What are the Tax Deductions for Owner Operator Truck Drivers?

Filing taxes is never a pleasant event, but it is necessary. Most owner operators have a variety of expenses they incur during the course of their business that they can deduct. Taking these deductions means that you as an owner/operator could end up paying less income tax. Let’s look at some common deductions for truck drivers

 

First, you will be able to depreciate the value of your truck over the course of several years. The amount you can take depends on the purchase price of the equipment. If you sell a truck or trailer during the year you should know that you will have to count that as income because you have already taken some of the depreciation on the equipment. You should also be able to deduct the interest you pay on your truck payments and trailer payments. However, you aren’t allowed to deduct the actual payments.

 

Next, there are the tolls and fees for scales that truck drivers have to pay along their routes. These fees can be deducted as well. Make sure you keep track of what you pay for showers, truck parts, maintenance, and repairs. All of these items are deductible. You don’t need to keep your receipts for meals because the government gives you a per diem rate that you can claim. However, you do need to make sure you keep track of the number of days you are out on the road so that you can figure the deduction.

 

Clothing can’t be deducted unless it is specifically for work related services. For example, you can claim a bright orange vest and a hard hat that are required to be in a construction zone for which you may be delivering materials. However, you can’t claim your jeans, tennis shoes, and shirts because they aren’t considered to be a required uniform for work. You also can’t claim any traffic tickets or attorney fees you have to pay. Often, truck drivers try to deduct these expenses on their tax return. The result is they end up getting a bill from the IRS telling them they owe more money. Fuel is the most common expense that truck drivers incur. Make sure you keep a close eye on those receipts because each one will likely be worth $100 or more. Losing these different receipts can really add up during the course of a year, and that means you will have to pay more income tax.

 

Just be careful that you understand that there is a line between what is necessary vs. what is a luxury. Also, consult a tax professional if you have any doubts as to what you can deduct. If you are seeking a way to make your trips more fuel efficient, consider an auxiliary power unit. We sell these fuel saving devices and specialize in auxiliary power unit maintenance.

 

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Hybrid Semi Trucks

As the cost of fuel often fluctuates, things can become difficult for most drivers. If you own a trucking company or you are an owner operator, you feel the hit at the pumps more than anyone due to the amount of fuel that semi trucks need to operate. Therefore the idea of hybrid semi trucks has been in the works for quite some time as one way to offset high fuel prices for truck drivers and to reduce their impact on the environment.
Some of the first tests with hybrid trucks were done using vehicles from the United States military. Peterbilt is considered to be a quality brand of semi truck, and was the first to introduce hybrid semi truck models. They were first available for viewing in 2008 at various truck shows. Kenworth is another very reputable brand of semi truck, and they have also developed hybrid semi truck models of their own. They presented some of their models at truck shows as early as 2007.
It is estimated that over-the-road hybrid semi trucks can save the driver or the company at least $10,000 annually. This is quite a significant amount of additional profit for any owner operator. For those trucking companies with thousands of trucks, these savings can quickly add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars on annual fuel costs.
Some people remain skeptical about the use of hybrid semi trucks, but for the most part the trucking industry is excited about these vehicles. This particular type of semi truck significantly impacts the trucking industry as we know it today. While these hybrid semi trucks cost more than regular trucks, the amount of money that can be saved on fuel costs make them a great investment.
With so many semi trucks on the road, the positive impact that hybrid semi trucks will have on the environment are very encouraging as well. If you are interested in learning more about the future of hybrid semi trucks, you can visit the Peterbilt or the Kenworth websites. In the meantime, another way to increase fuel efficiency if you do not own a hybrid semi is by using an auxiliary power unit.

We sell APUs and specialize in auxiliary power maintenance.

 

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Safety is the GOAL

Following the GOAL acronym can save you from potential injury and costly accidents.  If you haven’t heard it already, “GOAL” is a common word used amongst truckers to remind themselves to (G)et (O)ut (A)nd (L)ook.  Many accidents and injuries are avoided by taking the extra time to assess your surroundings.

 

Truckers are often required to put their tractors and trailers into tight spots.  That’s why taking the extra time to make sure the location is safe is necessary.  Remember: we all want to go home in the same condition at the end of the day, ensuring we take the time to operate our trucks safely will provide the opportunity that we (and the people around our vehicles) need to go home safe as well.

One example of when GOAL comes into play is when backing into a tight parking spot or loading zone.  Instead of taking the risk of negotiating a backing procedure blind, Get Out And Look to ensure that no obstacles or people are in your path of travel.  Truckers don’t like to turn their trucks off while performing GOAL, why not install an auxiliary power unit to save yourself some money while your truck sits idle?

