Track business use of your personal vehicle.

To deduct this expense, record the cost of the car, the date you started using it for business, and the total miles for the year. For each business trip, such as to the bank, record the date, mileage, destination and purpose. This information can be kept in a notebook you carry in the vehicle so that you can have it ready for your business services provider at the end of the year.

Use a separate credit card for business expenses.

Try to find a credit card without an annual fee and with a low interest rate. If possible, pay the balance in full every month. Having a business credit card may help you reduce the amount of advances you take from your carrier and will make it easier to keep track of business expenses.

Save your log books.

Your log books are your best record of your per diem (daily) expenses, primarily meals, so be sure to keep it in a safe place along with your receipts and tax returns. You may need your logs to prove your expenses, should you be audited.

Obtain a monthly earnings statement.

All of your records should be converted into a profit and loss statement at the end of every month. The statement should show how many miles you drove, what your revenue was, what your costs were and how much money you made or lost during the month. You can compare month to month to see if you are improving. If you cannot produce the statement, work with a financial services provider who can do so.

Save every receipt, no matter how small.

Why “tip” the taxman? Place an envelope in your truck for collecting your receipts and send them at the end of each month to your business services provider, who can then provide you with a monthly profit and loss statement as well as accurate quarterly tax estimates. Your financial services provider will tell you if something is not tax-deductible.

Get a notebook to carry with your receipt envelope.

This notebook will be used to record those expenses for which you cannot obtain a receipt, such as when you wash your truck at a coin-operated facility or personal use of your auto, so you can deduct the expenses at tax time. Forward this record to your business services provider monthly with your other receipts. You must track the date, location, amount and reason for each expense in your log in order to meet IRS regulations.

Open a separate checking account for your business.

If you are the sole owner of the business, open an additional personal account and save yourself the extra fees associated with business accounts. Deposit your settlement checks in this account and pay yourself for driving from these funds. A separate account will also give you easy access to all of the information needed in case you are ever audited.

Start the new year with a budget.

Without knowledge of your revenue and expenses you can only guess at how your business will perform. Accumulate three to four months of information to properly reflect your spending habits. Don’t forget to budget for savings, estimated taxes, unexpected situations and lean times.

PIB Manual

Thank you for your interest in the Partners in Business program!

Attend a Partners in Business Seminar to receive a FREE copy of the manual or purchase a printed copy or digital download of the manual by visiting

Excerpts from select chapters are available to view before you purchase by clicking the linked chapters in the Table of Contents below.

Course Chapters

Chapter 1. Becoming an owner-operator

Take time to prepare for this big step.

Chapter 2. Selecting a business services provider

Picking this financial lifeline involves more than just tax-preparation concerns.

Chapter 3. Creating your financial map

Build for the future with a strong owner-operator business plan.

Chapter 4. Bookkeeping

Tracking progress, filing income taxes and maximizing your bottom line.

Chapter 5. Profit and loss statement

How to interpret your monthly financial scorecard.

Chapter 6. Understanding your earnings

There’s more to revenue than pay per mile.

Chapter 7. Understanding costs

Fixed and variable costs affect your bottom line in different ways.

Chapter 8. Managing time

Follow these proven tips on planning your schedule to make more money.

Chapter 9. Controlling fuel costs

Your survival depends on minimizing fuel consumption and getting a fair surcharge.

Chapter 10. Controlling tire costs

Keep your No. 2 variable expenses to a minimum.

Chapter 11. Managing money

Learn the best practices for healthy cash flow, debt avoidance and identity protection.

Chapter 12. Income tax and other taxes

Good planning and record keeping help you keep tax bills low.

Chapter 13. Choosing a business structure

What legal form works best for your operation?

Chapter 14. Buying a truck vs. leasing

Determine your best method for acquiring a truck.

Chapter 15. Choosing a trailer

Spec’ing smartly can increase your profits.

Chapter 16. Financing your equipment

Keep your debt low and your credit rating high to land a loan with good terms.

Chapter 17. Maintaining your equipment

Routine PM will save money in the long run and help determine when to trade.

Chapter 18. Choosing a carrier

It’s expensive to switch carriers, so pick your partner carefully.

Chapter 19. Evaluating carrier compensation

Take time to weigh the numbers and find the deal that best suits you.

Chapter 20. Software, hardware and the Internet

Online trucking resources paired with the right computer help you work more efficiently.

Chapter 21. Staying compliant and safe

It’s up to you to know and follow regulations and practice safe driving.

Chapter 22. Trucking insurance

Understand the types of coverage and what your operation requires.

Chapter 23. Health and income insurance

Paying for coverage of personal risks is a cost of doing business.

Chapter 23. Going independent

Getting your own carrier authority comes with risks and rewards.

Chapter 24. Saving for yourself

The habit of saving for personal goals will pay big dividends later.

Appendix 1: Vehicle registration

Appendix 2: Resources

Appendix 3: Owner-operator glossary

Appendix 4: Owner-operator deductions