If you were to boil down what it takes to succeed in the expedited trucking business into a few points, what would those “keys to success” be?

Jerry Hayes, an industry veteran and the publisher of National Truckin’ Magazine, shared his advice in his general session titled “Practical Solutions to Improve Your Business” at Expedite Expo 2021 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, in July.

He highlighted these five keys to success.

1. Set goals that push you to grow.
“Set yourself a goal. This is one of the best ways to be successful in this business. If you aren’t goal-oriented, you never push yourself. You know what you make with two vans. How much more money could you make with five vans?” Hayes said.

2. Be patient to find the right drivers.
“Don’t panic. Sometimes it’s better to let that truck sit for a couple of days until you get the right person you feel comfortable with.”

If something feels “off” about a driver, proceed with caution.

“When your gut tells you something, listen. It’s probably right,” Hayes said. “Every time I don’t do what my gut tells me, I get to hear it from my wife! If you listen to your gut. You’re probably doing the right thing.”

3. Hire an accountant.
“Don’t think you know everything about bookkeeping, taxes and record-keeping,” Hayes said. “It cost me $60,000 because I thought I knew what I was doing. So, get you a good CPA. Let them take care of the paperwork and hard stuff for you because the more you let them do, the more successful you will be.”

4. Get smart about loads vs. layovers.
“If it’s the only load they have in the area, sometimes you’ve got to take it,” Hayes said. “Isn’t it better to haul some freight than no freight? How much does it cost you to layover every day? You’ve got meals. You’re not going to sit in that hot truck without it running, are you? So, you’re burning fuel. You have all these expenses [to sit]. Isn’t it better to say, ‘If they don’t have freight here, is there anything within 100 to 150 miles?’ If it’s going to cost you about $20 in fuel to drive somewhere to get a load or pay $75 a day sitting at the truck stop and not get anything, which is the better decision?”

5. Be easy to work with.
“If people have to work twice as hard to make you happy, all of a sudden they start backing away from you. Don’t be that person. Take that cruddy load every once in a while, because when you do, you’ll get better loads in the end.”