From Houston to Orlando, Why Are the USCC Team Traveling Everywhere?

Wondering where the USCC team is going? Read to find out!

It is tradeshow season, and our dedicated USCC team members have been traveling to several states during the past two months! The reason why we attend tradeshows every year is because we care about making connections and cultivating strong relationships. Check out some of the shows we attended recently.

Also, leave a comment below if you have attended a tradeshow this year and if you saw us and our booths!

College HUNKS Annual Reunion

CHHJ trade show

One of the industries that US Cargo Control serves in is Moving Equipment, so since we have partnered with College HUNKS as a vendor for the past six years, we sought the opportunity to go to the reunion and support one of our partners! Some of our team members attended the show in Orlando, FL, and had a blast at this event. Along with that, we gave people the opportunity to enter the chance to win custom CHHJ Nike shoes! How sweet is that?

This was a great event to talk with new and existing franchisee owners to build relationships.  This event is instrumental in visiting with many franchisee owners in one location

Carla Weeks, sales

If you would like to learn more about our moving supplies, check out our high-quality professional moving equipment that will do the job whether it is big or small.

Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) Symposium

trade show booth at SCRA
Our salespeople Adam S. and Alex L. getting ready for this event

Another event we attended this year is the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA) Symposium, and what a show it was! The meeting featured over 40 companies, and brought together oversize/overweight transportation professionals and permitting officials to discuss permitting harmonization and safety concerns.

Three of our salespeople Tim, Adam, and Alex enjoyed every bit of it. If you saw them in Charlotte, NC, you might have participated in a putting challenge.

USCC tradeshow display
Tim S., Adam S., and Alex L. hosting the Ping Putter Challenge

To win the putting challenge, whoever makes the hole-in-one will have a chance to win a Ping Putter. We did have a winner, and it was Ben Mayer from Great Lakes Heavy Haul! Check out the snazzy picture below:

winner of the putting challenge at the trade show booth

The Maintenance Council (TMC) Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition

TMC Trade show

In Atlanta, GA, we attended the TMC annual meeting which covers the most innovative educational sessions covering all aspects of vehicle maintenance and design. At US Cargo Control, staying on top of industry practices is important to us, and this is a great event that covers industry practices for trucking and transportation.

What Else Happened?

touring iuoe cranes and machinery
Our salespeople Alex L. and Adam D. at IUOE’s training facility

Recently, two of our salespeople had the amazing opportunity to tour International Union of Operating Engineers‘ training facility. At this tour, they had the chance to see the large cranes and machinery that our products are used on up close. While we have product experts who are so knowledgeable in every product we carry here at US Cargo Control, we will always seize the change to learn more about these machines up close.

The people that operate these machines are very smart and very well trained.   Products like lifting slings, shackles, spreader bars and lifting beams, are a critically important part of every lift, and it was inspiring to me to see these cranes up close.

Alex Ledger, Sales
international union of operating engineers training facility

Where is the Next Tradeshow?

This week, our team members are going to Nashville, TN to attend the LKQ Vendor Fair. Catch us there, and maybe try to find us at a hot chicken restaurant!

Want to learn more about USCC? Check our 4 Great Reasons to Do Business with the US Cargo Control Team

If you have any questions about the products we carry, give our team a call at 866-444-9990.

5 Tips for How to Sleep Better in a Semi Truck

Read these five tips on how to get a good night sleep when you are on the job.

We all know about how important it is for truck drivers to stay awake while on the road, but what about falling asleep? Obviously, the better you sleep at night, the longer you’ll be able to go the next day. But when sleeping in a semi-truck, there are distractions that can keep you awake and they’re hard to ignore sometimes.

Don’t give up and feel like you have to get a hotel room just to feel rested, here are 5 tips that can help you fall asleep faster in your very own cozy semi bed!

1. Block out ALL Noise

where do truck drivers sleep
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

If you can, try to park away from all the other trucks and other potentially loud distractions. Another tip to consider is choosing parking places that have minimum outside traffic.

You can also invest in earplugs or a “white noise” machine such as a fan to reduce sounds inside your truck. If your phone has the ability to turn on “Do Not Disturb” mode or to alert you for only important contacts, consider doing that before bedtime. We all know how hard it can be to ignore a text or phone call, but those noises and your bright phone screen will only make it harder to sleep.

2. Turn Off and Block All Lights

tips for sleeping in a semi truck in parking lot
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Although this is self-explanatory, remember that even the smallest amount of light can bother you! There are ways to block all lights immediately including investing in some curtains or shades to cover all windows in your truck, a large sunshade over your windshield, and using something to cover any electronic lights within your rig.

