How much are we willing to pay for our back office? How much is the back-office worth? Each owner operator business has to make their own decision. Right now, having your own authority might not be a good idea but next year it could be. Something to keep tabs on and revisit from time to time to see if a business is ready to move on to the next step.
A phone call the other day triggered my thoughts on this subject of obtaining our authority. As I was driving down the interstate an agent called that was working on a load picking up near where we were delivering. The load was tall and we had discussion about the load and if it would fit, if we could haul the load, and how much the load paid. After talking, we determined “Yes, we could haul the load”. After a bit the agent called back and the shipper had doubled the size of the load and now the amount of freight would not fit in our truck. The agent apologized for wasting our time and I said I do not think you wasted my time. I told him, “you just reminded me of how many people are working behind the scenes to find loads while I am driving”. Knowing how many agents are working constantly to find loads to make them money as well as us money while we concentrate on our driving is worth a lot. If I had to find us loads, I am the power of one and have a lot of responsibility including driving this truck for ten and a half hours a day. Finding loads is not something I want to do while driving and there is peace of mind knowing we have over three hundred agents wanting to make money who are constantly searching for loads.
We haul a lot of hazmat by choice and we know that side of the business. The back-office worries about the insurance, making sure our certifications are up to date, scheduling classes to keep us informed, and always a phone call away if there is a question about the load, paperwork, or the product.
Another asset is the logging department who monitors our logs to make sure we are always in compliance. When reading about the horror stories of drivers who are running illegal and who go from being a hero at the scene of an accident to being behind bars for falsifying logs I am thankful that we have our back office watching over our logs.
The back office also keeps track of when we need to have our periodic inspections performed, when we have paperwork due, and a myriad of other paperwork trails that they keep on file. In the case of an accident everything is in one place and that leaves us to take care of us first, then our truck, while the back office handles the paperwork side. Our permits are kept up to date and in one location to run all of the states and to run hazmat. We keep our permit book up to date from the permits and files our back office provides us. Our IFTA is also tracked by the back office and they keep track of when we cross state lines and what taxes are owed to each state. No late filing for us due to being out here on the road and concentrating on hauling the next profitable load.
Now we get to the best part and that is settlements. We scan our load paperwork to settlements and the next week we are paid, it is as simple as that. There are no worries that this customer might pay in 30 days, 60 days, or 120 days that is the back-offices concern to collect.
Our back office has been in business for longer then we have and they have departments that specialize in all areas. The back office is constantly learning something new, attending classes or seminars, going through audits, and many other things that I do not have to worry about. Our carrier keeps the back office in check while our business works on keeping our side of the business profitable.
Yes, we do pay a lot for our back office but we feel they are worth every penny. We can continue to do what we do best which is drive the truck and take care of our truck expenses while our back office works to keep us profitable.