11:05:55 am, Categories: economy, starting , Tags: buy a truck, truck financing

While the current financial climate is more favorable for truckers than some other professions in the logistics industry, many banks are still reluctant to give out loans and financing for owner-operators. Sometimes it is better to get commercial truck financing rather than approaching a lender since the truck itself makes for excellent collateral.

Start by considering the benefits of purchasing a used truck rather than a new model. Since a brand-new, straight off the factory floor eighteen wheeler can cost as much as a quarter million dollars, it represents a major investment for any driver. What's more, a new truck loses tens of thousands of dollars in value the second that it rolls off of the dealer's lot. With the glut in truck purchasing, however, it has never been easier to buy a used eighteen wheeler. Prices are low that the saved money can be used towards a down payment or upgrades for the truck's interior.

Remember the expenses that will prevent you from being able to be pay off large amounts of the truck at once. One of the major concerns for any trucker in any eighteen wheeler is the soaring costs of gasoline, costs that are sure to keep steadily increasing in the near future. The expense of transporting freight makes it difficult from making regular payments towards a larger commercial loan. Start small rather than going for the highest-end option.

Like any other type of loan or insurance, you need to look around at multiple sources in order to get the best rates available on commercial truck financing. Prime lenders will give good interest rates for truckers with quality credit. Remember that lenders are always looking for customers with good credit, so do not be shy about refusing offers. Those whose credit is less than stellar, on the other hand, should check around with different financing companies. Since sub-prime loans also apply to vehicle payments, you can apply for one to pay off your trucks financing.

Prepare everything you need for commercial truck financing so that you will have documents on hand for the final approval. You will need a down payment that can be anywhere between 10 and 20%, so the less expensive the eighteen-wheeler, the lower the down payment will be. Bring your license and proof of hauling contracts so that the lender knows that this enterprise will make money. While lenders can directly access your credit score, it never hurts to bring along a hard copy.

- Guest Writer

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  06:13:26 pm, Categories: economy

If You're Not Buying Trucks Now, You'll Hate Yourself Later.

The recent economic events have brought a great amount of uncertainty to the financial markets, but they have also brought a number of more personally relevant changes that are not often mentioned on the news. For example, the prices of commercial vehicles have begun to increase dramatically due to the changes in the market place and the financial markets around the world.

As people begin to tighten their wallets and knuckle down, the prices of all kinds of commodities and vehicles have begun to increase, including those of heavy duty trucks like Freightliner trucks or Kenworth trucks. This article will discuss some of the reasons why now might paradoxically be the best time to buy trucks despite the financial uncertainty that seems to be everywhere.

The reasons behind the price increases in commercial trucks are not intuitive, but with a bit of thought, they do make sense. When the stock market becomes less stable, the typical actions taken by people and businesses are not that different: both tend to stop buying, producing, or spending in general. The approach taken instead is to wait and see.

This means that fewer trucks are going to be made as manufacturers wait to see what the market will do. It also means that dealers are likely to increase the prices of the trucks they already have as a way of making sure that they will still make some money even if the markets continue to be unstable. What this means for the end user, such as a small business like a shipping or transportation fleet, is that it will become more expensive to buy the trucks they need to keep business as usual running.

Therefore, even though the natural thing to do when one does not know what the market may do from one day to the next is to sit tight and hold off any big purchases, the financially savvy thing to do is actually the opposite. If you need a quality truck like a Kenworth or a Freightliner, you should buy it now instead of later, because the prices of such trucks will only continue to increase in the future, and passing on a deal now might mean spending thousands of dollars more even just a few short months from now. Furthermore, getting a good truck now before prices start to climb higher will ensure that you make a reasonable purchase out of practicality now instead of out of desperation later.

Jim McCormack
Trucker To Trucker LLC


  01:34:10 pm, Categories: regulations

Everyone in the trucking industry should be made aware of the two announcements made by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently. These announcements are about the new CSA 2010 Program and the new Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP).

In my blog entry on September 18, 2009, I encouraged everyone to become familiar with the new CSA 2010 program that is replacing SAFESTAT. On 4/21/2010, FMCSA announced the implementation date for this new program will be 11/30/2010. In addition, FMCSA has provided a webpage you can use to look up your current rating on the new Carrier Safety Measurement System (CSMS). Every trucking company should check their CSMS rating immediately.

