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New owner-operators: 7 ways to reduce your expenses

New owner-operators: 7 ways to reduce your expenses

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 recent study, 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—which would drive it up even higher. Moreover, repairing something on the side of the road may cost about four times higher than doing it in your own shop.

This data reveals how costly unexpected vehicle breakdowns can be. You can save on these costs by using vehicle diagnostic data to plan vehicle repairs. If you have a KeepTruckin ELD and are on the Pro plan, you can look at fault codes and make an informed decision on whether to repair right away or plan future maintenance.

Fault code details for preparing vehicle maintenance

2. ELD violations

ELD violations now affect CSA scores—some of them as much as 7 points, e.g., 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 can 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. If you are in the market for a new ELD, make sure it doesn’t include any up-front hardware costs. Check this price comparison chart.

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 KeepTruckin 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.

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 KeepTruckin Pro, 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.

Fuel cards are another way to save money, as most fuel card providers offer discounts for using them. They can also make fuel purchase tracking easier.

5. Reduce insurance premiums

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

The KeepTruckin App Marketplace is home to industry-leading integrations designed to save our customers time and money. Your safe driving could save you big bucks. If you have KeepTruckin’s ELD and agree to share your driving data with Progressive through our integration, you can save an average of $1,384 on your insurance premium.

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, KeepTruckin’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.

Location History in the KeepTruckin Dashboard

KeepTruckin 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% 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.

For more information, check out the KeepTruckin Smart Dashcam.

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

If you have any questions about the KeepTruckin ELD solution, call (844) 257-6396 or email


Sarah McConnell

Sarah McConnell likes to take complex technology and explain it to people so it actually makes sense.