If all fails, then invest in a sleep mask. You can get them for a cheap price at the dollar store or a convenience store.

3. Get Comfortable

inside a truck sleeper bedroom and mattress
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Is your truck sleeper cab getting uncomfortable? Maybe it’s time to replace or upgrade your mattress. Having a comfortable bed not only helps you sleep better, but it also helps prevent soreness or aches when you wake up in the morning.

Another thing to consider is purchasing a new mattress pad to place on top of the sleeper. Foam mattress toppers are less of an investment than getting a whole new mattress and they also provide benefits like providing more cushion and reducing pressure points.

4. Have a Routine

semi truck sleeper cab layout
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Trucking can at times be unpredictable, but try your best to maintain a bedtime routine. Your body loves routines and will adjust well when you maintain that routine. Whether it’s reading a book or watching your favorite show, try to stay in a familiar routine for the best chance of sleeping well in your semi-truck.

With that in mind, try to keep regular hours with your job, or at least try to avoid often swapping between day and night shifts. Too much schedule changes can affect your sleep, and it’s best to avoid that.

5. Keep Your Truck Cool and Comfortable for You

air temperature controls inside semi truck for better sleep at night
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Everybody’s preferred temperature varies, so be sure to keep your semi at a temperature that is comfortable for you. When it’s warm outside, consider using a small fan for extra airflow. When it’s getting colder, have extra bedding or a small heater in your truck. In fact, if you are looking for extra warmth for the upcoming winter, then check out our black USCC hooded sweatshirt!

Good Sleep = Good Health

Good sleep is just as important as the right nutrition and exercise. If you’re unable to find success sleeping in your semi-truck, you may experience crankiness or bad moods, an increase in health risks, and even over-eating. Make sure to take care of yourself and look to improve your sleep now.

If you want to be healthier, check out 6 simple ways to be a healthier truck driver.

At US Cargo Control, we want all truck drivers to be safe and well-rested. You are the backbone of America’s economy, and we appreciate all that you do to keep us moving forward.

5 Tips for Staying Awake While You Are on the Road

Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, check out these tips that can help you power through the long haul.

We get it, driving during the long haul can be tedious

Staying awake during long drives can be incredibly boring and exhausting. You sit still for long periods of time, you don’t have anyone to keep you company, and you never know if there will even be any scenic views.

Although it can be dull at times, there are ways to fight that fatigue. Whether you are a new driver or an experienced driver, check out these tips that can help you power through the long haul.

1. Cat Nap

truck driver taking a nap
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Do not try to fight fatigue just to save time. It might seem better to get there faster, but you will likely put others or yourself in danger. Instead, take a power nap before the drive or pull over while en route. Resting for at least 20 minutes can give you a big boost of energy, and will make you alert for a lot longer. Not only will you feel refreshed, but this can also help fight off sleepiness down the road.

2. Crank up the AC

turning down the AC
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

When we go to sleep, we like it best when we are warm and comfortable. But did you know warmer temperatures can make you drowsy? A warm truck makes it easier for your body to relax and drift off to sleep, so dial down on the heat. Keep your truck cold, but just enough to make it slightly uncomfortable. The colder temperatures will make it harder to sleep and will keep you more alert.

Another tip: open your windows and smell the fresh air. Doing this can give you a little jolt to keep you awake.

3. Eat Something Healthy and Stay Hydrated

water bottle pack to stay hydrated
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

We all do it – binging on candy, fast food, energy drinks, etc. Although it is nice to treat yourself every once in a while, this won’t help you stay awake while driving in the long haul. You may even start to feel sluggish and sick if you continue to eat unhealthy food. Make sure to eat meals that have protein and fiber, and you will have long-lasting stamina. Your body will thank you!

Getting that cup of coffee or some sort of caffeine can give you a nice boost every once in a while, but don’t forget to keep drinking water. It is another way to fight off fatigue and keep your body in check. Have a water bottle nearby, and if you need a snack, try eating fruits and vegetables as they are full of water and natural sugars that can keep you awake.

4. Turn on the Radio

using radio to listen
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Pick something interesting and different to listen to every once in a while! Listening to different music stations and talk shows can help combat boredom and keep you entertained along the way. You can use the radio to catch up with current news and trends, or if you have a smartphone, use it to play podcasts and learn about anything that gets your attention.

5. Take Breaks or Get Some Exercise

close up of a person walking
Photo Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Even if it is a five-minute walk, exercise will help to get your blood pumping after sitting. Sitting too long can create health concerns and decrease productivity, and will also make it harder to sleep at night. Some simple exercises to try daily are push-ups, sit-ups, jogging or running, jump rope, or simply taking a walk. Whatever it is, make sure to take those breaks and move around.

