Friday, 27 February 2015

Trucking Nation Podcast: 12. Minimum Age for Drivers, CMCA, and Conway Truckload

Trucking Nation, spring is almost here! Just that thought puts me in a good mood. I'm not even worried about allergies; I just want some warmer weather. Hopefully the roads haven't been too bad in your neck of the woods. I do have a great show to help you laugh the stress away. Mainly due to a new sound boards, but I don't get carried away with random noises - I promise. Jason Snow is back this week with your sports update and we have a brand new association and company of the week, so let's get started by clicking that Play button!

Here's The Rundown
ATA's 2015 Agenda 
The ATA has published their 2015 agenda and one topic peaked my interest - Minimum age for drivers. I never really gave the minimum age for drivers to obtain their CDL a second thought until I saw it on the ATA's agenda. They make a good point for lowering the minimum age and a lot of people are talking about this topic. Some are completely against it, and others are all for it. I'm interested to see where this particular agenda goes and the arguments that will come up from it. I'll keep you posted.

Trucking Nation Association of the Week
Colorado Motor Carriers Association is the Trucking Nation Association of the Week. I was blown away by their history page and truly admire whoever wrote it. It was dramatic and honestly a joy to read, but that's not why they are the association of the week. They provide amazing benefits for their members and even have a separate Western Slope Chapter to focus on Colorado's oil and gas industry. Their Safety Management Council (SMC) is really unique in how they sponsor valuable programs and activities. Congratulations Colorado Motor Carriers Association!

Trucking Nation Company of the Week
The Company of the Week goes to.....Con-way Truckload! They say, "When Con-way Truckload finds good drivers, we want to keep them". Con-way Truckload has a special focus on their drivers and how to benefit them in every way possible. They pride themselves in the relationship they establish with their drivers by listening to them and finding out what they need that will make their jobs as easy as possible. It's refreshing to see a company that treats their drivers as their top customer and not only focus on shipping and receiving. You're one of kind Con-way Truckload, congratulations!

A Bit of Health & Fitness Talk
Satisfying that sweet tooth can put you between a rock and a hard place if you are trying to eat healthier. I researched for what seemed like ages to find some good healthy ways to curb that sweet craving and I couldn't really find anything that would work for a trucker; seriously nothing. I don't know why I was searching so hard, I just thought there would be something I could link you to or reference. But I decided to keep it simple with some suggestions; fruits, yogurts, and dark chocolate. Fruits are perfect when you get the sweet craving, especially if they are dipped in some dark chocolate - yum! Yogurts are great too because they come in every sweet flavor imaginable. You just want to check the label and make sure they are not chock-full of sugar and preservatives. If you are like me and can't eat dairy, there are some great coconut and almond milk yogurts.

Thank you so much for listening! There is a whole lot of great stuff going on in the trucking industry so be sure to come back next week, because you never know what we will talk about. Stay safe out there and if you feeling a little down, just know warmer weather is on its way. Remember you get what you give in this world, so try to be kind and enjoy the ride. I'll talk to you soon - Misty Noel.

For more podcast fun, check out all of our Trucking Nation Podcast shows.

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Monday, 23 February 2015

Trucking Nation Podcast: 11. Highway Heroes, NMTA, & Landstar

Hi friends! I'm back Trucking Nation, and I have a very special show for you this week. It's a little different because Mr. Jason Snow, the new guy, was out of the studio so I thought it would be a good idea to keep it simple and have a little chit-chat. I'm trying some new things to get more information about Trucking Associations and Companies out to you. So without further ado, let's start the show...

Here's the breakdown
Goodyear To Announce 32nd Annual Highway Hero During MATS
I think all truckers are heroes in their own way but three particular truckers have shown us what it really means to be heroic. Clinton Blackburn, Mack Guffey, and David Fredericksen are the finalists for Goodyear's Highway Hero. I adore these guys attitude towards everything; they say they were just doing their job and the people they saved would think very much otherwise. Clinton Blackburn saved a police officer from being strangled by a prisoner in Kentucky. Mack Guffey saved a semi-conscious driver from a flame engulfed SUV, and David Fredericksen saved a woman with a broken leg and her grandchild from a flaming car accident in Mississippi. America's Trucking Nation is made up of the best drivers in the world and I'm so appreciative of everything you guys do to keep our nation moving forward. You're all heroes.

