As inflation rises, you may be nervous about your financial situation and how to keep your business operating smoothly. We know it’s difficult to manage your money while also being on the road, so we’ve compiled four easy ways for you to improve your financial health.
4 Easy Ways to Improve Your Finances
- Increase Your Cashflow
- Keep Up with Due Dates
- Protect Yourself
The biggest method of improving your financial health is assessing your complete financial situation. You can start by creating a budget for your expected income and expenses (typically by month or quarter) and identifying any gaps using the following steps.
As a trucker, it may be difficult to get an exact estimate of your monthly or quarterly income. So, if you fluctuate a lot, look at the same time period for last year and use that number. Alternatively, you can total your income from the previous year and divide it by twelve months for a monthly average. Try not to include any bonuses, gifts, tax returns, etc., as those are not guaranteed.
Make a complete list of all your expenses. Since the recommended budget changes monthly or quarterly, you’ll want to take any annual expenses and divide them by twelve (for months) or four (for quarters) and assign a portion of that expense to your savings account each month so you aren’t surprised by the amount when it becomes due. If you’re struggling to find your expenses, you can go through your credit card or bank account transaction list for the past year, or use the following list to get you started:
- Utilities (phone, internet, gas, water, sewage, electricity, etc.)
- Insurance (health, dental, vision, car, home, etc.)
- Loan payments (car, education, etc.)
- Pet costs
- Subscriptions (music, television, apps, etc.)
Once you’ve totaled your income and expenses, find the difference between the two. If your income is more than your expenses, invest those funds into an interest-building savings account through your bank, or use a financial advisor to help you make an informed decision about alternative investment methods.
If your expenses are more than your income, it’s time to figure out ways you can save money and increase your cash flows, such as:
- Prioritizing your physical health to stay healthy on the road and avoid unnecessary medical expenses
- Plan ahead for meals and pack what you can so you aren’t buying meals at restaurants
- Use budget and coupon apps* to quickly assess your spending and find ways to save on typical expenses
- Participate in a fuel card program for fuel savings, and factor your invoices for additional cash flow (we’ll discuss this more later)
*Budget apps like Mint, Zeta or Personal Capital allow you to track income and expenses by category, identify savings opportunities, etc. Coupon apps like Rakuten, Honey and Ibotta offer quick savings for many different retailers.
NOTE: Even if your expenses are more than your income, it’s important to establish an emergency savings fund, so try to include at least a small amount of savings into your expense category. By establishing a habit of building up your savings account, you’ll ensure financial safety in case of an emergency.
Increase Your Cashflow
There are two simple ways for trucking companies to increase cashflow: fuel card programs and factoring services.
Fuel Card Program
Most fuel card programs offer a line of credit for fuel purchases so you don’t have to take fuel funds directly from your bank account. But one of the most important parts of a fuel card is the savings potential; you can receive additional discounts off the cash price of fuel and point-of-sale purchases, special access to maintenance offers and more. These savings mean extra money for other expenses.
If you’re not familiar with invoice factoring, it is the process of selling your load invoices to a financing company for a small fee. During this process, you receive an agreed-upon amount up front (up to 100% of your advance amount) and the company takes over the process of collecting the amount from your customer. By factoring your invoices, you immediately increase your cashflow and save time on the collections process, allowing you to focus on hauling and managing your business.
RTS offers both fuel and factoring services, and bundling your services allows you to save even more! We have fuel card options for any credit score, with savings at 2,000+ fuel locations, 200+ Truck Care service centers and more. Plus, get funded in 24 hours with no hidden fees, upload invoices easily and access exclusive freight all in our free app, RTS Pro.
Keep Up with Due Dates
It’s important to pay bills on time to avoid extra fees or penalties for late payments. Most financial institutions offer a short grace period but setting up automatic payments or reminders for yourself prior to payment dates is a helpful way to avoid these fees. Additionally, be sure to file your personal and business taxes on time and submit IFTA reports each quarter.
Part of excellent financial health is proactively avoiding negative financial experiences. Remain vigilant against fuel and credit card fraud and scams, watch out for theft while parked, and avoid claims on your loads by practicing defensive driving and performing pre-trip inspections.