The Root Of All Evil In Trucking....Money

The Root Of All Evil In Trucking....Money


Most will tell you they already know how to save it, spend it, or budget it. Really?

These can be difficult things to get control of as a new driver in a new lifestyle. I have heard lots of drivers complain about not making much money, but when I dug a little deeper I found out they were either not budgeting or just spending too much on unnecessary items.

Far be it from me to tell anyone what to do with their money, but I thought that I might try to help some struggling drivers with some tips I learned back in the beginnings of my new career.

Since most new drivers will be on the road for 3 to 5 weeks at a time, you need to set some "ground rules", or a budget. Now don't get upset and say you don't need a budget because you are not married or nobody will follow it anyway, YOU NEED A BUDGET. You should learn to budget your TIME as well as your MONEY to help make your job easier and more enjoyable.
During the first couple of months you are out driving around, listen to some of the major complaints about the industry and you will find that not too many drivers know how to balance a budget.

One main reason so many new drivers fail in the industry is the lack of a budget. Company drivers as well as owner/operators need to budget their expenses on the road, or you may find yourself in the following situation...

"My paycheck was only $100.00 this week, what happened?

Answer #1 - You took too many draws (advances).
Answer #2 - You didn't send in trip reports on time.
Answer #3 - You didn't run enough miles last week.
Answer #4 - You took too much time off.
Answer #5 - You are not getting the right loads.

Etc, etc, etc... Notice all the answers start with YOU?

YOU are the only one that can control the expenses that YOU incur on the road. Not your dispatcher, not your spouse, not other drivers, and certainly not the waitress at the truck stop. Only YOU!

Possible reasons to these answers....?

#1 - You didn't manage your expenses, so before the week was over, you had to take draws.
Typically, if you take one, you took too many.

#2 - Maybe you wanted it to go on next weeks pay, maybe you were too tired/lazy, or maybe you just plain forgot.
Send in your trip sheets/reports ASAP! That is how you get paid.

#3 - Maybe you were late on the last four loads and now dispatch doesn't want to trust you with the good loads. Maybe you refused too many previous loads because "I don't want to go there", or "not enough miles on that load".
Don't be late, and don't be too picky. If you choose not to run, guess what? You won't run.

#4 - This one is obvious..... if your wheels aren't turnin, you aren't earnin.

#5 - See #3.
Truck stops...

Most truck stops have a ton of neat stuff that you don't really need. If you can afford it, great, get it. If money is tight, ask yourself if you really need it right now.
Most of them also have a fast food joint, or restaurant. While it is convenient and looked so good on all the billboards coming into town, it really isn't that healthy and is money you really don't need to spend.
If your truck doesn't have a fridge, I recommend a small ice chest or electric cooler and stock it up at a Walmart while on the road or at the grocery store before you leave home.
You should definitely treat yourself to a sit down meal occasionally, but it can add up real quick if you do it all the time.

Also, it is a good idea to have a cooperative budget at home. One way to do that is to maximize your home expenses and minimize your road expenses.

At home, always figure the maximum amount of money you will need to live on and budget yourself to live on that amount of money.

On the road, figure the minimum amount of money you will need and budget yourself for that amount. It is also a good idea to leave yourself a little cushion in case of emergencies. If at all possible, never spend the total amount that you budgeted for the week.

If you plan your trip and budget right, you might find out that you can actually save money on the road.

Any amount of money you can save when you first start out will make you a better money manager in the future.

I could go on and on, but these are just a few tips that I learned back when I was starting out, and hopefully they can be helpful to you if you find yourself struggling.

Above all....BE SAFE!
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