- Original Air Date: February 24, 2011
- Episode: Bookkeeping Services for the Trucking Professional
- Hosted by: Allen Smith of Truth About Trucking on Blog Talk Radio
About the Show
Our special guest, Eddie Gichuhi ran over the road for seven years facing the many challenges of being an independent owner operator in a very competitive business environment. Seeing the struggles faced by drivers, he set out to build and design the ultimate bookkeeping service for small to medium sized truck fleets, business owners, owner-operators and company truck drivers. As founder of Trip Sheet Central, he developed a proven framework that truck business owners can use to manage their businesses and grow in strength and profit. If you're serious about having your own successful trucking business, you will not want to miss this show.
After having logged roughly half a million miles over several years on the open road, I like to sit at my home office doing IFTA taxes (road taxes), accounting and bookkeeping for other truckers. I enjoy what I do now- helping truckers run and manage their business by working with them directly to create a system that helps them maximize profits and free up time for them to do the things they like most.
Who / what I represent
My work revolves around creating and improving simple business processes that help truckers work better at managing their business make a profit and stay compliant with all federal and state trucking regulations.
When I started trucking more than seven years ago, all I had was a dream, a poor plan and misguided advice on the whole concept of trucking being a profitable venture. Little did I know that it wasn't just about finding high-paying loads and submitting the freight-bill, there was a lot more I was not prepared for. Like keeping track of expenses, knowing my cost per mile for each load, understanding variable versus fixed costs and how they impacted my business, paying owner-operators, keeping tabs on contracts, insurance, vendors, suppliers, licenses, permits and even complying with state and federal laws related to the industry.
The first couple of years I was just lucky, I was able to out-earn my ignorance but that soon came to an end when I was faced with the tough questions like:
- How do I know whether my trucking business is turning a profit?
- How do I setup an accounting system for my trucking business?
- I do not want to learn how to do accounting, do I need to hire an accountant?
- How do I keep track of which shipper or broker owes me money?
- How do I stay on top of Fuel Taxes, business taxes, due dates for filing taxes, due dates for business licences, insurance, etc.?
These are critical questions to ask yourself if you're in the trucking business, and all too often we don't have straight answers to go along. It's hard enough to juggle all the responsibilities of running your business, let alone fit and keep all the puzzles in place.
One thing I discovered kind of dishearteningly, is that not too many people in the trucking biz want to talk about the secrets of their successes, or show you how to turn things around. My take on it: Not too many know how to do it right, and even fewer have the right tools to do it.
When I woke up from the daze, I resolved to use my experience, information technology skills, and proven techniques learned over time to build a system that works, a framework that truck business owners can use to manage their businesses -and win.
The Solution - Keeping the Books Straight
A few facts about trucking (which you have already heard about 10 times today already):
- Ninety percent of trucking businesses fail within the first 14 months. Building a profitable trucking business takes more than hard work, it takes having the best business plan in place. Without the knowledge and expertise of a professional trucking based management system, nearly 9 out of 10 new owner operators will fail.
- Running a trucking business, or any business without some basic tools or a management system is like driving a truck without any instruments! You know the posted speed limit is 65mph but you don't know how fast or how slow you're going, or even worse, you don't know where you're going because now you're finally loaded, dispatch is gone for the weekend and the bill of lading has no address.
- You need a plan. The same way you wouldn't begin to build a $100,000 home without a blue-print is the same approach you should take when starting your trucking business.
The system I developed is called Trip Sheet Central (TSC) -- What is it?
This system needed to meet some very basic needs in order to work.
Here are 3 of them and I will go over each of them in more detail:
- 1st - Easy to use
- 2nd - Available
- 3rd - Affordable
TSC is a web-based truck-business management suite designed specifically for Truck Carrier Operations. It is ideal for truck owner-operators, truck fleet-owners and company drivers. TSC will simplify your trucking business operations by helping you organize your trucking trip sheets, income and expenses, shippers, receivers, accounting statements, driver payroll, IFTA tax information and driver qualification files.
TSC works by analyzing cash flow to determine profitability, creating real-time profit-loss statements, operating expense statements, invoices, driver settlement reports and many more business statements.
All your business critical information is organized in one place, and accessible securely from anywhere using an internet connection. All you need is your laptop/computer and username/password - just like checking your bank balance online.
This is a web-based solution built from experience and extensive user testing. Many features have been added as a result of requests and feedback from trucking companies that use TSC. The solution is simple to use, yet powerful enough to meet even the toughest record-keeping requirements prescribed by the FMCSA.
So let us go back to the 3 basic requirements:
- Easy to use
- TSC is designed from the ground up to be used by almost anyone.
- There is very little training to start using it, and in many people are able to get used to it very quickly because of the familiar language used in the trucking industry such as Bill of Lading, Shipping Documents, Pick up, Delivery, etc.
- Provides the most common business reports such as Profit/Loss, Cash flow, Cost/Mile break-down, plus many other custom reports.
- IFTA/Fuel Tax preparation is simplified to the point where you just print the tax return when you need it.
- TSC is available 24/7/365 Access
- Online when you are. At your own pace!
