How to Avoid Idle Trucks

Idle trucks kill trucking companies. Opportunity costs and actual costs occur from empty trucks. An idle truck misses out on the opportunity to earn $650 in revenue every day it is not on the road. Not only that, but it costs about $170 a day in fixed cost for a truck to sit and rust. Your company loses $820 per truck for every day the truck is not on the road. Considering that on average it takes 20 days for a company to hire a new driver, a sitting truck will cost your company $16,400. Being able to keep all your trucks on the road is critical to your company’s success. Here is how to avoid idle trucks.

Keep Your Driver Pool Full

According to the ATA’s Truck Driver Shortage Analysis 2019, driver churn was 89% for large for-hire carriers and 73% for small for-hire carriers. Your drivers are going to leave your company. Some sooner than others. You must be constantly using digital marketing strategies that find qualified drivers online and encourage them to apply for your company. As your current drivers leave for other positions, the recruiters will be able to pull from this pool and hire them quicker. Drivers from the driver pool are able to be hired faster because your company will have already done the due diligence of screening the applicants to see who is qualified for your positions. Recruiters need to be either filling up the applicant pool or hiring from the applicant pool at all times.

Fleet of idle trucks

Slip Seating

This is a controversial method. If you look at any trucking forum that discusses slip seating you will see that the majority of truckers are not fans of this practice. However, Duff Swain, founder of the Trincon Group, argues that slip seating is necessary for maximizing the value of your trucks.

Duff says that today’s trucks are designed to be operated 24/7, only requiring idle time of two to four hours every 25,000 miles for an oil change.

Operating your trucks 24/7 will produce the maximum value instead of idle trucks costing your company thousands of dollars.

Drivers will say that they do not like slip seating because often times when they receive the truck from another driver, the inside will be dirty and smell gross. Issues like this can be easily avoided.

To avoid messy trucks your company must hire drivers that take pride in their work. Also, you must establish a system where before the drivers are allowed to end their shift, they must have their truck checked out by a third party. Hold the drivers accountable.

Finally, if your company implements a slip seating system properly then your drivers will have the opportunity for more home time. Schedule the drivers based on their preferences to fill the trucks you have. Share with your drivers that slip seating is going to allow them to spend more time with their loved ones and they will be more likely to cooperate.

Cut the Dead Weight

Any truck that your company is unable to fill must be sold. Keeping trucks in your fleet that have been idle for over a month are costing your company tens of thousands of dollars. Using the numbers above, a truck that is idle for one month (30 days) will cost your company $24,600. Add to that the cost of hiring a driver ($8,000 on average), a truck idle for one month costs your company $32,600 before it starts earning revenue again. If the truck earns $650 a day in revenue, then it will take 51 days before your company regains the opportunity costs, hiring costs and rust costs from the idle truck. Your company needs to sell any truck it owns that will not be filled for months. Selling the truck will increase your cash flow and cut your costs.

Avoid idle trucks as much as possible. Owning a truck that does not have someone to drive it costs your company thousands of dollars. Idle trucks kill trucking companies. In order to keep your trucks on the road and have zero idle trucks in your fleet your company must keep your applicant pool full, slip seat, and sell any idle trucks that can not be filled.

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