When the leaves are turning and the frost is on the pumpkin, it’s time for…wait for it…a business plan!
It’s hard to believe that the summer has come and gone. It seems like only yesterday that I was dusting off the clubs.
This is the time of year that my boss handcuffs me to the desk and demands I supply him with a detailed analysis of the trucking market and where it’s going.
After lengthy conversations with the guys in the corner offices, I’m sent back to my desk and told to come back with a budget that accurately reflects what our revenues and expenses will be for the coming year.
Hopefully, our revenues will be more than our expenses and I’ll continue to be gainfully employed.
As much as I despise the whole process, I know it’s necessary. Without a business plan and accurate budget, any business would have a hard time surviving, especially during tough times.
Today’s market conditions certainly present a challenge. Owner/operators need to be at the top of their game. If they’re not, turning a decent profit at the end of the day is going to be a challenge.
Unfortunately, many feel they know everything there is to know about their business and aren’t interested in suggestions on how to improve their bottom line.
For those with an open mind, there are a number of excellent business consultants who specialize in helping owner/operators. Most are reputable, but like any business, some are better than others.
Before you sign on the bottom line, ask for references. It’s not unlike hiring a contractor. Look for someone who has got the experience.
The Canadian Trucking Human Resources Council also produces a series of online owner/operator and dispatcher business courses that should be considered. These can be accessed through its Web site at www.cthrc.com.
The cost for its owner/operator course is $195 and the beauty of it is that you can set your own learning schedule.
In addition to teaching you how to manage expenses, it offers some great tips on negotiating contracts.
It also provides you with a spreadsheet that calculates your bottom line on any job.
The average time to complete this course is 40 hours. Not a lot of time to invest in something so important.
Regardless of where you look for help, get it.
As business conditions change, so should you.
– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-510-5123.