Owner-operators can reduce expenses by minimizing vehicle breakdowns, optimizing fuel consumption, reducing administrative burden, and avoiding violations.

As a new owner-operator, you’ll want to reduce expenses whenever possible. You also have to keep data to stay in compliance with trucking regulations. Why not turn that to your advantage by using that same data to reduce expenses? Here are seven ways to do just that.

1. Save on maintenance and repair costs

According to a study from Fleetowner, the average cost per roadside repair event has increased from $311 in Q4 2017 to $334 in Q4 2018. This cost does not include tire repairs. 

You can save on these costs by using vehicle diagnostic data to plan vehicle repairs. If you have a Motive ELD, you can look at fault codes. Then you can make an informed decision on whether to repair it right away or plan future maintenance.

2. ELD violations

ELD violations affect CSA scores—some of them as much as seven points, such as failure to provide supporting documents. You could also be placed out of service for at least 10 hours if you don’t have an ELD.

Being out of service may cost you thousands when you add up fines, penalties, towing, and any money you would have made if you had been able to drive.

Save money by getting an ELD that helps you avoid these violations.

3. Automate IFTA reporting

If you are doing your IFTA reporting manually, it can take a lot of time. It can also prove problematic later on if you can’t decipher the handwriting or remember what happened on a particular trip.

If you have an ELD, it’s already keeping track of your miles and fuel, and giving you an individual trip report. The Motive ELD keeps track of miles driven and fuel purchases by jurisdiction. You can upload fuel purchases and receipts from your mobile device.

Now you can stop spending time chasing paperwork and avoid paying third-party IFTA preparers — a big help to owner-operators.

4. Be more fuel-efficient

Long-haul trucks typically idle for about 1,800 hours per year. It may cost you up to $5,000 annually. In addition to wasting fuel, one hour of idling per day for one-year results in the equivalent of 64,000 miles in engine wear.

With Motive, you can accurately track and pull idle-time reports to save fuel and minimize expenses.

If you’re running your truck during a rest period so you can keep your AC on, for example, you can buy a storage air conditioner and shut the truck off instead. These air conditioners are charged by the engine while you’re driving.

Fleet fuel cards are another way to save money, as many fuel card providers offer discounts for using them. They can also make fuel purchase tracking easier for any owner-operator.

5. Reduce insurance premiums

The smaller your fleet, the more you may pay in insurance premiums. According to the American Transportation Research Institute, small carriers pay 59 percent higher premiums than big fleets.

The Motive App Marketplace is home to industry-leading integrations designed to save our customers time and money. Your safe driving could save you money on your insurance premiums.

6. Get paid for detention time

The time you spend being detained at shipper or receiver facilities cuts your pay by as much as $1,500 annually, according to a report by the Department of Transportation (DOT). An extra 15 minutes spent beyond the standard two-hour window even causes crash risk to climb by 6.2 percent.

You can use data from your ELD to prove that detention time was caused by being held at a shipper facility. For example, Motive’s Location History screen allows you to view your location at any point in the past so you can prove the time you spent in detention and get paid for it.

Motive also has a geofence feature, which lets you create a geofence around frequent shipper/receiver locations to get automated detention time reports for any period of time.

7. Liability

A road-facing dash cam shows your view of the road and may help exonerate you when a collision is caused by a passenger vehicle (as 80 percent of accidents are).

Video from a dash cam can also help speed up insurance claims. Major insurers now offer commercial vehicle customer discounts for installing video cameras, which helps offset the cost of installing the dash cams.

New owner-operators face significant expenses, so it makes sense to use all the tools that are available to help reduce them. Motive has the technology and tools to help you get the best bang for your buck.

To learn more, read our guide about how to become a successful owner-operator.