Association of the Week
National Minority Trucking Association is the very first Trucking Nation Association of the Week (insert applause). This association is an amazing resource for minority drivers who want to establish, maintain, and grow successful careers in the trucking industry. They provide educational opportunities to learn every aspect of the trucking industry including: safety and compliance, freight brokering, transportation tech, surviving roadside inspections, and so much more.

Trucking Company of the Week
Landstar is the very first Trucking Nation Company of the Week! Landstar's focus on safety and security for their drivers is unmatched in the trucking industry. They take pride in educating the public about how to drive around trucks with their No-Zone program that travels to schools, rest stops, weigh stations, and other public places. Landstar recognizes independent agents or agencies that actively support programs that improve safety with their Landstar Safety Officer Award every month.

Health & Fitness
When it hits late February, my go-getter attitude about fitness loses a little bit of momentum. As I was searching for some new inspiration, I came across an amazing story about a guy that was on his way to becoming an Olympic swimmer, and his entire life just changed. He ended becoming a trucker to fulfill his traveling spirit and noticed that a trucker's life wasn't too kind to his health. He took control and is now considered the fittest trucker in the industry. If you are looking for something to get that motivational fire blazing, check out this video.

Warmer weather is on its way Trucking Nation! Stay safe out there and remember you get what you give in this world, so try to be kind and enjoy the ride. I will talk to y'all soon - Misty Noel.

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Monday, 16 February 2015

Expense Tracking On-the-Go with TruckLogics

Tracking your expenses just got easier.

With TruckLogics, your business expenses can be recorded and maintained in just a few minutes a day, no effort required. That’s because TruckLogics isn’t just an accounting program, it’s a complete business management solution, so your income and expense tracking is integrated with other, equally-awesome features like your Address Book, Truck Zone, and Maintenance Tracker.

What does this mean for you? Well, for one, it means that you only have to pay for one program to do the job of 3 other programs or more. And two, it means there’s little to no typing involved.

When adding an expense in TruckLogics, the payee, vendor, and more can be selected from your Address Book, and the truck information from your Truck Zone. Essentially, all it takes is a few clicks to input all of the transaction details you need to keep your financials organized.

3 Ways to Record an Expense

1. The Add New Button
This is the beautiful blue button on the top right of your screen. There aren’t many things you can count on in this life, but you can count on the Add New button sticking by you. No matter where you navigate in the program, the Add New button will still be there. Simply click it, and a menu will appear. Select either the Expense or Fuel Expense icons, and you’ll be redirected to your Chart of Accounts where you can enter your expense transaction details.

2. Through a Dispatch

An expense can be added to any dispatch, saving you the trouble of having to tie the expense to a specific trip. Head over to the Dispatch section, then select the dispatch you’d like to add an expense to, and once the dispatch information is up, select the Trip Expenses tab. From within this tab, you’ll notice two icons on the top right: +Add Fuel Expense and +Add Other Expense. Choose one, and a pop-up will magically appear in which you can record your transaction details.

3. The Chart of Accounts

To add an expense directly in your Chart of Accounts, select the Accounts feature along the top menu, and then choose Expense Transactions from the dropdown menu. Then select +Add Fuel Expense or +Add Other Expense.

No matter which of these three methods you use, the end result is the same. The same expense details get recorded and saved in your Chart of Accounts. This is simply of a matter of navigating the program in the way most convenient for you.

Entering Expense Details & Splitting Expenses

Once you’ve navigated to the add expense screen, here are the details you’ll need to enter for a Fuel Expense:

  • Dispatch: First enter or Look Up the dispatch number to tie the expense with a specific trip.
  • Fuel Details: Then enter the fuel details, including the date, fuel type, fuel quantity, total cost, and odometer reading at the time of fueling.
  • Payment & Fuel Stop: Next enter the payment details, like the method of payment. Then the fuel stop information, like the address and name of the gas station, and finally, attach a scan of the receipt by clicking Choose File next to Attachments. Hit Save, and you’re good to go!

For all Other Expenses, enter the...