Thank you, truck drivers, for all your hard work

Although it can be difficult fighting that drowsiness, we thank you for all your hard work and dedication to delivering the goods we all depend on. We recognize that it is not an easy job, but we appreciate all that you do. Check out our previous blog post that covers a popular annual event celebrating truck drivers.

Watch USCC’s video below that was shared last week for Truck Driver Appreciation Week!

Source: US Cargo Control

The Most Important Part of US Cargo Control Isn’t a Product

How trade show season helps us help you better

How trade show season helps us help you better

Although the weather in many places doesn’t tell us so, trade show season is upon us. If you haven’t already, many of you will soon find yourself at an industry trade show, safety meeting, or annual meeting in the coming months. And because USCC serves the trucking & transportation, rigging & lifting, and moving industries, many members of our team have been on the road, in booths, and at industry events across the country.

Professional truck drivers enjoy the Iowa 80 Jamboree at The World’s Largest Truck Stop.

No matter what industry you’re a part of, trade shows are a way to discover businesses and resources in your industry and learn about the products or services they offer. It’s a chance to compare similar resources apples-to-apples and decide which provides the best value for your individual needs. And while part of this is likely product selection, price, freight time, and other logistical calculations don’t make the mistake of overlooking the most important and valuable aspect of trade shows and of good business—the people.

It’s About the People

In an age where just about every business has a website address, list of social media accounts, and handful of other digital tools to communicate and serve their customers with, it’s easy to get sucked into the screen and miss the big picture.

Don’t get me wrong, websites that make online ordering easy are a great thing. In general, technology gives us all a way to get information quickly, weight our options, and get jobs done more efficiently. Just don’t allow it to make you lose sight of the reason for the work that you do.

Volunteers use wire rope clips from USCC to construct a 100+ foot suspended footbridge over the Hockanum River in Vernon, Connecticut.

At the end of the day, the most important part of our business, and your business, is people. It’s about making people’s lives safer, easier, and more productive. We give people the tools to start their own business, continually grow one that’s been around for decades, or simply get a job done right.

Whether it’s hauling the White House Christmas tree across the country so thousands can enjoy its beauty or delivering fuel to a gas pump so people can drive to work. Constructing a high-rise apartment building so hundreds of people have a home, or building a suspended footbridge so a few people can escape to nature. Moving a family of six across the country for new opportunity, or moving your neighbor’s couch down some stairs to enjoy just for the big game. Your job, no matter what it entails on the surface, is about helping people.

Our job is about making it safe and easy for you to help. Because, when we do that, everyone benefits.

What’s important to you?

Trade shows allow us to catch up face-to-face with the people we regularly talk to over the phone or through email. They allow us to meet customers old and new, shake their hand, look them in their eyes, and listen to their individual wants and needs. Some have questions on shipping rates, some love our custom products, and others want us to explain differences between similar products. No computer could understand those individual needs as clearly as a human conversation can.

White Glove Movers rolling a heavy tool chest into their moving truck.

It’s easy to overlook real human connection in this digital age, but its importance will never change no matter what industry you’re in.

It’s why our founder, Tim, started and sticks by his promise of getting you “What you want, when you need it.” We understand the importance of building relationships with the people who keep these important industries moving forward. Every business and every person is unique. Without taking the time to truly understand your unique situation, we would be selling ourselves short.

It’s more than just doing business, it’s helping people be more and achieve more. It’s working with you individually to ensure your needs are met and your business can be successful. If we do that, you’re able to pass the same level of dedication on to your customers and the people you help every day by doing your job well.

USCC made in america
Production Manager, Jamie Farmer, gives direction to fellow USCC employees.

Tradeshows in March

Throughout March, our USCC team will be busy meeting people like you to better understand what they want and when they need it. We hope to see you and learn from you at one of these upcoming events.

Machinery Haulers Association Annual Meeting
March 8th – 9th | Las Vegas, NV

Minnesota Trucking Association Safety Meeting
March 19 | St. Paul, MN

American Moving & Storage Association Conference
March 24th – 26th | Houston, TX

2 Important Association Events Happening this February

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and two upcoming industry events are positioned to prove just that. Gear up with USCC as we visit NATE UNITE & SC&RA Symposium 2019

Information on NATE UNITE and SC&RA Symposium 2019 (plus how to get live updates)

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and two upcoming industry events are positioned to prove just that.

Gear up with USCC team members Lacy, Josh, and Alex as they visit the Lone Star State for the already in progress NATE UNITE Conference and Tim, Adam, Alex, and Ben as they get ready for the upcoming Specialized Transportation Symposium in Houston.

