a good truck driving school will be at least a month long to provide you with adequate drive time
  • Student to truck ratio – the best schools will place just one student per truck, giving you individualized attention

Driving schools to consider

Some truck driving schools stand out above the rest.  There are three top national truck driving schools you should consider; Roadmaster, Smith & Solomon, and TDDS Technical Institute

Roadmaster offers a three week course with nationally known, quality training.  The training includes driving field courses for hands-on training.  They also offer tuition assistance for qualified students, job placement assistance, and instructors with real-world experience.

Smith & Solomon has trained, graduated, and placed over 20,000 students to date.  They offer behind-the-wheel training, including on the road and in the training yard, a comprehensive safety training program, and written permit examination.  Training options vary, including 4-week full time courses, 10-week night courses, and 9-week weekend courses so you can train when it is convenient for you.

TDDS Technical Institute offers a variety of programs, including programs for new drivers and programs for current drivers who want to upgrade their skills.  Classroom training includes CDL knowledge, D.O.T information, map reading, cargo handling, trip planning, accident reporting, and more.  Hands-on training includes proper use of mirrors, brakes, shifting, road position, distance judgment and more.  Maneuverability and skills training includes pre-trip inspection, turning, parking, backing, and more.  For drivers with experience, TDDS offers refresher courses, alcohol testing, controlled substance recognition training, hazardous materials training, continuing education, and more.(truckersreport.com)

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