  • Payment Details: the date, paid by, payment method, total amount, and the Payee (select a vendor from your Address Book, or click “Add New” to enter a new vendor to save for future use)

  • Expense Details: Select the Expense Category, like Maintenance, Lumper, etc. Don’t see the category you need? Click +Add New to create a new, custom expense category. Not only can you add custom expense categories, you can also split the expense over multiple categories if need be.

    For example, if you went to a repair shop and had some maintenance tasks completed, but also a repair, you can split the expense and allot some of the money spent to Maintenance, and some to the Repair category. This way, you know specifically how much you spent on each, even though the expense is all part of a single transaction.

  • Additional Details: Finally, enter unit number of the vehicle, look up the dispatch number, and then attach a scan of the receipt by clicking Choose File. Then save, and get on with your day!

Record Expenses On-the-Go

Okay, so when I said there’s 3 ways to record an expense, I meant there’s 3 ways in the main TruckLogics program. There is, however, a 4th secret way to record expenses, and some might say it’s the most app-tastic way.

Using our free iOS or Android app, business owners–and their drivers–can record fuel and other expenses anywhere with just a few clicks. This means all of you fleet managers out there can see the expenses being accrued on the road in real time, allowing you to keep a closer eye on your bottom line for each trip.

  • To record a fuel expense, use the press Fuel Up icon: Then record the date, fuel type, quantity purchased, total of the sale, method of payment & the address of the gas station. Finally, attach a copy of your fuel receipt.
  • For all other expenses, just select the Expenses icon, and then click +Add Expense. Input the date, the Payee (select a vendor from your address book or add a new vendor), the payment method, amount, select an expense category, and finally attach an image of the receipt/invoice.

Whether you’re using the app to add fuel or other expenses, the transaction details will sync with your main TruckLogics account immediately, helping you efficiently track your income and outgo.

Are you ready to start streamlining your accounting processes? How about streamlining your accounting, maintenance tasks, trip sheets, IFTA reports, and more–all in one program! Forget using several, expensive programs to do only part of what TruckLogics can. And with price packages starting under $5 a month, you can guarantee this is a more efficient and economical solution.

See for yourself! Use promocode FEB15 to sign up for a no hassle, free 30-day trial of TruckLogics with ProMiles. There’s no credit card required, just 30 days of free business management bliss!

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Trucking Nation Podcast: 10. Trucker Hacks, Smart Parking, and Trucking Associations

Welcome to the Trucking Nation Podcast; brought to you by Can you believe we're already at episode 10? Time just flies by when you're having fun. I have a great show for you this week, as I always do, including new segments, new people, and a whole lot of fun. So just click that Play button and let's start the show...

For more information on anything you heard in the podcast, it's all below, enjoy ;)

Trucking Associations
There are a couple different types of trucking associations; state and national. Your state associations are a great resource for information services, government representations, consulting services, and training. Your national trucking associations, like OOIDA and WIT, provide you with benefits and programs on insurance, health, business, retirement, and so much more. They also fight for truckers in government on important legislative and regulatory issues. 

News Review
Ryder is offering 15 brand new truck specifications to better meet needs of female drivers. Ryder sees the increase of women joining the trucking industry and want to stay in it. They believe women entering the trucking industry could very well be the answer to solving the 'driver shortage' issue.

I touched on this issue in a previous podcast and released a great article on vaping. They did a Vaping Survey to give some numbers on how many truckers have tried vaping. There is a nice personal touch with a few stories from truckers on how vaping has changed their life. Then a doctor has some input at the end. All in all, it is a fantastic article breaking down the use of vaping by truckers and how it could be a better alternative for drivers than cigarettes. 

The FMCSA have started a six-month feasibility test 75 northbound in Tennessee, near Athens. I was very intrigued by this article because that is basically my hometown. SmartPark is this new tech being tested where drivers can make reservations for parking - so fancy. They are converting old state highway patrol truck inspection stations to create more parking for truckers where they can reserve a space in a safe area. The overall aspect of this sounds amazing and I will be following how it all works out and update you soon.

I brought in a special guest, Jason Snow, to update you on what's going on in the sports world and offer some very interesting food for thought. He also had some very interesting ideas about Valentine's Day

Trucker Hacks for Dealing with a Bad Day
Bad days happen, but you don't have to let them bring you down. Check out some great Trucker Hacks for dealing with those bad days and how to stay more positive. 