NATE UNITE 2019: February 4th – 7th

NATE UNITE 2019 details and information

NATE UNITE is one of the biggest and best conferences/trade shows in the wireless and broadcast infrastructure industries. On top of the massive exhibit hall with over a hundred exhibitors, there will networking opportunities, educational sessions, and speakers.

Anyone that’s a fan of the show Duck Commander will be excited to know that the keynote speaker is none other than Willie Robertson. Willie will be talking about his passion for the outdoors and his experiences in leading and growing his various companies.

Other notable topics covered in some of the 21 different educational sessions include:

Determining Rigging Forces

State of Wireless Industry from the Wall Street View

Dropped Loads – A Serious Epidemic

Challenges Faced by Industry Veterans

Women: Powering the Tower Industry

What to Expect When OSHA Shows Up

Check out the event links below for a complete list of sessions and more details on NATE UNITE 2019.

Keep up with USCC

 NATE UNITE 2019 team
Lacy, Alex, & Josh

Our rigging and lifting equipment experts will be at booth 727. Stop by, say hi, and enter to win Omaha Steaks, a Home Depot Gift Card, or an Amazon Fire Tablet!

Follow USCC on Facebook to keep up with our giveaway and to get our inside look at NATE UNITE 2019.

Helpful Event Links

Pre Show Planner

Schedule

Exhibit Hall Map

Specialized Transporation Symposium 2019:

February 19th – 22nd

2019 Specialized Transportation Symposium details and information

The 2019 Specialized Transportation Symposium will bring together top managers in operations, safety directors, pilot car professionals, permitting officials, law enforcement, and many others who deal with the professional transportation of oversize/overweight cargo.

The main goal is to ensure that permitting runs smoothly, safety concerns are addressed, and the most pressing topics in specialized transportation are discussed. The SC&RA is also planning on unveiling its groundbreaking proposal for 100 percent uniform permit weight analysis and allowance.

In addition to an exhibit center with a record-high 60 booths, there will be education sessions and expert speakers from within the industry.

Former Navy SEAL and Co-Star of American Sniper, Kevin “Dauber” Lacz will kick off the 2019 symposium by speaking on “the pitfalls of becoming too comfortable in any situation and the characteristics of the most successful individuals.”

Keep up with USCC

Our very own, Adam Shouse, was just selected to serve on the SC&RA Symposium Leadership Forum, an honor that just 15 people in the world were given. The SC&RA selects the most outstanding up-and-coming leaders in the Transportation and Rigging Industries to serve on this forum.

Ben Rechkemmer

Adam, Tim, Ben, and Alex will all be at the US Cargo Control exhibit booth in Houston. Stop by and say hello!

Follow USCC on Facebook to keep up with our booth giveaway and to get our inside look at the Specialized Transportation Symposium.

Helpful Event Links

Why You Should Attend (and how to convince your boss)

Schedule

Exhibit Hall Map

Official Event App

Don’t forget to stay connected with USCC on social media. We have many more exciting association events and trade shows coming in 2019. Stay tuned!

USCC facebook
USCC instagram
USCC linkedin
USCC youtube

Why “Last Mile Delivery” is a Trucking Industry Trend Worth Knowing About

As consumers become increasingly comfortable buying appliances and other large items online, the trucking industry has been presented with a rapidly expanding opportunity

As consumers become increasingly comfortable buying appliances and other large items online, the trucking industry has been presented with a rapidly expanding opportunity in the form of last mile delivery services. E-commerce merchants are anxiously seeking companies and truck drivers who can deliver their large and heavy products to consumers – the ones that small package delivery companies, like FedEx and UPS, aren’t built to handle.

The key lies in having fast and dependable last mile delivery logistics, and many trucking companies are already hard at work.

What is Last Mile Delivery?

Last mile delivery fills the void between package transportation hubs and consumers, typically those at residential addresses. The demand for this service has increased along with the comfort that online shoppers have in buying large products sight unseen, such as dishwashers and outdoor grills.

Opportunity in Last Mile Delivery

In 2018, last mile delivery service was an 8.9-billion-dollar market. That’s a 10-percent increase from 2017 and makes the growth rate of last mile delivery significantly larger than regular freight. Experts say the growth is expected to increase for many more years given the comfort that Millennials have buying their goods online.

That’s why trucking companies like J.B. Hunt have invested heavily in last mile delivery logistics. They recently shelled out a sizable amount to purchase Cory 1st Choice Home Delivery, a company well equipped to deliver large items to consumers through their 14 warehouses and more than 1,000 independent contractors across the U.S.

