It was July 6, 2012 when our President signed the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act into law. MAP-21 as it is commonly known is a very important piece of legislation that allocated over a $100 Billion dollars to help grow our economy, create jobs, and repair roads. MAP-21 is much broader than that. The money goes toward repairing our crumbling infrastructure, safety, transit systems, bridges, public transit, rail, as well as bike and pedestrian paths. The bill was signed into law in 2012 and was set for two years which means the money is spent and gone but the effects continue on.
Today I thought I'd talk about a Drug & Alcohol Consortium we're a member of. I mentioned them in my OOIDA Benefits post and since CMCI is a division of OOIDA, I think it's only appropriate it has its own post. CMCI is a drug and alcohol consortium which you're required to be a member of under FMCSA rule. I found out when looking for a drug consortium that pricing can be vastly different. I signed up with a local company and later found out about OOIDA and CMCI and switched over. Here's why.
Many of you may already be members of OOIDA. Some are familiar with the organization. Others may not have heard of OOIDA. For a while I was one of those guys. We're now members of OOIDA and CMCI and I recommend every independent CDL trucker does the same. I heard of OOIDA when first starting American Freight Trucking, Inc. and remember tossing it aside as yet another piece of junk mail. I don't think we received much mail if any after. At one point we needed to become a part of a drug testing consortium and I came across OOIDA again. I was sold.
Having good business credit is very important if you're at all serious about growing your trucking business. Financing trucks, trailers, or other equipment requires established business credit. The issue for most trucking start-ups is in establishing this elusive business credit and having a high business credit score. According to the According to the 2012 National Small Business Association (NSBA)'s Small Business Access to Capital Study "nearly half (43 percent) of small-business respondents said that, in the last four years, they needed funds and were unable to find any willing sources, be it loans, credit cards or investors".
Long-haul trucking or freight transportation is the lifeblood of America. In Russia, it's all about the rail system, but in the U.S., it's all about the highway system. Over the years with all the ups and downs of the freight transportation market, I often wondered what is it that drives the cost of freight transportation? When diesel prices decline, brokers are quick to point this out as the driver of the much lower linehaul price. Diesel prices go down, this affects diesel surcharge rates, and so clients pay brokers less money with which brokers need to make a profit. I guess that makes sense. But I wasn't satisfied and so I dug a bit deeper. What are these elusive freight transportation cost drivers?
Today I want to talk about Fuel Cards, which one to go for, what’s the best way to fund it, and what to watch out for. In our attempts to save money on fuel, we went through several different fuel cards and companies and settled on one. By the way, I don't care what they tell you, you can only have one.
The company we decided to go with is England Carrier Services (ECS). The card is through Fleet One and is free and has no limitations. There are no transaction fees either. There is however a monthly fee of $6 so make sure you fill up at least 300 gallons per month to make it worthwhile.
Today I’d like to show you some of the top concerns voiced by owner-operators like you and I. Back in March of 2012, Overdrive Magazine asked owner operators about their biggest trucking concerns. While things have changed since 2012, I find many of the top concerns remained just like before.
The top concern in 2012 was “rising cost of fuel” and while this was definitely a hot topic in 2012 with diesel prices hitting $3.968 as a U.S. average, luckily it has steadily come down.