Werner did it. You can, too.

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Updated Dec 14, 2009

Werner Enterprises brought in 7 percent less money during the fourth quarter, when the economy was spiraling down the toilet, yet its net income went up 20 percent from a year ago. It accomplished this by reducing the size of its fleet and taking other cost-cutting measures, the company reported this week. Declining fuel prices helped, too.

Just because you’re not a mega-fleet doesn’t mean you can’t get the same results in a downturn. You have to spend a lot of money to earn a dollar, but a dollar cut from costs goes straight to the bottom line, as our friends at owner-operator financial services provider ATBS often point out.

If you’re a one-truck show, you might not have much overhead to trim. But don’t overlook cost-cutting opportunities in professional and personal areas, such as trying to eat out less.

Diesel’s at the top of the wasted spending list for many owner-operators. It’s a lot cheaper than it was last summer, but it still eats up thousands of dollars. If you’re not doing all the well-publicized things to conserve fuel (driving slower on the highway, maintaining tire pressure, refraining from idling, starting and stopping slower, spec’ing area equipment), give them a try.