Most people have a picturesque idea of what it’s like to work in the trucking industry. They imagine a truck driver traveling across the nation, getting a first-person view of the amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties. They envision a job filled with hard-work and independence. Those assumptions are true in part but there are other, less romanticized, aspects of trucking. No one dreams about staying compliant with all the government regulations and the legal documents. Those of us in the industry know that keeping your trucking company compliant is practically a full-time job.
Keeping up with the legal paperwork and renewal filings is time consuming for the busy trucking company owner that’s preoccupied with trying to run a successful business. There are quarterly International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) filings, annual Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) filings, Biennial Updates for Motor Carrier (MC) authority, and more. It’s a lot to remember. The Form 2290 Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax, commonly referred to as HVUT, is part of that complicated equation.
What Is a 2290 Tax Form?
The Heavy Highway Vehicle Use Tax Return (HVUT) or Form 2290 is a Federal Excise Tax on heavy vehicles operating on public highways at registered gross weights equal to or greater than 55,000 pounds. The Form 2290 is due by August 31 for the period running from July 1 to June 30 annually. You must present a copy of your HVUT Schedule 1 to renew your license plates each year.
In short, it’s an additional IRS tax filing that needs to be filed every year for most trucking companies. There are a few vehicles that are exempt from filing their HVUT, that criteria can be found here.
E-file Form 2290
You could sure use a break, right? Because we specialize in working with small to medium-sized trucking companies, we know that time-saving tools and services are invaluable to our clients and all trucking company owners. That’s why we’ve made filing your Form 2290 easy! We’ve partnered with Express Truck Tax to provide a simple and hassle-free way to e-file Form 2290s for all trucking companies. You’ll be walked through four short steps to get your HVUT Schedule 1 in minutes and get access to customer support experts to help answer your questions if you need assistance along the way. Start your filing here!
Renewal Filings the Apex Way
We take compliance one step further at Apex by providing the option to file your Form 2290 for you. It doesn’t get easier than that! The HVUT is just one of the compliance documents we can help with. Our Renewal Filings program also includes Biennial Update, BOC-3 renewal, UCR renewal, and more. We send our clients reminders when their next renewal is due so that they can choose to renew them on their own or let us do it for them.
Imagine not having to worry about missing renewal filing deadlines, like the Form 2290. That’s just one of the advantages of being an Apex client! Get fast cash for your freight bills, world-class customer service that helps you stay compliant, and receive great fuel discounts with the Apex Fuel Card. Give us a call at 855-369-2739 or get started here!
Trucking companies with small-to-medium fleets tend to procrastinate when it comes to truck maintenance. That’s an under-the-breath fact that most hate to admit. But the reality is that trucking companies with anywhere from, say, 2-50 trucks get preoccupied with other aspects of the business – booking loads, establishing credit, making payroll, managing fuel expenses – and the truck maintenance mental checklist is quickly forgotten.
If you’ve got your load to haul and the engine starts when you turn the key, all is good. Well, not really. You could be headed toward preventable expensive repairs farther down the road.
Truck Maintenance Best Practices are So Important
That’s exactly why truck maintenance best practices are so important. That’s no industry buzz phrase, that’s real-time sound advice. According to cerasis.com, a typical maintenance schedule includes A, B, and C services. Your A service is most frequent, about every 3,000 miles, and covers most major components. Double that mileage and you head into your B service, which enhances the benefits of the A service. Then C service is as needed. For instance, suspension components should be checked every 12,000 miles.
Keeping the truck running smoothly with timely maintenance not only gets you through your route without engine glitches, but it also maximizes your fuel efficiency. Checking for proper tire pressure and tread, tight wheel nuts, intact hoses, and functioning brakes all keep fuel usage cost-effective. That’s big savings in your pocket.
Apex Clients Enjoy Huge TA Truck Service Discounts
At Apex, we totally understand the value of truck maintenance. So does TA and Petro. Apex clients get huge TA and Petro discount advantages simply by being Apex factoring clients. TA Truck Service offers a variety of preventative maintenance packages that include oil change, tractor lubrication, pushrod stroke inspection, steering fluid, SCA/ELC contamination checks, trailer preventative maintenance options, and many more.These preventative maintenance packages are a time-saving and efficient way to ensure those A, B, and C service maintenance schedules we mentioned are covered.
