Do you run a commercial freight business with a fleet of semi-trucks delivering goods across the country, or even between borders? If so, you’ve probably noticed that it’s getting more expensive to operate. Fuel prices are increasing, and that’s likely forcing you to increase your fees to compensate.
Since rising fuel prices affect every aspect of society, you’ve probably noticed even repairs are getting more expensive. While there’s no way to avoid paying the cost of labor, you can buy your truck parts from Canada and save money that way.
Thankfully, there are even more ways you can save money and here are several places to start.
1. Use fuel cards and rewards programs
Hopefully, you’re already using at least one fuel card or you belong to a fuel rewards program. If not, you’re missing out on tons of savings. You can actually save thousands of dollars each year per semi-truck just by joining a rewards program.
How much money you’ll save will depend on how many miles your drivers travel, so naturally if you do more business you’ll save more money. However, even if you just have one truck, the savings will be significant.
There are many different fuel programs around, and the best ones tend to charge a monthly fee. However, a fee is worth every penny when you actually take advantage of the program. For instance, many programs offer more than just discounted fuel. They offer things like discounts on repairs, tires, and oil changes.
2. Train drivers to conserve fuel
Your drivers will have plenty of opportunities to save fuel, but they might not realize how important it is to pay attention to these nuances. For example, the following things can help save a lot of fuel while they’re on the road:
· Driving the speed limit
· Checking and managing tire pressure
· Following optimized routes and re-routing when there’s an issue, like bad weather, an accident, or a traffic jam
· Fueling up at stations known to have better prices
· Not revving the engine
· Using a power bank instead of idling the engine to get electrical power
Getting your drivers to go the speed limit and not drive too fast might be difficult to manage since you won’t be in the cab with them. However, it’s easier to keep them from speeding when they aren’t under immense pressure to reach an impossible deadline. If your drivers are speeding, they might feel pressured to meet difficult deadlines. If that’s the case, you may want to rework your deadlines a bit.
3. Filing warranty claims
Anytime you pay out of pocket for a repair that is covered under warranty, you lose money. Start tracking your warranties so you know what’s covered. That way, when a repair pops up, you’ll know if you need to pay out of pocket or if it will be covered.
It makes sense to file claims for expensive repairs. Don’t hesitate to file smaller warranty claims, too, because they will add up over time. A few hundred dollars here and there will add up to thousands of dollars over time.
4. Create a regular preventive maintenance schedule
A regular preventive maintenance schedule will help you manage both your repair and your fuel costs. For instance, stay on top of your alignment and tire rotations. Get tire valve covers with a seal to prevent dirt from entering the stems.
Other maintenance tasks can help prevent foreseeable breakdowns. Many of these tasks should be included in your driver’s pre-trip inspection, like checking fluids, tire pressure, hose connections, belts, and more.
5. Make your trucks more aerodynamic
You might be surprised at the difference you can make in your gas mileage by making your trucks more aerodynamic. A simple 10% increase in a truck’s aerodynamic properties can increase MPG by 5%.
Before buying a truck, look for existing features that make it more aerodynamic. For example, component weights and even the amount of space between the cab and the trailer.
6. Give your trucks an intentional paint job
Marketing your business is important, and you can use the sides of your trucks to market your services. Instead of just branding your trucks with your logo, consult with a professional marketing company to design your truck panels intentionally. Then, get a professional paint job and turn your trucks into a marketing asset.
Every dollar saved is worth the effort
Sometimes you’ll be able to save a few hundred dollars, and other times you’ll be able to save $20 here and there. However, over the course of many years, you’ll save a significant amount of money, which makes every dollar worth saving.