In an interview with Bloomberg a J.B. Hunt executive, Corey Tisdale, explained how having these drivers on their payroll allows for consistent training on specialized deliveries, such as appliances that need to be hooked up in homes they’re delivered to.

Other companies, like XPO Logistics Inc. and Ryder Systems Inc., are also busy making acquisitions in order to build a network of local carriers and further the growth of their last mile delivery programs.

The First Chapter of the Last Mile

As trucking companies invest heavily in the development of last mile delivery logistics and look to pioneer solutions to the challenges of last mile delivery, the trucking industry once again finds itself on the cutting edge of a brand new economic opportunity. Connecting e-commerce businesses both large and small with consumers across the country and advancing the future of online shopping.

It’s the Wild West of last mile delivery, and the pioneers who can master both dependability and scalability are sure to get a sizable chunk of this relatively untouched goldmine.

The potential is seemingly endless but, don’t forget, the work is there now.

Gear up for Last Mile Delivery Service.

US Cargo Control has the trucking equipment and moving supplies that last mile trucking companies need. Items as large as hand trucks and E-track systems, or as small as wheel chocks and tie down straps, can all be purchased online directly from our website.

2018 Trucking Industry Trends: The Year of the Truck Driver

“This year [2018] will be the best for the trucking industry since 2005”, says David Ross, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp. 

What makes Ross so confident? It’s all about freight rates, truck sales, and ELDs.  

Learn how 2018 trucking industry trends are hauling the trucking industry towards one of its best years ever.  

freight rates

Freight Rates are Soaring 

According to the American Trucking Associations For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, January 2018 saw an 8.8 percent increase in freight tonnage compared to January 2017. 

Combine this with the current driver shortage, and you begin to understand why we are seeing record shipping rates in 2018.  It’s all about supply and demand. 

And those who are in the industry can capitalize. In January 2018, freight rates for refrigerated trailers reached $2.66 per mile. That’s a 71-cent increase from the same time last year. 

Similarly, dry van spot rates shot up by 59 cents ($2.26 per mile), and flatbed rates climbed 47 cents ($2.39 per mile) compared to last year. 

Experts expect rates to grow even higher as we move towards spring freight season. 

Truck Sales are Surging 

Many carriers have been investing in new trucks instead of continuing to spin their wheels investing in new drivers. This is due to a combination of the economy’s health, new tax policy, and high driver turnover rates. 

According to Americas Commercial Transportation Research Co. (ACT), big-rig manufacturers received orders for more than 49,100 trucks in January 2018. A 121 percent increase from the same time last year. 

 

 

 

 

 

And Class 8 truck orders just rose to the second-highest level since March 2006. 

Peterbilt is already forecasting sales of a quarter-million Class 8 trucks this year. 

Also, according to ACT, the industry saw a 250 percent increase in refrigerated trailer orders compared to last January.

ELD Mandate Passes Pressure to Shippers 

Interestingly, lingering concerns related to the ELD mandate has partially contributed to rising shipping rates. At least temporarily. 

But, there are also positive long-term ELD effects to expect. 

truck shippers

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you know, ELDs track the exact amount of time a driver spends waiting for loading and unloading. Shippers can be quickly analyzed, compared, and dropped if they are found to be inefficient.

This means shippers will have to work harder and smarter for drivers. 

With such high freight tonnage, and a low number of drivers, the power of choice lies more in the hands of carriers and drivers.  

Top 5 Major Challenges Facing the Trucking Industry Today

Since 1954, the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) has been on a mission “to conduct transportation research with an emphasis on the trucking industry’s essential role in a safe, efficient, and viable transportation system.” 

The ATRI, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, recently released their annual report outlining the most critical challenges facing the trucking industry in 2017.  The report is based on survey responses from trucking industry stakeholders across the country, including both motor carriers and professional drivers. 

We’ve compiled a summary of the top five major challenges. 

 1. Driver Shortage  

This has been an industry concern for years, but it hasn’t been at the top of the list since 2006. As the health of the U.S. economy improves, the demand for drivers has simultaneously increased. The problem, according to ATRI research, is that nearly 57 percent of the trucking workforce is at least 45 years old. If this trend continues, the American Trucking Associations estimates that the shortage will reach over 174,000 drivers by the year 2026. 

This chart, from ATRI, shows the low percentage of young truck drivers compared to other industries.


2. 
ELD Mandate  

Even after implementation, critics of the ELD mandate continue to have concerns. These include less independence, lower wages, and more impatient driving. Also, implementation of the mandate has been less than seamless, to say the least. Nearly twenty states have already delayed writing tickets for non-compliance. Another ten states are leaving ticket writing “up to the discretion of the individual officer.” But still, a majority of ELD distaste seems to stem back to the lack of flexibility in Hours-of-Service rules.  