Valentine's Day
I had to through in a quick reminder that Valentine's Day is almost here. Snow had some great ideas for special things you can do for your special-someone. His best advice was to: 1. Not Forget 2. Keep it simple and from the heart. 

Thank you for coming back and giving this little ol'podcast a listen. I'm trying a few new things to freshen up the Trucking Nation Podcast, so be sure to come back next week. You never know what could happen. Don't forget to try your free trial of and see how easy it is to take your business management to the next level. Remember you get what you give in this world, so try to be kind and enjoy the ride. I will talk to you soon - Misty Noel. 

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Monday, 9 February 2015

7 Ways to Maximize Your Trucking Business: Part 2

We’re back with Part 2 of Ways to Maximize Your Trucking Business!

Previously, we discussed hacks that’ll have your transportation business running leaner and meaner, which means increased take-home and a spike in profits. 

Organizing your finances, meticulously planning trips, and increasing fuel efficiency were some of the highlights. Read more here.

But today, we’re picking back up with how to be proactive and get more loads.

Be Proactive

8. Hunt! While load boards are a great way to pick up the odd load here and there, they aren’t a source of sustainable income. Building relationships with shippers will not only bring you more consistent work, but higher-paying work. As we mentioned previously, asking for referrals is one way to make these connections, but ultimately you’ll have to sell making sales calls!

But don’t just make calls willy-nilly. Focus your energy by looking at local industry associations in the industries you’d like to work and target their member companies. For example, if you drive a reefer truck and want to work with a grocery store, target members of the National Grocers Association. Get in touch with the person in charge of shipping, and build a relationship. Set up meetings, send them a letter, email them a flyer. In short, romance them. Building a relationship like this will take time, but the end result will be far more satisfying and profitable than living load-to-load or using a load board.

Build Relationships

9. Improve Your Customer Service: Maintaining good communication is one way to ensure happy clients. An app for quick Check Calls can help keep the lines of communication open between driver, dispatch, and client, without delaying the driver at all.

Another way to improve your customer service is by offering flexible billing and payment options. Naturally, everyone is eager to get paid as soon as the load is delivered, which is understandable. After all you’ve just fronted hundreds of dollars worth of fuel to fulfill the order. However, if you’ve established an emergency fund, you can be more flexible about accepting payments 60 or 90 days after delivery, without putting a strain on your finances.

10. Provide Accurate Estimates: Quoting a customer for one amount and then billing them for a higher amount is a surefire way to shatter your credibility and squash any budding relationship between you and that client.

Obviously estimates are just that, estimates. They will not be 100% accurate, but if you encounter road restrictions, traffic, or detours, then all of that out-of-route mileage will add up to a significantly higher number than your initial estimate. This can be avoided by using a professional routing service, like ProMiles. ProMiles provides accurate address-to-address routing specifically for transportation professionals, and as such it takes all of the above into account. To streamline the trip planning process further, you can even use a business management program, like TruckLogics, that already has ProMiles built-in. This means that when you input load information, the ProMiles route will be generated automatically, saving you a few steps.

Oh, and one last thing. When creating your estimate, be sure to incorporate a FSC fee that makes you profitable on the trip there and back again with an empty truck, just in case you don’t get a load coming back.

11. Establish Strong Relationships with your Drivers: When building relationships remember, it’s not always about the client. If you are a fleet manager, having strong connections with your drivers is equally important. And yet again, communication is key. Drivers don’t appreciate being micro-managed (which is almost impossible anyway), so make it easy for them to communicate with you and your clients.

Find an app that not only allows them to check-in along their route with just a few clicks, but one that also allows them to log expenses without any hassle. This is a win-win. Win for you: You’ll know what expenses are being accrued in real-time and have a much more realistic picture of your bottom-line for that order. Win for the driver: They won’t have to worry about backlogging expenses at the end of the trip.

Finally, be sure you pay your drivers promptly and correctly, especially if you didn’t pay them a FSC upfront. Rather than using a separate accounting program, using business management software with driver pay built-in will again help you reduce wasteful data entry and streamline your payroll process significantly.

Boost Credibility

12. Deliver On-Time: Easier said than done, I know. Stuff happens, and there’s only so much you can do to prevent it. But whatever you can do to prevent it: do it! Using a program like ProMiles is clearly one way to ensure on-time delivery, but regular maintenance (see below) is another. If you’re on-top of maintenance, you greatly diminish the chances of breaking down (or getting a ticket!).

