How You Measure Up

| December 12, 2008

Some of you go for days, even weeks, without seeing friends and family. Many of you monitor the health of your business in relative isolation, too.

You can exercise great care in choosing loads and buying fuel, but if you compare key operational numbers only to your own track record, you may not be seeing the full measure of your business.

We’ve expanded our Gauges section (Page 18) to include important owner-operator indicators that can help you better manage your business. The numbers are based on the averages of the clients of American Truck Business Services, the nation’s largest owner-operator financial services provider. Each month you’ll find two years’ worth of data, averaged by quarter to smooth out monthly ups and downs.

The annual Overdrive Market Behavior Report has shown that owner-operators who track cost per mile earn about 10 percent more than those who don’t. (For more on cost per mile, see Page 44.) With this data from ATBS, savvy owner-operators who closely track costs, revenue and mileage will have the benchmarks they need to gauge their performance in different ways. Every third month we’ll present some of these same indicators broken out by dry van, reefer and flatbed operations.

If you find your costs are higher or your income lower than that of your peers, make sure you understand why. If you have trouble explaining the differences, get with your accountant. See whether the comparisons can help you identify problems, possibly with your equipment or the way you operate.

For those of you with better-than-normal costs and income, congratulations! And keep checking the averages to make sure you stay on top.
–Brad Holthaus

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