3. Hours of Service  

The ELD mandate more firmly enforces current Hours-of-Service rules. That’s why flexible hours of service rules are now more important to drivers than ever before. Many industry stakeholders identified the sleeper berth provision as one that needs more flexibility. It currently requires drivers to take at least eight consecutive hours in their sleeper berth. Many believe this time should be split up throughout the day. Then drivers could rest when tired and readjust driving schedules to avoid major traffic congestion.  

4. Truck Parking   

Safe and available parking is an everyday necessity for truck drivers. While this ranks fourth among all respondents, it’s the second most concerning challenge among drivers alone. Results of a 2016 ATRI study showed that 84 percent of drivers reported parking in unauthorized or undesignated parking at least once a week. The difficult choice many drivers face is whether to drive beyond what HOS rules allow, or to stop and park in an unauthorized or unsafe location. 

5. Driver Retention  

According to American Trucking Association’s 2017 second-quarter report, the turnover rate for large truckload fleets reached 90 percent. Similarly, the turnover rate for smaller carriers hit 85 percent. Obviously, adding more drivers to the workforce only proves beneficial if those drivers stay. Driver turnover raises recruitment and training costs, which only makes it harder to attract the right drivers. Some motor carriers have been trying to combat these low retention numbers by using sign-on/stay-on bonuses.  

More Critical Trucking Industry Challenges 

The additional challenges outlined in the 2017 ATRI report include:  

  1. CSA
  2. Cumulative Economic Impact of Regulations
  3. Driver Distraction
  4. Transportation Infrastructure/Congestion/Funding
  5. Driver Health and Wellness.

 

Do you agree with the need to address these issues? Are there other major challenges you face that should have made the list? Please, let us know in the comments below.  

5 Awesome Apps for Truck Drivers 

Anyone with a smartphone and data connection can send emails, shop for goods, make reservations, and connect with friends or even total strangers. However, the endless amount of resources available on the internet can be, at times, completely overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like digging through an unorganized toolbox, trying to find the exact right tool for a job. The frustrating part (of both the internet and your messy toolbox) is you know the perfect solution is in there somewhere.  

The Right Tool for the Job 

Apps help to organize some of what the internet has to offer.  Whether for business, entertainment, music, or health, apps usually stick to serving one designated function or solving one specific problem. They save time by storing user information and being quickly accessible.

 

  1. ICG ProfitCalc – a bidding app that helps you negotiate with brokers and shippers smarter. It calculates specific profit margins based on your projected annual costs and specific load-by-load rate calculations. The calculations are based on load mileage and other key details, and this is all clearly laid out for you in fillable data fields. A onetime cost of $15 will get you this number crunching app.
     
  2. Trucker Path – a free navigation app that will help you find the nearest truck stop, gas station (with truck clearance), repair shop, or weigh station no matter where you are. The big benefit of this app is that it updates in real time to tell you if a weigh station is open or closed, if there’s available parking at any given truck stop, and even current fuel prices at gas stations.
     
  3. Rolling Strong – a free health and wellness app from a company dedicated to the wellbeing of truck drivers. The app offers nutritional guidance by suggesting meals and exercise programs based on your daily sleep, exercise, and water and calorie intake. Maybe the coolest feature is the fitness competitions with other drivers who use the app. The motivation to win these competitions? Points that can be used towards food, merchandise, and free showers. The Rolling Strong App is free to download.
     
  4. iHeartRadio – a music, radio, and podcast app with various subscription levels to choose from. The free version gives you access to AM/FM radio stations from around the world. You can skip up to six songs per hour, per station. iHeart Plus gives you more control over what plays. For $5 a month, you can play specific tracks on demand and have unlimited skips. The All Access subscription is $10 per month. This one allows you to listen even while offline; no need for a wi-fi or data connection. Both paid versions offer a 30-day free trial.
  5.  Facebook – you probably already use this social media platform, but the free Facebook app makes it even easier to stay connected and take advantage of all that Facebook has to offer. For example, you can play games with your friends and even buy and sell items and services on the Facebook Marketplace. Share and store pictures and video, and even message and video chat with friends and family– all from the app. While you’re at it, follow the US Cargo Control Facebook page for great deals and information.

 

 Share your Best Trucker Apps 

Have any trucker specific apps that have come in handy for you? Help others out by sharing them in the comments below! 

 

USCC Enhances Structure to Elevate Customer Dedication

US Cargo Control has always been dedicated to providing business’ and individuals with quality products and prompt, professional service. Whether online or over the phone, our continual goal is to get you “what you want, when you need it.”  