 

After being parked in your truck for an extended amount of time, make sure you GOAL (Get Out And Look) your surroundings before hitting the road again.  A lot can change in the short amount of time you spend in your cab with your truck parked.  Has an animal found shelter under your wheel well?  Has a child decided to rest on your back bumper?  Maybe there was a slow leak in a tire that is now flat….  There are many variables that could come up that you need to be aware of.  Make sure your area is safe before moving the truck again.

Damages can be costly.  Use GOAL to help yourself avoid preventable accidents.  Use an auxiliary power unit to save yourself money while making sure your path of travel is safe.  Do not rush while checking your surroundings, it could save you from a potential collision or an injury to bystander!

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How to Find a Trucking Job

The key to landing a trucking job is being prepared and knowing what to expect. Most often, truckers start the hiring process by speaking to a trucking recruiter. Recruiters frequently hire only for one company (the company they work for themselves), so it may be to your advantage to shop around and talk to a number of different recruiters to find the best company for you.

Next, never lie to a recruiter when seeking a trucking job. The truth will eventually come out any way. This may or may not involve disclosing information that may seem to work against you but truth is always the best policy. Also, recruiters will ask you for a variety of information, so be sure to have the following on hand:

 

A current, non-expired CDL with an accurate home address
Your work history for at least the last 3 years (some recruiters may want 5 or 10 years of history).
The names and contact information for all of your former employers.
Proof of your work history including old W2 tax forms, reference letters, or DOT numbers. This information will be especially helpful if any of the companies you worked for previously have since gone out of business.
A copy of your driving record or MVR
Proof of eligibility to work in the United States.

 

Homeland Security regulations require that all commercial truckers undergo a background check prior to being hired. This simply reflects the times in which we are living. Companies will be able to see a copy of your DAC report which will reveal previous driving jobs, any accidents in which you were involved, and notes of any problems with former employers.

If there is anything on your record that might be questionable, it is very important that you talk about this with the recruiter right away. It is much better to be professional and proactive upfront when discussing information that might be detrimental to you. Also, a potential employer is going to need to know about any incidents, or accidents, for at least the previous three years.

The demand for truckers is at times very high, and it is relatively easy for most qualified truckers to find steady work. Nevertheless, some researchers estimate that as many of 15% of drivers, even those with extensive experience fail to qualify when applying for a trucking position. Work hard towards your goal of driving for one of the big companies and you may find the payoff to be huge. If you are a truck driver you will find that your trips will be much more fuel efficient with an auxiliary power unit. We sell these and we offer auxiliary power maintenance too.

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Are Defensive Driving Courses Right for Your Fleet?

Generally, defensive driving courses help individuals hone their driving skills when they already have their license and are experienced drivers. The basic concept behind such a course is to train an individual  so that they can react to the mistakes made by other drivers on the road and avoid an accident. When this idea is extended to a fleet of drivers, this can increase the efficiency and safety record of the entire company. 

Defensive driving courses assume that even if you drive carefully, there are always those rash drivers who will either jump the red light or will take a sudden u-turn without making any signal, etc. In these instances your drivers must be ready to react. Companies that enroll their drivers in defensive driving courses are often entitled to certain privileges by their insurance company. The company can sometimes even get discounts on their insurance premiums. 

There are a lot of rules that drivers are taught to follow in a defensive driving course. The first thing that one needs to remember is to pay attention. The most common explanation that most people give after an accident is that they did not see the other driver approaching. The only way out is to always remain alert. Another important rule to follow is not to trust other drivers to do the right thing on the road.

Next, it is always better to maintain a safe distance from the car or truck in front of you. One should also remember that even if they obey the traffic lights, someone else might not. It is also advised that drivers should always wear their seat belt. Many an accident injury could have been averted had the persons inside the cars strapped themselves in properly.

A defensive driving course also emphasizes that a person should drive only if they are sober. It also instructs its participants to observe all speed limits. Drivers are also advised to avoid all sorts of distractions while driving such as listening to the radio or talking on the phone.

One should also slow down in case of rain or snow. It is recommended that an eye be kept on pedestrians. The list of such laws goes on. One needs to go through them thoroughly and put them to practice on the road. Once one does he can become a much safer and secure driver.  

Your company invests in all kinds of quality equipment to ensure that its fleet stays safe on the road. Why not invest in courses to make your drivers better? Our product line includes auxiliary power units from some of the world’s leading manufacturers. We also perform auxiliary power maintenance for our clients.  