If your company rating is less than perfect you have 6 months to try to improve your company’s score. Remember that each carrier's scores are updated monthly based on fleet inspections, tickets, and accidents during the previous month. The bill, that Congress passed, requires FMSCA to focus their intervention efforts on those high risk carriers with the lowest safety scores. By acting now, know your score, and starting improvements, hopefully your company will not be in the pool of high risk carriers.

The second announcement was just made this week. FMCSA has completed the initial work on the new Pre-employment Screening Program (PSP) and carriers can now receive driver reports from PSP. PSP is a program that carriers can use to pre-screen their driver applicants. The report will show the last 5 years of crash data and the last 3 years of roadside inspection data for the driver. Carriers must register and pay a registration fee prior to accessing the PSP webpage and receiving reports. There is also a $10 charge per report. If drivers want to view their own report to check for accuracy, they can go to the same webpage and pay $10 to view and print their report.

Both of these new programs are designed by FMCSA to increase truck safety on the highway. No one wants their trucks and drivers involved in accidents, and hopefully these new programs will keep us all safer on the highways. TruckMaster® software can help monitor all safety requirements. For a free online demo of the TruckMaster® System, contact us. We are waiting to hear from you.

Craig Sorensen
TruckMaster® Solution Provider
TruckMaster® Your Trucking Company


  12:20:12 pm, Categories: efficiencies

Last week my daughter came to me with an interesting statement. She said, "Dad, I had my car serviced like I was supposed to – they changed the oil and the fuel filter and the air filter. Now, I am getting much better gas mileage! Why would that change?" I explained to her that as we drive, filters get dirty and less efficient, oil gets dirty and less slick, and in general, the car doesn’t run as well. With new filters and oil the car is able to run smoothly, with less effort, which leads to better fuel efficiency.

This led me to think about the preventative maintenance schedules we set up for our automobiles, how important they are and how strictly we adhere to them – changing the oil every 3000 miles, air filters at 12000 miles, etc.

What about truck and trailer preventative maintenance schedules? Are we as strict in adhering to these schedules are we should be? Or, are we letting them slide a thousand miles or so, or a week or so, or a hundred hours or so? Are our drivers really doing their daily inspections, or just walking around the truck and trailer and calling it good?

Drivers should be inspecting the following every day:

  • Check the engine, transmission, differentials, power steering, and wheel seals for leaks.
  • Check the condition of all belts, hoses, and lines.
  • Check to ensure windshield wipers work properly and the washer fluid level is adequate.
  • Check the windshield and mirrors for visibility and cracks or chips.
  • Check air pressure and make sure the truck is building air up to the proper level.
  • Check pressure, and tread and wear condition of all tires.
  • Check wheels and rims for any damage or cracks.
  • Drain air tanks daily. Check for excessive moisture.
  • Pay close attention to any frayed wiring and check battery connections.
  • Make sure all lights are operational.
  • Make sure the horns are working.
  • Make sure a fully charged fire extinguisher and flares are in the truck.

Make truck and trailer wash a mandatory weekly requirement. Not only does a clean truck look good for customers, shippers, receivers, but a clean truck lets us see potential maintenance problems before they become expensive.

It is extremely important to work with equipment manufacturers and mechanics to set up the right maintenance schedules for each of the trucks and trailers. A newer truck with synthetic oil will need less maintenance than an older truck using conventional oil. Remember whatever the schedule; adhere to it like it was an unbreakable rule.

The savings in time and the cost of unscheduled, preventable, on-the-road maintenance will be far more than the cost of the preventative maintenance. Consider the last time a truck was late because it was in the shop for a minor repair such as a wheel seal replacement – an item that would probably only cost $200-$300 if performed at the proper time, by the proper shop, but ends up costing over $1000 in an emergency shop. Remember, this doesn't include the costs associated with late pickup or delivery fees (which may include loss of a valued customer).

If you would like to learn more about Preventative Maintenance Schedules and how they can help you with your trucking operation, please feel free to contact us at TruckMaster Logistics Systems. You can find us on the web at www.truckmaster.com or just pick up the phone and call 888-891-9550. We will be happy to help you.

Dale Clark
TruckMaster Solution Provider
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company

Ps: Looking for the ultimate in Fuel Finder Routing? Check out www.findfuelstops.com.