Now let’s talk about tires. Tires are what keeps your trucking company rolling, literally. Taking care of them is super important. Experts suggest looking into low rolling resistance tires that use shallower tread and can save your trucks big money on fuel. We know the value of keeping your tires in good shape, that’s why Apex clients can save up to $95 per tire at TA Truck Service. These includes brand name tires such as Goodyear, Michelin, Bridgestone, Yokohama, Firestone, Dayton, and more. These savings cover tire rotation per wheel, tire mounting, tire repair, and tire disposal.
Don’t Forget to Put Best Practices to Good Use
Now that we’ve given you a road map on truck maintenance, we want you to put those best practices to good use. The most important thing is to make sure you are keeping your trucks up-to-date on maintenance. Keep a digital checklist that you can upload on your computer, your phone, and your tablet. Set up digital reminders so that you know what needed maintenance is coming. Always be prepared for scheduled and surprise inspections, not to mention for all your hauling. Don’t procrastinate on truck maintenance and save yourself headaches down the road.
Become an Apex factoring client and enjoy huge fuel discounts at TA and Petro and maintenance and repair savings at TA Truck Service. Visit our website or simply give us a call at 855-369-2739.
For you, the independent trucker and trucking company, that means it’s time to be an extra thrifty shopper. Think of yourself as a tech smart coupon clipper keeping frequent tabs on sales at your local department store. When fuel swallows up to 40% of your annual trucking budget, you watch those diesel numbers every day.
Apex Has You Covered at the Pump
Here at Apex we have you covered with a truckload of ways to save, save, and save some more on fuel. Look at our handy checklist and see how pinching pennies (and dollars!) at the pump is as easy as hopping into a comfy cab.
Use the Apex Fuel Card
It is an industry fact that trucking companies with a fuel card stay in business nearly two times longer than trucking companies without a fuel card. Do you have the Apex Fuel Card? Sign up now! See the benefits you get when using our fuel card.
Get a Free Fuel Analysis
Let us examine your fuel spending history and give you advice on how to save money when filling up. Our Free Fuel Analysis can help you see the potential savings – daily, monthly, quarterly, annually – right at your fingertips.
We pass on huge savings to you through our Apex Fuel Card discount locations. These are truck stop partners working with Apex to discount diesel for our fuel card clients.
Get Cost Plus Pricing
Cost Plus is the cost of a diesel gallon (with taxes and freight costs to transport the fuel from rack to truck stop) plus a pumping fee. Think of cost plus as the price the truck stop is paying for each diesel gallon, then add a few cents. Say the cost price is $2.65 and the plus is 5 cents, you pay $2.70 per gallon.
Save an Average of 30 cents per Gallon
You read that right. Currently Apex clients can save an average of 30 cents per gallon of diesel fuel. That’s huge! The savings add up fast and there’s always an in-network location near you.
Find Your Personal Pot of Gold
With the Apex Fuel Card, you can monitor your fuel savings daily, monthly, quarterly, and annually all through AMP and the Apex Mobile Factoring™ App. Just click on “savings” and you’ll see your history of dollars saved. It’s your personal pot of gold!
Now are you ready to save big money on fuel? Experience the huge benefits of the Apex Fuel Card and the world-class customer service of Apex factoring. Always take us with you on your long hauls. Give us a call today at 855-369-2739 or learn more about the Apex Fuel Card.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “there’s an app for that.” It was popularized back in 2008 by Apple Inc. when they released the iPhone® 3g. If we fast forward ten years and 15 iPhone® versions later, we can all agree that there truly is an app for just about everything. While that might be great for iPhone® and Android®, it’s hard for the rest of us to know which apps will help save us time, money, or stress. There are probably thousands of apps for truckers. But our list of the four best trucker apps will help you work smarter, not harder.
Helpful Mobile Apps for Truckers on the Road
How many times have you put the delivery location listed on the Bill of Lading into your GPS only to learn that the dock is down the street, across town, or in another city altogether? Dock411 gives the dock details truck drivers deserve. But it’s not just for drivers! The details found on Dock411 let you know which truck you’ll need to use for delivery, average weight times, if you need an appointment, if the dock offers overnight parking, and much more. Dock411 lists ratings and allows for comments to be posted so that you’ll know what to expect when you get there. Additionally, Dock411 encourages shippers and receivers to publish information about their docks to help save you time, money, and stress.
