Jack is a million mile safe driver. Recently, he was properly parked at a loading dock when a distracted trucker swung too wide and hit his truck. This accident wasn’t Jack’s fault, and there was no way he could have avoided it. But he still has to deal with the consequences. Fortunately, Jack was prepared for such an occurrence and knew the steps to take.
None of us plan for problems, but sometimes they just happen. Even the most careful of drivers are hit while legally operating their equipment. Would you know what to do if your truck was hit? Would you be able to afford the downtime while your truck was being fixed? If not, it’s time to get prepared.
Tick, tock: Be Prepared for Delays
Time is money, and these days, insurance companies are taking longer to settle claims. Parts are on back order and body shops have backlogs. If a repair normally took two weeks, now it’s taking four weeks or more. How does an owner operator survive such a loss of income?
Put your Finances in Order
One of the best gifts trucking business owners can give themselves is to have their business finances in order. If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us: crazy things happen and we need to be financially prepared.
Trucking businesses should be structured to weather financial storms. This may mean scrimping and saving in order to put 1-3 months’ income safely aside. There are all types of reasons a truck may not be able to earn income, including being out of service, downtime due to an accident or a breakdown, or lack of hauling opportunities. In addition, there are times a motor carrier, broker or shipper doesn’t pay on time. While the average American may not have more than a few days or weeks savings, a trucking business must be more savvy and ready for financially difficult situations.
Resources After Being Hit
Many truckers have been put out of business or put into bankruptcy because they didn’t have the financial cushion needed to wait out a slow repair or delayed payment. Do yourself, your business, and your family a favor and get financially educated to be prepared. An incredible amount of resources are available for both businesses and individuals, many for free. It’s as easy as a Google search or a trip to your local library. Consider contacting www.SCORE.org for a financial mentor. This organization provides advice by retired executives for free. They also have free videos on their web site on a multitude of business topics. Also, look to www.SBA.gov and local Small Business Development Centers for resources for small business owners. And, consider books and videos by Dave Ramsey. For years he has preached financial freedom from debt.
Protect Yourself Before an Accident
Accidents and other storms happen to all of us, no matter how safe and careful we are. As a business, it’s important to be able to weather many types of storms. Plan for what might happen, and hope it doesn’t. Keep enough savings to the side for such contingencies and you will be doing yourself and your family a tremendous service.