13. Pay Your Dues: We’ve already discussed paying drivers on time- very important! But it’s equally important to pay all of your bills and taxes on time. Falling behind on HVUT, IFTA, or IRP will not only accumulate unnecessary expenses in the form of penalties, it will also put your reputation at stake. Non-compliance is a serious offense, and it may result in your operating authority being revoked. Word gets around about these things, so tread carefully.

14. Be Diligent about Maintenance: Again your compliance is at stake here, so this isn’t just a matter of reputation, but a matter of safety. To ensure you complete maintenance tasks in a timely manner, use a program that offers automatic reminders for upcoming tasks. TruckLogics allows you to set the reminder once, and you then receive reminders every time after based on time passing or your odometer readings. This way, the maintenance process is entirely automated, and not dependent upon your memory. (And let’s face it, you have enough on your mind already!)

Altogether, these 14 habits form a roadmap for a successful transportation business. These are the kinds of things you knew you needed to do when you started, but maybe lost touch with over time. Being busy and sleep deprived can have that effect.

So take the time to review these 14 tips and regroup yourself. Which of these habits have you already solidly incorporated into your daily operations? In what areas do you need to improve? After you’ve taken stock, spend some time creating a plan of action, and then, start grinding! Streamline your daily processes and maximize your trucking business to start reaching the levels of success you've always dreamed of!

Missed Part 1? No problem! 7 Tips are still waiting for you...

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Friday, 6 February 2015

Trucking Nation Podcast: 9. TruckLogics, Tax Season, & Valentine's Day

Hey everybody, your favorite Trucking Nation Podcast host is back with episode 9. I love doing this podcast for you every week and as long as you keep on listening, I'll keep podcasting. This week I thought it was time to try something a little different - doing things the same way gets a bit boring, right?

In this episode:

I give you a voice guided tour of my favorite TruckLogics features and what TruckLogics can do for you to manage your business. For all my trucker wives who managage the business for your husbands, TruckLogics is perfect for you. You can customize email templates and invoices with your company logo and look very professional from the beginning of a business transaction, all the way to the final invoice and payment retrieval. Instead of me talking on and on, why don't you check it out for yourself with a free 30 day trial and let us know what you think.

Trucker Survival Guide: Tax Season
A survival guide can be written for almost anything, and tax season is no exception. You would think it would take a lot to survive tax season, but with my three simple guidelines, you will make it through tax season completely stress free. Check it out now - Trucker Survival Guide: Tax Season.

I was wondering the endless information highway, and came across an interesting YouTube channel named BigRigTalk. Trucker Jerry is part of our Canadian Trucking Nation, and posts videos that answer all kinds of questions a new trucker might have. He has also done some really cool tours of new trucks, as well as, takes you on a tour of his rig. I love seeing how truckers get inventive with storage and cooking in the cab and Jerry has some great ideas. Check him out, learn some stuff, and be entertained. Thank you Jerry for sharing your trucking knowledge with all of us.

The Truck Parking Issue
I had to talk about it. There are some great new resources to voice your opinion and to help bring more attention to this problem. A big concern is safety and where trucks are forced to park if a truck stop is full.

Valentine's Day
Are you trying to figure out what to do for your sweetheart on Valentine's Day? Well, let me tell you from a woman's perspective some great gift ideas that won't cost you a whole lot:

Video recorded messages
Read When letters
Mix CD (or tape if you want to create that vintage sound from your teenage years)
Home cooked meal

For more V-Day gift ideas, visit this great gift guide blog on

Making Valentine's Day special is super easy to do and really doesn't take too much effort on your part, just a bit of thoughtfulness and a simple I Love You will have your lady falling right into your arms.

Thank you so much for listening! I have some new segments and special guests coming soon, so come back next week for a brand new show. Remember Trucking Nation, you get what you give in this world, so try to be kind and enjoy the ride. I'll talk to you soon - Misty Noel

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Wednesday, 4 February 2015

7 Ways to Maximize Your Trucking Business: Part 1

In an industry with razor-thin margins, deluges of paperwork, and what seems like a never-ending parade of tax & registration deadlines, it’s no surprise that even the tiniest of mistakes can put a small carrier out of business.

