The past few months have been tough for carriers, as U.S. productivity has slowed and freight tonnage has declined. Here are six effective ways for your trucking company to get through the lean times:

Work the Load Boards

There are hundreds of load boards on the Internet. Some of them do not even charge a subscription. Build a list of load boards that offer the best loads on the lanes you serve and make a habit of visiting those boards often.

Build Up Your Cash Flow

Factoring your receivables is an effective way to bring in cash almost immediately instead of waiting 30 to 60 days on payments. Having working capital readily available can help your fleet survive a slumping market and grow when conditions improve. Factoring also provides more pricing stability that Quick Pay, which has rates as high as 4% from some brokers.

Diversify Your Customer Base

Counting on one or two customers for most of your business is a risky proposition in this economy. When possible, add new customers across different industries to make your business more recession-proof. Set a goal that no one customer will make up more than half of your revenue.

Say No to Deadheading

It always pays to find creative ways to avoid running your trucks with empty trailers. Finding back-hauls or reloads for return trips home or to other markets you serve will eliminate deadhead miles and improve your fleet’s bottom line.

Cut Expenses

Adopt a fuel card program that not only offers savings on diesel, but other expenses like maintenance, tires and paperwork. Consider outsourcing some of your back-office functions and take a critical eye at costs like office space, insurance and service providers.

Check Credit Information

Brokers and shippers go belly-up all the time, leaving a trail of unpaid invoices. To guard your fleet against payment defaults, regularly check the credit ratings of your existing and new clients and brokers.

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