 

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Ways to Increase your Fuel Mileage in a Semi Truck

6 Steps to Ensure the Safety of Your Fleet

Safety should always be top of mind for fleet managers and truck operators. But with the pressure to make deadlines and commitments, how do you ensure drivers are staying safe on the roads? Well, one way to accomplish this is to have a driver safety plan in place that stresses several common sense measures to make drivers, cargo and other motorists safe. Here are six steps you need to consider when putting together or tweaking a fleet safety program.

  • Screen and select drivers carefully: The first part of any effective fleet safety program is to hire the right people. Thus, you should establish clear hiring standards and a thorough screening process for anyone who drives for your company.

  • Encourage your drivers to take scheduled breaks: Hundreds of thousands of vehicle collisions happen every year due to drowsy driving. Thus, you should encourage your drivers to take a rest along their route and to map out those breaks. Studies show that rest stops helps drivers improve their reaction time and increases their overall level of alertness.

  • Keep the lines of communications open: By this we mean that management should communicate with drivers on a frequent basis about their driving and any problems they may be encountering. After all, your drivers won’t know something is wrong with their driving unless you tell them.

  • Learn from accidents and mistakes: When accidents do occur take the opportunity to learn from them. Use what you find to improve policies, enhance training, etc.

  • Embrace technology: The right technology has the ability to drastically improve fleet safety. Telematics in particular provides visibility to aggressive driving behavior like harsh acceleration and deceleration events, idle time, and speeding. This information can then be used to either train, discipline or replace drivers.

  • Formalize a plan for vehicle inspection, repair and maintenance: This can help reduce unexpected breakdowns, and can assist in avoiding accidents that are caused by faulty equipment.

These are just a few ways to increase fleet safety. It is also important to maximize the efficiency of your fleet. You can do so with an auxiliary power unit which will save on idling costs. You can also improve fleet performance for the unit you already have. We sell and service APU units and stand behind our products.  

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Ways to Increase your Fuel Mileage in a Semi Truck

Can you imagine being happy with getting only six to eight miles per gallon from your personal vehicle? Most of us would not be impressed at all with such low mileage. Yet for professional semi truck drivers, striving for increased fuel mileage is very important. Getting six to eight miles per gallon means the semi truck is operating efficiently. (Some semis only get four miles per gallon.)

Those who drive for a company don’t worry too much about the cost of fuel or how many gallons they get per mile because they get paid based on the number of miles they drive. However, owner-operators pay very close attention to these figures because they have to cover the costs of their own fuel. In some instances, the cost can be as much as 40% of their gross earnings per month!

Factors that Affect Fuel Efficiency

There are some factors that will affect your fuel mileage in a semi truck that you can’t really control. For example, wind resistance forces you to increase your speed which uses up more fuel. Also, truckers have no control over the cost of fuel per gallon. That said, there are some ways you can increase your fuel mileage that won’t cost you very much to implement.

  • The first thing you can do to increase fuel is to purchase an auxiliary power unit. APUs reduce idling time which is a fuel glut.
  • Next, reduce the amount of added chrome and accessories on your semi truck. Too much of it – especially those pieces that are quite heavy- will add weight and increase the amount of fuel your truck consumes.
  • Also, the amount of air in your tires will affect fuel mileage as well. You should check your tires routinely to ensure that you have just the right amount of air in them at all times. The amount of air moving underneath the semi truck is important as well. Too much air means you will be struggling as you drive down the road.
  • Finally, there are special designed pieces you can place under your truck as well as on the roof of it in order to reduce the amount of drag your rig produces.

Incorporating these ways to increase your fuel mileage in a semi truck can greatly improve your efficiency in the end. Knowing how to make your rig fuel efficient can be your hedge against the fluctuating cost of gas as can auxiliary power maintenance.

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Valuable Skills you Need to Succeed in the Trucking Industry

Being a truck driver involves much more than sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle and driving all day. There are plenty of skills needed in order to do a great job at it. For example, excellent communication skills are needed to make a great truck driver. You have to be able to talk with your dispatcher in order to get the right loads and to work out any delivery or pick up problems. Moreover, if you work for a company you are essentially its representative and must communicate with clients.

Navigation is another part of driving a semi truck as there are particular roads that can be used and those that can’t. GPS is helpful of course, but truck drivers should also be able to read maps so they can find their destination. They must also be on the lookout for clearance signs on bridges and bypasses to ensure their truck and trailer aren’t too tall to fit under them.

Also, truck drivers need to be responsible and reliable. Driving a semi truck can be dangerous for both the driver and other people on the road. Obeying the rules of the road and following the speed limit is one of the driver’s most solemn duties. Next, motivation is very helpful for truck drivers because it helps them to get the job done correctly. It can be easy to turn off that alarm and go back to bed when you are tired, but being motivated to make every delivery on time is what will keep you in business and keep commerce moving.