When one tiny misstep can have such monumental consequences, it’s essential for owner-operators and small fleet owners to stay two steps ahead just to avoid falling behind.

Ultimately, the fate of all transportation companies rests on this: good habits. Cultivating good habits is the only thing that will keep you profitable and compliant in spite of your over-saturated schedule and lack of sleep. And there’s no better time to start upping your game than now.

We’re still in the first quarter of 2015! This is prime time to start incorporating healthy habits into your daily operations. Follow these 7 tips, and you’re guaranteed to be firing on all cylinders while staving off some of the industry’s most common and costly mistakes.

Organize to Prioritize

1. Your Compliance Records- This one goes without saying. Being lax with your maintenance, mileage, and fuel records will only lead to pain in the end. Fines, penalties, and revocation of your authority may ensue. None of these outcomes are good for your reputation or for your wallet either. It’s critical to get in the habit of updating your trip sheets daily, regardless of how little time you have or how tired you are. This not only saves you much more time in the end, it also eliminates the stress of last-minute recordkeeping and ensures fewer errors.

2. Your Finances- Diligently updating financial records is the only way to avoid digging your business into a deep hole of debt. If you don’t know the status of your bottom line and what you’re taking home on each load, how can you know what you have to charge clients to remain profitable? Logging your income and expenses and running frequent profit & loss reports is the first step to avoid this problem and more, but it’s not enough just be aware of your financial status–you need to be actively taking measures to change your financial status for the better.

Creating an emergency fund is one of the best ways to achieve this. Without an emergency fund, you may end up needing cash advances or factoring services just to be able to run. This creates a vicious cycle in which you only lose more and more of your hard-earned money as time goes by. Stabilizing your cash flow allows you to be self-reliant and keeps you in the driver’s seat.

Optimize Efficiency

3. Trip Planning is a Must- In addition to booking loads in advance, it’s critical to optimize your route and find the shortest way to get from point A to B, and back again . Using a professional routing service like ProMiles will help you avoid backtracking and out-of-route mileage caused by hidden surprises like road restrictions or construction detours. This not only wastes time and delays deliveries, but also burns your precious fuel. Which leads to the next good habit.

4. Increase Fuel Efficiency- Managing fuel costs is the number one problem in this industry. This alone can make or break a business. And here is where the little habits repeated daily add up to a huge difference. Maintaining proper tire pressure isn’t the only way to ensure you get decent MPG. There are other, silent MPG killers, like chrome. Having chrome in every nook and cranny may look slick, but it drives up maintenance costs and, since it weighs more, drives up your fuel use too. Slowing down is another way to keep money out of the pump and in your bank account. Driving fast may get you there quicker, but it will ultimately reduce your take home.

5. Streamline Communication- Find more efficient ways to check-in with clients and drivers. Using an app is far more efficient than making multiple phone calls, and there are several free apps available. And the payoff here is greater than just saving time, because good communication is essential for building strong relationships, the key to growing any transportation business.

Be Proactive

6. The Up’s and Down’s of Load Boards- If you’re just starting out or if you’ve hit a dry spell, load boards like can be a great resource for snagging a few loads on the fly. Sitting back and waiting for business to come to you is a surefire way to keep the drought going longer. Put yourself out there and offer a competitive price to break the cycle and get hauling.

However, don’t make load boards your bread and butter. When you find a client this way, you’re likely to only ever work with them once, which is not going to sustain your business. Moreover, you’re less likely to get high-paying loads since load boards are extremely competitive and force you to drive your prices down. To ensure a steady and healthy income what you really need are relationships with shippers. This will ensure regular loads, and typically, higher-paying loads.

7. Ask for referrals-
Another way to get more business is to ask your current clients for referrals. You can even create incentives to spur your clients to recommend you. If there’s a little something in it for them, perhaps a slight discount on their next order, they’ll be much more likely to pass your information along.

Start incorporating these 7 habits each day, and you’ll be laying the groundwork for a successful, profitable transportation business. But don’t stop there. There’s always more you can be doing to ensure your business is running at its peak.

So head over to Part 2 with 7 More Tips for Maximizing Your Trucking Business. We’ll discuss more ways to get high-paying loads, build relationships with clients and drivers, and increase your credibility.

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