- On January 16, 2020
10 useful tips to keep your trucking business up and running:
If you are in any kind of business then you must know that without a truck it’s not possible to conduct your logistical operations unless you are in service based business. Now those who are doing trucking business; they are the lifeline of a country. Their efficiency brings prosperity to the country. Here are 10 tips that will enable you to become successful in trucking business –
- Update your vehicle documents:
There are a number of documents required to run a truck on the road. They are-
- Certificate of Registration
- Fitness Certificate
- Tax Token
- Certificate of Motor Insurance
- Route Permit
- Driving License
These papers have certain expiry dates that need to be taken care of. All the papers mostly have a one-year validity except for the registration paper and driving license. To get these papers updated you have to visit multiple places. For registration, fitness, route permit and driving license one have to visit the local BRTA office. A tax token can be renewed from designated banks by depositing a certain amount declared by the government. Insurance certificates are issued by insurance companies and the payable amount depends on the type of insurance you purchase.
The reason behind addressing this point first is the amount of penalty one has to pay if law enforcement agencies find out an expired document while your truck is on the road. According to the new Road and Safety Act 2018, a truck owner without the certificate of registration will have to face a six-month jail or a penalty of BDT. 50,000. So, stay tuned about your document expiry dates and avoid financial inconveniences.
- The body measurement and color of the truck:
Those who are in the transport industry know that we don’t get a complete “truck” as we don’t manufacture them in Bangladesh. Engines attached to the chassis are mostly imported and the rest of the task is completed in authorized or local workshops. Most of the components are imported from a different country of origin except the truck body.
While making a truck body, Government has standard rules of measurement for it which are supposed to be followed by the bodybuilders. For instance, a truck with a load capacity of 15 ton and specific horsepower can make the truck body no longer than 22 fit and width of 8 fits. The truck body should not have any extra structure like a railing, or oversized bumper. In terms of color, there are two categories based on the types of vehicle(commercial/private). This issue is settled when the documents are made. A color restriction is given for both types by the Bangladesh Road Transport Agency (BRTA).
Violating these standards is prohibited. Bangladesh Police has a separate unit to bring discipline in the road and assure implementation of these rules.
- Maintenance of The Truck engine and other parts:
Generally, when we discuss the maintenance of a truck we think of engine but there are other parts that are also needed to be taken care of. For instance, a gearbox also plays an important role in acceleration. Gear shifting becomes difficult when the gearbox is faulty. The engine and gearbox of a truck operates reciprocally. To keep them in good health, better quality lubricants should be used. The lubricant grade and their time of change for engine and gearbox are different. It should be done accordingly; otherwise the lifespan of your truck will be reduced drastically.
- Check your tyre condition:
Truck runs on wheels and in the course of time, it will grow old and decayed. When a tyre is sold it comes with a guarantee or warranty or assurance of a specific number of kilometers it will run. But this tyre life commonly depends on the road condition. The more it travels on an uneven road, the more erosion occurs. At one point, tyre tread cannot hold the pressure and it can blow out in the middle of the road! Tyres can be rotated by inspecting the level of decay. Remember to not mix different types of tyres on the same axle.
For the long haul, truck operators should splash water on the tyres so that it does not get overheated from friction. Tyre pressure is also important for smooth running because if it’s not properly inflated, the ride will be a bumpy one or will not be able to accelerate properly.
- Maintain load capacity:
Every truck has its own weight capacity to carry. The manufacturing company will provide you the information about this. Sometimes, there will be pressure from the shipper to take maximum load or to be overloaded. But making such commitments will not bring good to your truck. Crossing the weight limit will make you buy new tyres more frequently and more importantly the engine will be damaged before time. The expenses will be so high that you will be out of business paying for this. Also, in some routes, the Government has set weight limits to follow. For example, a truck cannot cross Meghna bridge if it’s weight is more than 22 tons.
- Check lights before you hit the road:
It’s important to have proper visibility for safe driving. Often we forget this crucial fact and overlook headlight maintenance. Overtime your truck headlights will burn out or the electrical system will deteriorate as it ages. Not having enough light while driving causes serious accidents that can take many lives in a fraction of a moment. Especially during the winter, trucks should use fog lights to get clear visibility of the road as well as the vehicle coming from the opposite side. To save your truck from the unwanted, steps can be taken like checking the lenses, brightness, alignments etc. Lights should be changed in pairs and you need to keep them clean.
- Inspect your braking system:
It’s more challenging to stop a truck rather than gaining speed and it all depends on the braking system. You increase the speed and decelerate it when it’s needed. But if your brakes do not function properly a collision will be imminent which is not wanted by anybody. So, before starting for a shipment it’s a mandatory drill to check your trucks’ braking system. This system developed by the manufacturer varies from one another. Owners should replace the brake pads and its other parts like brake springs, pins, and bushings. In Bangladesh, drums are not replaced until they are totally worn down to save money but it reduces the braking quality. The slack adjusters work to keep the brakes in alignment when they are used. Trucks can have either manual or automatic slack adjusters. Both need to be greased in order to work well.
The braking system inspection should be a routine task to keep the drivers safe and ensure that it will reach its destination with what it is carrying.
- Truck operator selection:
In our local transport industry, selecting a proper truck operator is the most important issue for the truck owners. Here truck operator means the driver and their assistants(who stay with the truck for navigating or for maintenance). The truck’s life and safety depends on them. Having an unskilled driver has a number of drawbacks like tyres will wear down quickly, a damaged engine, dents on the body and many more. So choosing wisely while selecting a driver is important. A skilled driver should have
- a valid driving license
- aware of traffic rules
- have a clear idea about the vehicle
- having experience is preferred
- not a drug addict
- accident ratio is low
- Track your truck:
Nowadays, technology is making it easier to run a trucking business. In previous years it was a common scenario that the owner does not have any idea about the truck’s location. The emergence of mobile phones partially solved it but still owners faced difficulty when the driver’s mobile phone was switched off. Global Positioning System, commonly known as GPS is the solution to this specific problem. You can track your truck using GPS. It will not only provide you the location of your truck but also its weight, oil level and if you spend more money, you can see and hear what’s happening inside your truck.
By tracking the truck you can optimize your cost and your driver cannot lie to you about their whereabouts. Shipments can be done faster and you can earn more money than before.
- Networking to arrange trips
Arranging trips for the truck is a vital issue for an owner to survive. To do this owners create a network with other people involved in the industry like transport agencies, middle man’s, shippers representatives. This channel for acquiring trips is not free. Payments should be done at different levels as speed money. Sometimes trucks stay idle for a long time for not having trips.
However, this is an old tale for smart truck owners. A simple smartphone is solving their need for trips. They download “Truck Lagbe” – the truck hiring mobile app and choose their trips from the pool. The app can be downloaded and installed from the play store. To register owners have to provide their truck documents and personal information, thus ensuring product safety to the shippers. The Smartphone will buzz every time a new trip hits the app.
You are now aware of what should be done to survive and lead a trucking business. This specific business requires a great deal of patience and experience because when a truck hits the road, anything can happen. You don’t get experience in one day, so stay on the business, follow the tips given here and learn continuously.