All businesses have their challenges and opportunities. Trucking, in particular, has a boatload of both. To start with trucking is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country, and it is regulated in odd ways compared to other regulated industries.
For example, trucking requires very little in terms of knowledge or money to get the legal right to operate, and what most industries would call license and what trucking typically refers to as “authority”. Just fill out a few forms, pay some fees, get and maintain the requisite insurance or bond (for freight brokers) and voila you are in business! And yes that is an oversimplification of it all and there is a little more to it all than that – but not much.
Compare that to other regulated industries.
Real estate for starters. To get a license to sell real estate you must complete mandatory classes, pass the exams for those classes, the schedule an exam to sit for the state licensure test. You must pass that exam, then find a broker to hire you and then you can finally activate your license and commence selling or managing real estate under that broker’s authority.
The broker remains responsible for you in many ways.
To become a broker yourself you would have to complete a few years as an agent first, then take several other mandatory classes, pass the exams for each class and finally schedule and sit for the broker’s exam. If you pass the exam then you can finally get your brokers license and open your own firm.
Want to be a lawyer? Then you have plenty of time and study to do first. Plenty of exams – and finally you get to sit for the bar exam, and if you pass it then you can become a lawyer.
How about becoming a nail tech? Look up the regulations on what that entails if you like – but you can probably guess. In most states, there are mandatory classes, training, and exams.
Pest control technician? Same thing. Mandatory classes, exams and then a license.
Begining to see the pattern here? Yet when it comes to trucking – there is no such mandatory training before licensure – even though I would argue that in many cases trucking is far more regulated and complicated than some of the other examples given. Now you may be inclined to scoff at that, but before you do compare the specific regulations of any industry you choose to the massive FMCSR’s or Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. You can find them at www.fmcsa.dot.gov and take a look for yourself. By the way, I was a real estate agent, property manager and broker for many years and the real estate regulations are childs play compared to the FMCSR’s, at least in my opinion.
All other industries I know of give you the exam BEFORE they allow you to start operations – yet for some strange reason trucking is different. The government gives you easy access and entry to a very complicated and heavily regulated industry with almost no upfront requirements – then it will hold you fully accountable if you mess anything up. You can start operations and then after the fact they will audit you and every other new motor carrier (trucking company) within the first twelve months of operation. Even before that, you are fully eligible for a compliance review and other enforcement actions from day one.
Depending on how that new entrant audit goes the new motor carrier may or may not survive and may or may not have to pay heavy penalties for what violations are found.
My point in all that is this – while there is no mandatory upfront education or testing required to be able to legally obtain your authority (license) and begin operations, you do need to take it upon yourself to get your own education on DOT Compliance, overall Risk Management and Trucking Business Management. DOT and other agencies will most definitely enforce all the regulations upon you – regardless of whether you understand them or not. Pleading ignorance will NOT help you one itty bitty bit.
Even though you don’t have any roadmap laid out for you like all those other industries do, and no extensive list of competent training providers either, you still need to get the education and training you need to not only meet all the regulatory requirements but also to help you become as successful in your trucking business as possible.
To do that, you can try to figure it all out on your own or find your own source of help.
You can spend hundreds of hours studying the FMCSR’s and related regulations and maybe you can eventually figure out enough to get by, but chances are it would take several years of dedicated self study to gain a true authoritative knowledge of the regulations. Even then the regulations, while very important to understand – are really just the basic minimum foundation you need. To be successful in trucking over the long haul there is a ton of other stuff you need to know too. Things that are important to risk management and safety – yet are not covered in depth, if at all, in the regulations.
Other things you need to learn and do consistently have nothing to do with regulations but everything to do with productive and efficient trucking business management.
If you would like our help then visit www.transportresourcesolutions.com and take a look at the resources available to you there. If you can, consider attending one of our upcoming live seminar and workshop events. If you do you will get a massive amount of education and information in a very short period of time. You will all get ongoing direct support for 30 days after the event, and you will receive one year of access to online companion course which reinforces, reviews and goes over all of the information covered in the live events.
You will leave the event with your own current copy of the FMCSR’s, a Risk Management Manual and DOT Compliance Systems Manual as well as a workbook. The training you will receive, along with all the support materials will give you a very good foundation on which to build your trucking business successfully.
Trucking Business Success requires a complete understanding of regulatory compliance, overall risk management and all other aspects of trucking business management. You have to understand the regulations because you can’t protect yourself, your company, your drivers, and staff or the public if you don’t. Failure to understand the regs, and failure to have in place at least adequate management control systems exposes your company to incredible risks and potential liability above and beyond enforcement and compliance.
Just to start you have to have an excellent grasp on the following topics;
- Driver hiring and qualifications
- DOT drug and alcohol testing program requirements
- Financial responsibility/insurance requirements
- Hours of Service regulations and record keeping requirements
- Repair and Inspection and maintenance requirements
- Hazardous materials regulations
Beyond these basics, there are many more regulatory and nonregulatory topics you need to know. Beyond all the regulatory knowledge required, you also need trucking business knowledge in multiple areas. Some of those critical areas include;
- Recruiting, selection, screening, hiring and onboarding
- Driver and staff training
- Communicating effectively
- Training drivers and staff
- Team building
- Dispatcher and operations efficiency training
And much more. Trucking is super competitive and highly regulated. Those who do not learn quickly and adapt will be more likely to fail and go out of business. Even if they survive, they will never thrive – instead, they will always be bottom of the barrel poor performers just barely getting by.
Don’t let that happen to your company!
Visit us today to find out how we can help you;