TruckSmart® Mobile App
What if you or your truck drivers didn’t have to worry where to park or where to shower? With this TA and Petro services app, you don’t! The TruckSmart® app is the ultimate time saver for trucking companies and their truck drivers. With the TruckSmart® app you can reserve truck parking up to 30 days in advance – for any location, any time. You can schedule service maintenance between 2 to 24 hours of your arrival to a TA Truck Service location resulting in a shorter wait time. You can also purchase a shower ahead of time within 50 miles of your current location with UltraONE points or shower credits.
The TruckSmart® app can come in handy especially for Apex clients. Apex clients who have an Apex Fuel Card, service provided by TCS, can save an average of 30 cents per gallon on fuel at TA and Petro and get exclusive tire and maintenance discounts at TA Truck Service locations. Our clients can save up to $95 per tire on everyone’s favorite tire brands like Goodyear, Michelin, Yokohama, BFGoodrich, and many more.
Mobile Apps Built to Help You Run Your Trucking Company
The TransConnect Mobile App
The TransConnect (TCS) Mobile App makes managing fuel easy if you have the TCS Fuel Card. This app allows clients to have 24/7 account access and management from anywhere, and easy contact to a Client Services Representative directly, if necessary. Another great feature of the TCS app is the TransConnect Fuel Finder. This interactive map shows the best fuel prices in your area or along a route so that you never miss out on any fuel card discounts.
Apex Mobile Factoring™
When your business is on the move, it just makes sense to have the ability to factor your freight bills wherever you are. You can do that with the Apex Mobile Factoring™ app and much more. You can instantly check credit on your customers, upload and store images of paperwork for later use, get 24/7 account access and management, and create invoices for your freight bills with just a few clicks. The Apex Mobile Factoring™ app is one of the fastest ways that trucking companies can get paid for their freight bills.
You don’t have to be an Apex client to use the Mobile Factoring™ app, you can try it out now and get five free credit checks. Use the Apex Fuel Finder to find the best fuel prices in your area or along a route and details about truck stops. Download the app to set up your free trial account today!
Apps to Help Your Trucking Company
These apps will help your trucking company while the load is in transit, delivering at the dock, and after the delivery when you need to submit freight bills for payment. We’re covering all the basic elements of trucking and making it simple. All the apps are available for download on iPhone® and Android® and can be found on the Apple App Store® and Google Play Store®. Best of all, these are all free trucker apps!
When you become an Apex client you’ll get the added benefits of our apps, which will save you even more time and stress. Apex is a full-service freight factoring company that provides steady reliable cash flow, great fuel discounts, tire and maintenance discounts, and much more. Call 855-369-2739 or get started here!
Infrastructure Week Aftermath: Tolls, Taxes, and Trucks
The roads are just as important as the trucks that drive on them all day, every day. That’s why we follow the infrastructure plan so closely here at Apex. We want to know what is being put in place for the roads across America. A few weeks ago, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders commented that President Trump’s infrastructure package is unlikely to be put into place this year. That announcement came just before the scheduled Infrastructure Week, a non-profit organization created to promote the increasingly urgent regional and local highway construction demands. Most legislators and industry leaders agree that our nation’s infrastructure needs an update in a big way. According to Transport Topics, the cause of delay is creating an infrastructure plan that Congress will agree to. Discussions surround increasing toll roads or taxes to support infrastructure are understandably unpopular and aren’t gaining traction. So, we’re still waiting and watching out for the next big infrastructure news. All that we can say is stay tuned.
Tips for Getting Summer Roadside Inspection Ready
Are you ready for an unexpected roadside inspection any time of the year? We hope so, but as summer approaches so do the are various inspection blitz’s, like the CVSA International Roadcheck. So now is a good time to inspect your rig and paperwork processes. First thing is first, keep up with regular truck maintenance, certifications, and licenses. Knowing where all proper documentation is located will make your roadside inspection a lot less stressful! But that’s just the first of five helpful tips. The American Trucker has the rest of those easy and inexpensive tips that can save you time, money, and citations.
