Starting a new trucking business is a rewarding experience that can lead to yearly growth and reliable employment. But, as with any new business venture, there are risks to building your own trucking company from the ground up. When you begin your career as an owner-operator, it’s important to account for upfront investments like fees, insurance, and the truck itself — and find the right tools to ensure you get a return on your investment.
Top trucking software solutions can help owner-operators make strategic decisions for their business. From finding new loads on the go, to filing paperwork, to ensuring fast invoice payment, the right trucking office software is an investment in the future of your freight business.
There are a variety of software and service options available to address your specific needs as a new or experienced freight carrier. Let’s investigate each of the major types of solutions, common trucking software costs, and how these tools can benefit your business.
A load board is a critical component of your trucking business. When you visit your load board to find new freight, you need access to as many load postings as possible. Our experts at Getloaded have found that DAT is the best load board in the country, for both the number of loads and the variety of features available in its load board subscriptions.
There’s a reason why DAT is the gold standard in the trucking industry. DAT includes more loads than any other load board, with over 226 million new loads posted every year. The majority of these loads are posted on DAT first, meaning that subscribers have a chance to get ahead of the competition with early alerts for new freight postings. I
The DAT load board also allows you to specify your trucking equipment type, with filters to narrow down your search for specialty loads. Whether you drive a hot shot trailer, a van, a reefer, or any other type of specialty trailers or equipment, you can easily identify your criteria and search for relevant postings near you. Additionally, unlimited search and post means DAT never charges hidden fees for heavy usage of search features.
In addition, a subscription to DAT allows you to access tools that help optimize your trucking business. For an effective negotiation approach, DAT TruckersEdge includes a variety of useful features, including market supply and demand data, broker credit scores, and average time to pay. More advanced subscriptions of TruckersEdge include lane rate estimates, fuel optimization strategies, and other features that can help your trucking business maximize your ROI.
A Transportation Management System (TMS) draws together many different aspects of your trucking business into a single managed control center. At Getloaded, we recommend Axele TMS software for a powerful range of features that allow you to manage your freight business in a streamlined, user-friendly way.
One of the major advantages of Axele TMS is its ability to integrate with other trucking management software. Axele provides a centralized location where you can access features like the DAT load board, Quickbooks accounting software, and cargo booking solutions. From your Axele dashboard, you can gain a bird’s-eye view of your trucking business for an effective management strategy.
But Axele offers more than just a dashboard to unify your other software. When you subscribe to Axele, you have access to business efficiency features that help you track your invoices, manage your accounts, and automatically log your distances with Axele’s electronic logging device (ELD). With these unified features, Axele helps you make business management manageable.
Accounting and Bookkeeping
Accounting and bookkeeping certainly aren’t the most exciting aspects of trucking, but they’re crucial to get right. As an owner-operator, your accounting and bookkeeping determine the effectiveness of your operations, the amount you’re spending on business expenses, and the items you can file as a tax deduction.
Quickbooks is accounting software for small businesses that allows business owners everywhere to ensure an organized accounting system for optimal profitability. Quickbooks provides different versions of its popular accounting software, each of which expands your ability to automate the accounting process for your business.
Rather than manually keeping track of expenses, invoices, and mileage in a spreadsheet or (gasp…) on paper, Quickbooks offers effective accounting software that is used by a variety of businesses around the world. Small trucking companies and owner-operators are especially happy with Quickbooks because the app can be easily integrated with Axele TMS software, which allows you to access accounting documents from your centralized management platform.
For bookkeeping operations, Getloaded recommends ATBS RumbleStrip software. RumbleStrip provides all the help you need to get your operations in order, with automated features meant to minimize the time you spend on bookkeeping and maximize time on the road. ATBS RumbleStrip includes a variety of useful financial management features, including tax management software, document tracking, consulting, and more.
Navigation and Load Tracking
As a truck driver, it’s no secret that you spend most of your time on the go. Managing your trucking operations from a TMS dashboard is all well and good, but what about the quick features you need when you’re on the go?
Available wherever you have internet access, navigation and tracking services are easier than ever with the DAT One mobile app. The purpose of DAT One is to provide you with all the information you need in an easy-access package, just a click away on your handheld device.
The DAT One mobile app helps you navigate your routes so you can optimize your time on the road. You can use it to find fuel stations, truck parking, and truck stops, and to view your most efficient routes. Nowadays, many brokers are using DAT One to track loads as they’re en route to their destination — if you encounter a broker who uses DAT One, you’ll want to download the app ASAP.
The DAT One app is available for free, which makes it one of the most affordable investments in transportation software. Plus, when you track your loads effectively, you can keep shippers happy and document the right mileage. For maximizing your profit margin on the go, downloading the DAT One app is a no-brainer.
There are a lot of misconceptions around factoring, but the service can be very beneficial for your business. The goal of factoring is to get your invoices paid as quickly as possible, but drivers need to be wary if the factoring company is taking too much off the top.
At Getloaded, we believe OTR Solutions is the most effective factoring company in the business — and it’s also the most trustworthy. OTR Solutions is DAT’s preferred factoring partner, which means you can find factorable loads quickly within your DAT load board for a smooth, complete approach to managing your finances.
Factoring with OTR Solutions allows you to get your invoices deposited within 24 hours of your transaction. This allows you to minimize the debt that often piles up when carriers are first starting a trucking business. With a steady, reliable stream of income, OTR Solutions charges a reasonable percentage for a wide range of services, including communicating with brokers and helping truckers avoid debt due to unnecessary roadside expenses.
Cross-Docking & Short-Term Warehousing
Truckers are often on a time crunch, and finding warehousing shouldn’t take extra time out of your day. Getloaded recommends OLIMP warehousing for a short-term storage solution, allowing truckers to pay a small fee for a high degree of convenience.
Short-term warehousing (also known as cross-docking) is a service that many transportation companies use to increase the efficiency of their operations. If you’re moving freight a long distance, and the freight doesn’t need to be delivered right away, you can drop off your load at a cross-docking warehouse for short-term storage. Short-term warehousing is used by large companies and independent carriers alike to maximize the efficiency of operations.
OLIMP partners with DAT to help you find cross-docking sites, and to store your freight as easily as possible. With access to warehouses on routes across the country, you’re bound to find the right short-term warehouse near your destination on the OLIMP website.
Last, but certainly not least, in our review of essential trucking software is cargo insurance. Cargo insurance is an important component of any trucking operation and ensures you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket expenses if something happens to a load on your watch. The chances of load damage are usually low, but if it happens, an uninsured load could severely harm your business.
Whether you’re just starting out in the trucking industry or you’re a seasoned carrier, the right insurance software helps you manage your insurance policy and keep cargo insurance costs low. At Getloaded, we recommend Loadsure for the best cargo insurance software. The concept of Loadsure is simple — it is connected to the DAT load board and provides cargo insurance for each individual load you procure. It’s a safe investment that doesn’t charge too much per load.
The Importance of Good Trucking Software & Solutions
There are trucking software and solutions for pretty much every aspect of managing your carrier business. For owner-operators, it can seem a bit overwhelming to keep up with all the different moving parts. That’s why DAT works together with the above trucking software companies, to create the best trucking software system in the industry.
Trucking software is an investment in the future of your business, and it’s important to invest wisely. With the right software, you can get ahead of the competition and maximize your profit margin. DAT’s services are so effective because they value long-term partnerships with truckers — instead of offering short-term trucking software at a high cost. At Getloaded, we’re confident that DAT and its partners have the best small trucking business software available on the market.
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