Successful truck driver must also have above par organizational abilities. There is plenty of paperwork that drivers’ must complete on a daily basis. The log book – for example – needs to be filled out correctly or you can end up in trouble with the law and with your employer. Moreover, trip packets have to be completed with all of the necessary paperwork or it can delay your pay for the work you completed. Finally, you also have to keep track of your expenses so you are able to use them as deductions on your income tax return.

Most importantly, it is useful if the truck driver has a basic understanding of how their semi truck operates. This way they can identify any problems that can be prevented. For example, drivers should know that having an auxiliary power unit can increase fuel efficiently by reducing idling time. They should also know the importance of APU maintenance and well as how to stay on top of his/her rig’s other systems. In short, these skills will help keep the job enjoyable and safe as well as profitable for the driver and his/her employer.

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APUs: Reasons they are Worth the Investment

Anyone who owns a truck or manages a fleet of trucks knows how fuel expenses can quickly spiral out of control. An auxiliary power unit (APU) is a well proven technology that provides an affordable way to save operators fuel and time. How? Check out the top reasons an APU can be the best investment in your truck(s) you’ve made all year.

  • Decreases idling, Increases green efforts: According to several studies, approximately one gallon of diesel fuel is burned per hour of idle. Take that problem – which all motorists experience – and extrapolate it out to an entire fleet of trucks and you can see how it can add up to a major expense. However, when an APU is engaged, the number drops to only .10 gallons of fuel used per 1 hour of idle. What business or individual trucker driver would not be better off with such savings?
  • Helps truck drivers avoid idling fines: Idling is not only costly in terms of added fuel expenses, it is also harmful to the environment as pollutants are expelled while a truck sits and burns fuel. For this reason, authorities are cracking down on idling. In fact, some municipalities are levying fines of up to $1,000 for as little as five minutes of idling. Switching to an APU can eliminate the need to idle and save your company that extra expense.
  • Helps reduce maintenance costs: Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping fleets up and running. Integrating an APU into your truck’s operating system you will help you do this. It will also help you use your components such as your HVAC less. Finally reduced maintenance costs can help keep your fleets out of the shop and out on the road as much as possible increasing your company’s profit. apu
  • More in cab comfort: An installed APU system can become the sleep cab’s main source of power fueling the air conditioning, heating, etc., all without the use of the main engine. Thus, driver comfort can be increased greatly.

Your company invests in other quality equipment to ensure that its fleet stays out on the road. Why not invest in a system that saves you money and helps the environment at the same time? Our product line includes APUs from some of the world’s leading manufacturers. We also perform auxiliary power maintenance for our clients.

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5 Ways Truck Drivers can Reduce Distracted Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nine people die and 1,000 people are injured a day as a direct result of distracted driving. People who drive for a living are in even greater danger of ending up in one of these statistics since they spend so much time of the road. Below are some tips that will help you stay focused on the road ahead and can help make you a safer driver. .

  • Do not text while driving: Not only is this illegal for CMV drivers, it is also one the most common distractions for both truck drivers and non-truck drivers alike. Texting demands that you to take your eyes, hands, and mind off the job of driving leaving you vulnerable to all kinds of hazards. Keep your mind on the road and if you must text someone pull over first and come to a complete stop.
  • Do not dial a handheld phone while driving: This is also illegal for CMV drivers. If you do have to call someone while you are in motion us a voice-activated hands-free phone or phone app.
  • Make all adjustments before hitting the road: One of the first things driver education instructors do is to urge students to adjust their mirror, seats, etc. before starting out. Similarly, truck drivers should set GPS, climate control, and sound systems, as well as adjust mirrors and seats, before setting out on the road especially when they are about to start a long journey.
  • Keep eyes on the road: Drivers should avoid looking away from the road for too long and instead focus on where they are going. However, it also makes good sense to move your eyes every two seconds and scan mirrors every five to eight seconds to avoid the phenomenon known as “highway hypnosis.” semi truck
  • Avoid eating while driving: If at all possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your haul. Some foods are messy and difficult to manage while you are driving.

Driving requires your full attention. It also requires you to have a vehicle that is performing at peak efficiency so that you can handle unavoidable emergencies that can surprise even the most skilled driver. You can improve the efficiency of your truck with an auxiliary power unit (APU). An APU can help increase gas efficiency and reduce idling time. We sell APUs at a reasonable price and even perform auxiliary power maintenance on your existing unit.

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