The Annual Load Book was designed by a 3rd generation owner operator with serveral years as both a fleet owner and an owner operator. It has been my experience that you have to know what you are doing first to be able to stay on top of your program and not wake up one morning out of business. The Annual load Book is a tool that helps me stay on track.

Annual Load Book

Taking control of your business requires more from you than just getting from "A to B". In today's world where most drivers are finding out that they are spending 300 to 320 day a year out in order to make their program work out to pay for all of the payments.

Without some idea as to what you need to make this task becomes perilous at best. All of the years that I have been driving, the one question that most owner-operators and particularly lease purchase drivers can not answer is how much do I need.

Most loads pay by the mile and weight loads can be easily converted to a mileage rate. So by using this method an owner-operator can find out what the cost per mile is. With that number in mind, you will now know the running mile revenue that you require will be.

The first thing that you must do to find the cost per mile is to stop and think about what you want your truck or trucks to pay for. Examples would be all of the truck operating expenses, wages for the drivers including you, and a reasonable profit and a maintenance fund. It is whatever you want this truck to pay for. Then divide the miles that you average and come up with the cost per mile. Now use this number when you are talking to the people you get your loads from. Now not every load needs to be over that cost per mile, however, the average of the running mile revenue does need to be as high or higher than the cost per mile you came up with.

You need to come up with a way to track these expenses and load revenue in order to stay on top of these numbers as best as you can. You use whatever method works for you because it not how you track the numbers but that you do it consistently. The AnnualLoadBook App is what I used to track my load and expense information. I made the app after 30 years of tracking my expenses and keeping a load book from pocket notepads to using an excel spreadsheet.

 Happy Trails

Jack Bates

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I was talking to a Lease Purchase driver that was new to the company that he leased his truck through. This driver is no different than many of us that desire to have the freedom of the open road and the ability to manage our own business in partnership with a truck company that we rely on to help us find loads and manage all of those truck company responsibilities while we drive the truck and try to live this dream that we have.

Problem with most lease purchase drivers and owner-operators that lease to a truck company to run their trucks is that we tend not to take as prominent of a role in managing our program as we should. Truly it is your responsibility to ensure that you make the revenue that you need to, with that said though it is different when you need to rely on others, not in your control to help you make this happen.

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From time to time I run into or am asked by someone about some hints that help make the business of trucking better and more profitable or more effecient.

Here are a couple of the better tax deferments that are available..

  1. You can deposite up to $6,750.00 per person on your health plan into an HSA tax defered account.
  2. You can also open up a personal IRA account from a financial advisor company like Vanguard, Meryl Lynch and so on. If you are over age 50 then you can annually contribute $6,500.00 and $5,500.00 if you are younger than that. Open one for each person that you want your company to make the contributions into. The nice thing about having a personal IRA account  is that the contributions act as a business expense like fuel and are deducted from your gross income. You can also borrow cash for repairs from your IRA account and you will only be taxed on the portion that you do not replace by the end of the year.

These are just a couple of the best ones that I know about that can help lower your tax liability. Most of us are at a 15% to 18% self employed tax rate so if you need to know what to withhold for future taxes and to pay ahead use that amount and you will always be very close to what your tax liability is.

Happy Trails

Jack Bates

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P.S. If you have missed any of the newsletters or updates you can go to the web site www.annualloadbook.com and read them in the blog comment tab.

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Though we'll probably never see the day you can drive a truck from California to New York without taking your eyes off the dash, the more financial data you have to analyze, the more likely you will be to make money on that trip. Find the business questions you need answers to, and formulate a program that supplies those answers. Then adopt policies and modes of doing business that make you a better businessperson and watch the effects of those changes in your program as you fine tune your operation. Use the Annual Load Book App to make sure you are controlling every single factor of your operation that you have any control over, and understanding all the ones that are beyond your control. Then you can relax and enjoy the ride, cause the great view hasn't changed a bit.
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