  09:58:48 am, Categories: efficiencies , Tags: insurance

When you drive a truck, your insurance coverage is probably one of the most expensive, if not the most expensive, item on your books. It is definitely no place to cut corners. Being under-insured or not having insurance at all can be financially devastating. Before you pick up the phone or log onto the internet in search of coverage, know what kind of insurance coverage you require. Understanding the different kinds of insurance that truckers usually buy, consider, or are concerned about can help you customize your insurance package.

  1. Primary Liability Insurance
    Primary liability insurance is the type of insurance needed for a driver in the United States to stay legal while on the road. Drivers with these types of policies have coverage for others' injuries and damage to others' vehicles as a result of an accident. For truck drivers to drive legally, they must have $750,000 worth of coverage. This means that their insurance will cover up to $750,000 of damage or injury to the other party in an accident.

  2. General Liability Insurance
    Accidents don't just happen when truckers are on the highway. Truckers spend a great deal of time parked in truck stop lots, waiting in rest stops, or loading and unloading. While truckers are either in or away from their rigs, accidents can occur involving another vehicle and their parked vehicle. In addition, thefts and vandalism are also possible. Truckers who want insurance to cover damages in these conditions should consider general liability insurance, which covers the vehicle in conditions other than on-the-road driving. While coverage limits may start at $100,000, per incident coverage is generally recommended at $1,000,000.

  3. Physical Damage Insurance (Comprehensive and Collision)
    Physical Damage Insurance is coverage for your truck and trailer. This coverage is for repair or replacement for damage resulting from things such as collision, fire, theft, hail, windstorm, earthquake, flood, mischief, or vandalism to your owned vehicles. Pricing is based on the value of your equipment and usually pays a percentage of that value. This coverage may be required by the lien holder of your vehicle.

  4. Motor Truck Cargo Insurance
    This type of insurance does not cover your vehicle; instead it covers the cargo that you're carrying. This offers both the transportation company and the client the assurance that the items will get where they need to go, or their loss will be compensated.

  5. Non-Trucking Liability Insurance
    Also called bobtail or deadhead insurance, this type of insurance covers your vehicle when you're not working. Typically, the company that you're working for covers your vehicle when you're on the job, however its not covered if the truck is parked in your driveway, getting repaired, or otherwise not working. You might want to pick up this insurance to protect your investment in all circumstances.

  6. Legal Requirements

    Like any other job, truckers are not only asked to meet the requirements of their employers, but they are also required to meet legal requirements in order to stay on the road. Insurance is mandated by all 50 states. This requirement is not devised simply to charge truckers more money. Instead, it is a way of protecting drivers who are involved in an accident that is not their fault.

The minimum insurance coverage required for Vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 10,000 pounds or more:

  • $750,000 (BI & PD) for General Commodities (non-hazardous)
  • $1 Million (BI & PD) hazardous except class A & B explosives
  • $5 Million (BI & PD) Class A & B explosives, Hazardous materials transported in specified capacities in tanks or hoppers and/or any quantity of hazardous materials as specified in 49 CFR 173.403 of the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations.
  • For vehicles with a Gross Weight Rating (GVWR) of less than 10,000 pounds:
    $300,000 (BI & PD) for general commodities except any materials listed below.

    $5 Million (BI & PD) Any quantity of Class A or B explosives, for any quantity of Poison as (Poison A) or highway route controlled quantity of radioactive materials.

o be sure that there is an accident packet in all of your equipment.
Here are some things to do in the event of an accident:

  • Call the police immediately; leave your vehicle in place until the police arrive.
  • Complete your Accident reporting form and Medical Questionnaire.
  • Get information from any witnesses (name, phone numbers etc).
  • Where they involved in the accident?
  • Did they see the accident?
  • Was anyone injured in the accident?
  • What caused the accident to occur?
  • Take pictures. You should carry a camera of some kind in your tractor. Pictures really can be worth a thousand words.
  • Draw a map indicating what caused the accident to occur. Show traffic lights, stop signs, yield signs etc. and street names.
  • Do not discuss fault or any other details of the accident at the scene with anyone except the police, your claims department or your agent.
  • Contact your insurance company.
  • Call your agent.

It's an unhappy fact of transportation companies that accidents happen. But being prepared and knowing what type of insurance is needed, and knowing what to do in case of an accident will help you immensely.

Donna Bratton
TruckMaster Solution Provider
TruckMaster Your Trucking Company


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