Over the past five years, the number of small trucking fleets in the United States has exploded. As of 2018, fleets holding no more than six trucks are approaching 180,000. With the trucking industry at large facing a major driver shortage, how are small trucking fleets experiencing such successful proliferation?
Bridging The Gap
Small trucking fleets handle business customers with smaller shipments, or those that deliver to very specific markets. Not every business in the United States can justify contracts with large carriers, and the country has been experiencing an increase in small businesses for the past few years. Small trucking fleets can control costs and capacity much easier than the larger carriers. Small fleets know not to overextend resources, and since operational costs are lower, they do not experience the shortages and conflicts with drayage that burden larger carriers. In some cases, smaller fleets are acting as hand-off partners to take shipments on “last mile” runs from big carriers.
Small Trucking Fleets Are Different
From top to bottom, smaller fleets have a different approach to business and logistics than larger carriers. For the most part, small fleets are owned and run by younger professionals, for whom technology is second nature. They can cover metrics, logistics, expenses, brand management and more from their laptops or smartphones. Instead of making bids on contracts or pushing for hard sales, small fleets have an oddly old-fashioned approach. Small fleets have the ability to build relationships with businesses, which yield consistent sales and long-term contracts. The revenue may not be in the billions, but that is the trade-off for more flexibility and less pressure. Yes, small fleets still have to adhere to the electronic logging device mandate, but they also operate in a smaller radius, allowing them to make shipments without worrying about delays due to hours of service.
From GPS to traffic navigation, weather, and meetings, small trucking fleets are automating processes wherever possible. Smaller operations do not resist technology, because it ends up saving time and money, allowing fleet owners to bring in more revenue, and offer slightly higher rates and bonuses to drivers. A big part of automation comes in the accounting department. Small fleets need access to revenue quickly, because they do not do business on the same scale as larger carriers. Instead of waiting on staggered payment schedules, they are using factoring to get paid within 24 hours of completing a job.
Express Freight Finance offers a comprehensive freight load factoring program to fleets of all sizes. We offer the tools necessary to manage your accounts, and converting invoices to cash can be done right from your smartphone. Contact our offices today to get started.