Finding the right trucking company software can go a long way towards making your owner-operator business the financial success you want it to be. But as you probably know already, not all computer programs are equal. So here are some tips for picking the right one for your needs:
Ask yourself what you need it to do. For example, owner-operators have many things to keep up with, such as taxes, fuel receipts, miles driven, maintenance records, etc. So start by making a list of all the things you have to keep track of. Then you can look for a software package that helps you best manage each of those tasks.
Visit the company’s website. As a trucker, it’s important that you choose software that has been created with professional truck drivers in mind. Anyone with a little programming knowledge can put together a computer app. But unless it was created from a trucking point of view, how can you know that it will meet your needs?
Can you access your records from any computer? If not, you’ll be chained to doing all of your work from one computer. It’s better to use a program that you can access anywhere you have an Internet connection. That way you can check and update your records any time, whether you’re sitting at home or using your laptop from a truck stop on the other side of the country.
Does it backup all of your records in a safe place? It’s important to have backups of all of your records, not just in your office or on your PCs, but also on the Web. You don’t need an auditor showing up right after a fire, theft, or other disaster destroyed your information. Trust me on this one. I've been through that exact scenario before, so I know just how much aggravation and trouble it can cause.
Does the software company allow you to try their product before you buy? If not, question why they don't. The ability to take a program for a test drive before you part with your hard-earned cash is vital. It shows that the seller has confidence in their product and doesn’t mind letting you kick the tires before you open your wallet.
Does the provider offer reliable, friendly, American-based support? If you have a question or issue, the last thing you want is to deal with someone you can barely understand. An otherwise useful program can be a dud without this important feature.
Does the software make sense to you? Are you able to use it without needing a computer engineering degree just to figure the thing out? Programs that aren’t intuitive and easy to understand are worse than useless.
If you're looking for a product that easily meets all of the above requirements, I'd suggest GetloadedOps, which is powered by TruckingOffice. Each aspect of Trucking Office's products focus on a different part of your business, including IFTA reports, dispatches, loads, invoices, maintenance schedules, and much more. Plus, everything is laid out in a common sense, easy-to-understand format that you don’t have to be a computer whiz to understand.
What else could you want from your owner operator software?
Allen Campbell has more than 18 years of experience in the trucking industry as a driver, owner/operator, broker, and small fleet manager. He is the founder of TruckingOffice, an online software that makes it as easy to run the business as it is to run the trucks. It handles dispatching, invoicing, IFTA reporting, and all the other things that get in the way of trucking.