Expertise  

Throughout the years, we have assembled a dedicated staff that thrives on being product and industry experts. Every last one of them seeks to make your job safer and easier, and your equipment allocation more efficient. We are always happy to take your calls and promptly answer any questions about product, price, shipping, or custom order needs.  

With these experts in place, we are now strategically structuring our sales and service team to better serve you.  

What isn’t changing is our steadfast dedication to providing cargo control solutions for the industries we serve. Our three largest currently being: trucking and transportation, lifting and rigging, and moving.

Your Trusted Partner  

We aim to be your trusted partner and consultant, not just an equipment vendor. This will be accomplished by organizing our sales and service team in a way that gets each customer their own dedicated team. Our dedicated consultants and teams will be strategically focused on your industry, your company, and your individual needs.   

For companies and individuals already familiar with us, expect the same great industry knowledge, customer service, and transparent communication you have come to expect from us, but with a more strategic focus on your specific needs and your company goals; both now and in the future.   

Considering giving USCC an opportunity? The time has never been better to experience the advantages of working with a company that genuinely cares about every aspect of your business and your needs.   

What You Should Expect  

Within each team, these dedicated professionals will consult and solve whatever needs you may have. When you call in, one of our Inside Sales Specialists will answer and be able to explain our products in detail, answer any questions, and find the best solutions that meet your goals. Our Service & Solutions Specialists can update you on pending orders, as well as help you manage web orders and freight-related items. Finally, our Business Development Consultants will listen to your long-term needs to help you develop a cost-effective purchasing strategy. Your growth and success are our top priority. 

“All three roles will become an extension of your team by being a dedicated, trusted, and accessible resource for all your equipment needs,” said Zach Schmit, Chief Sales Officer at USCC. 

In addition, we are streamlining the phone order process by cutting our inbound phone numbers down to a small handful. This will save you time and hassle by directing your call to the right industry specialist, right away.   

Put us to the Test  

At the end of the day, actions always speak louder than words. There is only one way to truly understand everything we have to offer you. Challenge us to deliver on all your cargo control needs. Don’t see what you’re looking for on our website? No problem. Just ask us and see what we can do for you. Let us show you the benefit of having dedicated consultants on your side. Check out our website, call us at 855-785-0412, or stop by our showroom. We are located in Urbana, Iowa – right off Interstate 380, at 202 Blue Creek Drive. We look forward to helping you, and your business, grow and succeed.

Ratchet Straps

Snatch Blocks

Moving Kits

15 Tax Deductions Every Truck Driver Should Consider

First, what is a tax deduction? Essentially a tax deduction is a work-related expense that lowers your annual reported income. That usually means, less tax owed by you.  

If you’re a driver in the trucking industry, you’ve probably run into various expenses out on the road this past year. As stressful as taxes can be, tax time is your chance to claim deductions and get some of that money back.  

Tax Home Requirement for Truck Drivers  

Before a truck driver can claim a deduction, the IRS requires that you have a “tax home,” or address to list on your tax return. This is usually the address where you receive your mail. It could be your business’ headquarters or a personal residence. However, regulations say that you must regularly contribute towards that residence.   

In short, without a tax home, you will not be allowed to deduct business and travel expenses.  

Truck Driver Tax Deductions

Remember, you can only claim deductions on unreimbursed expenses.

  1. Travel Expenses – Includes hotels, meals, and more. There are different methods for recording these expenses. Check out IRS Publication 463 for more details. If you already use the standard allowance method, you can calculate your daily lodging, meal, and incidental expense allowance using the per diem rate tool.
  2. Vehicle Expenses – Most of what you need to keep your office-on-wheels running is deductible. Includes maintenance such as oil changes and new tires, as well as needed repairs. If you own your rig, you should be able to deduct depreciation amounts year to year.
  3.  Fuel – This one has some restrictions. If you paid more than $100 out of pocket for fuel and were not reimbursed, you can deduct some of that amount using standard mileage rates. Remember that it has to be for business purposes. Commuting costs are not deductible.
  4. License and Regulatory Fees – Costs associated with obtaining and maintaining your CDL. Also, the cost of any required classes or training to further your job education are generally deductible.
  5. Union and Trade Association Fees – Required union and truck driving association group dues are usually deductible. In some cases, even voluntary membership dues are deductible if the membership helps you do your job.
  6.  Medical Exams – You’re likely required to visit the doctor for a DOT physical, drug test, or maybe even a sleep apnea study. If you pay out of pocket for any of those, the costs are generally deductible.
  7. Office Supplies – Traditional office supplies like pencils, binders, and calculators can often be deducted as a business expense. You may also be able to deduct costs for job-related office services such as faxing and photocopying.
  8. Trade Publications Subscriptions – As long as the magazines or journals you subscribe to are directly related to your industry, they can usually be deducted. If you have load board subscription fees, they may also be deductible.