- Nothing to download or install
- TSC is built with the owner-operator in mind. So affordability is a key issue. TSC has several options to choose from based on individual needs so you only pay for what you use.
Why choose TSC? What are the benefits?
Most operations with 1 to 3 trucks have gross revenues of between $150,000 to $500,000 - for these types of businesses it is more cost effective to outsource the bookkeeping to our monthly service for a fraction of the cost of a full-time accountant. (take the time to count how many hours a month you spend balancing your books, creating invoices, maintaining company information -- and then multiply that by how much you think your time is worth, then write a check)
- Trip Sheet Central is a web-based set of tools that require only an internet connection -on your laptop, ipad or smartphone
- 100% of our customers' paperwork is converted into electronic format for permanent storage, making it easy to retrieve on demand. We are doing our part to be environmentally friendly.
- All information processed using TSC can be accessed in real-time in a report or via search.
Automatic Invoice Generation
- TSC automatically calculates and generates shipper/broker invoices in PDF format ready to print, fax or even mail. The ability to create invoices in real time is critical to ensuring that your cash-flow is not affected due to not submitting paperwork in a timely way.
- Easily generate an invoice and email or fax it to the freight-bill payer as soon as your truck unloads. Immediate billing increases your chances of being paid ahead of the competition while all information about the load is available and fresh on everyone's mind.
Business Tools for trucking
- Create a quote in seconds using the built-in Rate Advisor to help you negotiate the best rates
- Mileage calculator city to city or zip to zip
- National and regional fuel price information at your fingertips to help with planning and routing management.
Access your shipper and broker contact information in a search-able address book that is continuously updated as you build your shipper and broker database. Add important notes or remarks as needed to the shipper/broker profiles as reminders or even for the benefit of other authorized users on your account.
Marketing / Lead Generation Tool
- As your shipper database grows, you can begin to prospect for business to fill those empty trucks at market rates instead of back-haul rates or running huge dead-head miles.
- You've seen it before: -a broker tenders a great load paying lots of money to a far away place and when you get there there are no loads coming back. Well, if you continuously grow your shipper database, you can easily start prospecting for return loads from that far away place before the truck gets there, thereby reducing your idle time and making money on the return trip at outbound market rates.
Secure / Encrypted website
Manage your business data securely. This website uses industry strength encryption technology to secure all communications between your browser and our servers. Notice the padlock icon that means secured!
Daily Data Backup
Never lose your information again. Our servers are backed up on a daily basis to ensure that customer data is not compromised or lost in the event of a catastrophic event.
What kind of support is available?
TSC goes beyond just bookkeeping and fuel taxes, we also have a business mentoring program for company drivers who want to transition to becoming owner-operators, or owner-operators who want to start over or make changes to their operation so they can be profitable.
Don't let these tough questions keep you up at night. TSC can help you get back on track with your business to let you concentrate on what you do best. We will be your virtual assistant who does the back-office bookkeeping and business management that is necessary to keep your business running smoothly.
Take me up on answering these questions and see whether Trip Sheet Central is for you. I'll set you up on a demo account, spend 45 minutes to an hour (at no charge) to analyze your business situation and suggest a strategy for success.
All you need is the willingness to turn your business around, and a risk-free way to get ahead of the competition. Start making your business work for you. Take control of the numbers.
Trip Sheet Central
Simplify your truck business management
Trip Sheet Central (TSC) is a web-based truck-business management suite designed specifically for Truck Carrier Operations.
Ideal for TRUCK owner-operators, truck fleet-owners and company drivers.
Our mission is to help you as a truck business owner stay on track with your business and let you concentrate on what you do best. We will be your virtual assistant who does the back-office bookkeeping and business management that is necessary to keep your business running smoothly.
Products & Services
Truck Bookkeeping, Driver Trip Sheets, IFTA Quarterly Tax Filing, Billing Service, Records Management for FMCSA (DOT) Compliance, Business Management Service
Key Business Functions of TSC
- Key Performance Indicators (KPI) Reports / Business Performance Snapshot
- Detailed Trip Sheets
- Comprehensive Trip Analysis
- Driver Settlement Reports
- Create and Send Professional Invoices
- Financial Accounting
- IFTA Miles and Tax Worksheets
- Current and Historical IFTA Tax Rate Tables
- Fleet Maintenance Records
- FMCSA Compliance Records Management
- Lane Analysis
- Unlimited Fleet Size Management
- Owner-Operator Business Tools
- Shippers, Receivers
- Freight Brokers, Agents
- Business Contacts
- Drivers, Employees, Contractors
- Fleet Equipment
- Vendors, Suppliers
- Contacts Management
- Track Trip Expenses
- Track Operating Expenses
- Income and Expense Statements
- Profit and Loss Statements
- Cash Flow Statements
- Open Invoice Report
- Driver Settlement Reports
- Key Performance Indicators Reports
- Secure Web, Online
- Multi-User Access
- Multi-Level User Configuration
- Trucker, User Friendly
- Accountant Friendly
- Real-Time Dynamic Reports
Technology & Support
- Turn-Key Software Development Cycle
- FREE Program Updates
- Automatic Upgrades
- Daily Backup
- FREE Technical Support
- FREE Customer Support