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Max Heine

Four ways to erode your profit

| November 13, 2013

I learned more this week about one of the countless teeth-gnashing situations in the world of owner-operators. It comes from Marlaina-Gayle Betnaza’s excellent Life With No Fixed Address blog.

Marlaina-Gayle Betnaza notes this business name might be in jest, “but small businesses go broke all the time, the majority don't survive two years.”

Marlaina-Gayle Betnaza notes this business name might be in jest, “but small businesses go broke all the time, the majority don’t survive two years.”

Her post is about the difficulties small businesses, including owner-operators, have in trying to compete with large corporations. She lists four “profit-killers” that owner-operators need to be alert to so they can avoid being underpaid or incurring unnecessary costs. 

One of the four is “truck ordered not used.” Betnaza tells of how she and her team driver husband went to pick up a hazmat load. Even though they had been clear about their payload, the shipper had failed to include pallet weight in the order. The 16 pallets would’ve put them 2,000 pounds overweight, so they declined the haul — after deadheading almost 500 miles to get it.

Following a month of phone calls and emails, they finally wrangled a $250 payment for truck ordered not used. Even that amount, though, doesn’t fairly cover the wasted fuel and the lost opportunity to earn money. Betnaza’s recommendation for defanging this profit-killer: negotiate a $500 TONU fee on the front end or decline the load.

You can read further about Betnaza’s suggested solutions for three other profit-killers, as well as her thoughts about small-business success.

A former blogger carried on Overdrive, Phil Madsden, also has written about a TONU experience and how he began to address that risk.

Anyone out there have TONU incidents they can share?

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