    Transport chain and other load securement equipment can be tax deductible.
  9. Load Securement – You can usually deduct the equipment you need to secure your precious cargo. A great excuse to get some new ratchet strapsbungee cordschains, and tarps.
  10. Electronics – Generally deductible when used only for work purposes. Examples include your CB radio, GPS, GPS map updates, and your ELD.  Also, repair costs for these devices are often deductible. You probably use your cell phone, data plan, or laptop for both business and personal reasons. Therefore, these items are usually only 50% deductible.
  11. Tools – This one is almost too good to be true. Your tax return can usually include deductions for almost any roadway tool your job requires: duct and electrical tapes, hammers, pliers, tire irons, and more.
  12. Clothing –  You can usually deduct items if you need them to perform your job. Specialized clothing such as overalls, rain gear, safety glasses, safety vests, and hard hats all fall into this category.
  13. Sleeper Berth – On long trips away from home, you need this off-duty space to prepare for your next shift behind the wheel. Save receipts for items like bedding, alarm clocks, cab curtains, and mini-fridges, as these items are often tax deductible.
  14. Personal Care Items – Hygiene products like soap, toothpaste, razors, and even first-aid equipment. Keep in mind that shower and laundry cleaning costs can also be deductible.
  15. Cleaning Supplies – Just about anything that keeps your rig sparkling clean and ready for service.  Towels, window cleaner, trash bags, and even a personal vacuum can all be tax deductible.  

Claiming your Truck Driving Deductions   

In conclusion, it’s important for truck drivers to be aware of and take advantage of the industry-specific tax deductions available to them.    

However, everyone has unique employment and tax situations. This post does not intend to provide any specific tax advice. Please consult a tax professional if you have specific questions on what deductions apply to your situation.   

ELD Mandate: Rerouting the Trucking Industry

Deadline to Comply Looms Near

On December 18th, the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate goes into effect nationwide. The days when truckers could log their miles and hours by hand will soon be in the rearview.

Enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the ELD mandate requires truckers to purchase and link a computerized device to their rig’s engine and onboard system. ELDs capture truckers every move: whether the engine is running, whether the vehicle is moving, and where the vehicle is located.

Some large companies, such as FedEx and UPS, have already been utilizing these devices. However, the majority of owner-operators have not.

Under the mandate, truckers will have limited driving time. 11 hours of driving a day within a 14 hour workday. Also, there is a requirement to take 10 consecutive off-duty hours per day.

Less Fatigue or Less Patience?

The intent of these embedded time-trackers is to greatly reduce roadway accidents. ELDs aim to do that by eliminating inaccurate reporting and minimizing the number of fatigued drivers. However, many truckers argue this will only add pressure to their already deadline-driven jobs, which, in turn, will outweigh the positives of reduced fatigue.

In an article by Overdrive Magazine, Darrell Wright, an owner-operator of a three-truck company, explains how this mandate may actually cause more hazardous driving. “If I’m driving 74 miles per hour and I see a car easing up on me, I will usually let off and let the car go on, but after the ELDs go into effect I can’t give that courtesy anymore because every time I let off the accelerator I lose money,” said Wright.

Trading Autonomy for Information

Another concern is data collection. To the FMCSA, constant collection will benefit the industry by clearly communicating driver, truck, and route trends. For example, ELDs can precisely track time spent waiting for loading and unloading. This will expose companies who are consistently making drivers wait unreasonable lengths of time. Theoretically resulting in more efficient shippers.

However, trucking has historically been one of the most independent professions. The idea of being tracked, monitored, and rigidly regulated leaves an unconstitutional taste in the mouths of free-spirited truckers. Most of whom already know their jobs can be done without data pools of information.

Indeed, such a sophisticated device creates a vulnerability to hacking and potential risk to drivers hauling sensitive cargo.

During an interview with Q13 Fox news, President of the United Independent Truckers of America, Harry Singh, said “This is a violation of our privacy.” Singh went on to say, “Having the tracking system in our trucks will allow the government to track us 24 hours a day and that’s not good for privacy and it’s not good for safety reasons.”

With less than one week before the deadline, the FMCSA remains full speed ahead. This, despite legislative delay attempts and ongoing truck-stop protests. Once implemented, a driver caught without an ELD can be fined or even be placed out of service.