FMCSA’s Ray Martinez Talks HOS, ELDs, and the Future of the Trucking Industry
During an industry meeting Ray Martinez, the head of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) discussed that he wants the government agency that regulates the trucking industry to have a positive relationship with fleets and drivers. How does he plan to do that? By addressing the pain points of trucking. Martinez discussed making changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) rules, truck parking, addressing the driver shortage, and detention. For now, it appears they are still collecting data and researching these issues. This summer they are working on reviewing crash data and discussing how ratings are determined for the Compliance, Safety and Accountability program. For the full details about how Martinez plans to regulate the trucking industry head over to Transport Topics.
For-hire Trucking Industry Experiences an April Slump
The trucking industry can be topsy-turvy. You know, from the ups and downs of seasonal trucking demands to the changes in staffing at big and small trucking companies. So it’s no surprise that there was a national dip in April. The for-hire trucking industry dropped 5,500 jobs in April, according to an article in the CCJ Daily Report. But, there’s always a silver lining in trucking, that’s the industry’s first month-to-month slip since last August. That’s nearly a year ago. Trucking falls under the transportation and warehousing sector, and that division added just 400 jobs in April. In trucking, you take the bad with the good. Check out another report on this trucking slump in Truckers News.
Trucker Gets Stuck in Snowy Oregon Before Walking to Survive
And now a story of resilience and survival. A trucker, 22-year-old Jacob Cartwright, mistakenly plugged in the wrong address into his GPS and ended up 100 miles out of his way. He got stuck in the middle of snowy Oregon mountain wilderness and could no longer safely maneuver his tractor trailer out of the area. So, he ended up walking 36 miles without much food or water and with a dead cell phone until he finally found help. Cartwright, who made sure not to raid his edible cargo, endured dehydration and exposure, but he will make a full recovery. Overdrive Magazine has the story, as well as a video report from The Today Show.
Truckers Can Be Good Luck Charms on the Highway
Truckers can be good luck charms for fellow drivers on the highway. They are primed to keep highways safe for other motorists. Think about their positions – perched high above normal traffic, able to see with better clarity than most other drivers – and realize that they can assist law enforcement officials by anonymously reporting reckless driving (speeding, tailgating, weaving). Plus, good truckers are super safe and obedient. It is to their benefit to drive safely and carefully. They are also Truckers Against Trafficking (TAT) volunteers who can help save lives. American Trucker has this thoughtful story about how truckers are highway angels.
Has Strict ELD Enforcement Impacted Spot Market Freight Rates?
According to the data from DAT Trendlines™, the answer is no. Earlier this month there were more trucks posting their availability on the spot market and capacity loosened a little bit. This good news followed a record month for spot market rates in March where flatbed trailers received a 16-cent increase month-over-month and van rates have risen 52 cents year-over-year and are on track to exceed their previous record rate-per-mile. Mark Montague, DAT industry analyst, expects to see “rates continue to rise at least until the end of June.” Get more spot market freight rate information, like where the best freight rates are currently in the nation, and more from Overdrive and American Trucker.
A Record Freight Demand has Carriers and Shippers Working Together
When you think about the truck driver shortage, an increasing load-to-truck ratio, a tightening of capacity, and a booming economy it makes you wonder how the transportation of goods and services will fair. Luckily, carriers and shippers are working together to prevent disruptions to the ever-growing demand on freight haulers. Shippers are allowing more flexible delivery times, increasing load volumes, and using drop-and-hook set ups to keep truck drivers moving. Carriers believe that shippers will consider increasing the use of dedicated equipment to meet transportation demands. To learn more about current freight demands and the efforts to keep up with them, head over to Transport Topics.
ELD Violations are Now Recorded in SMS
Now that the soft enforcement period for ELDs is over the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will record all ELD violations in the Safety Measurement System (SMS). Why is this important? Because ELD violations that occurred prior to the April 1st enforcement date won’t be added to the SMS. Any new ELD violations recorded in the SMS system will be reflected in the Hours of Service Compliance BASIC in early May. Heavy Duty Trucking and Overdrive have the full lists of ELD violations, their severity weights, and tips on which ELD violations you can DataQ if they were received prior to April 1, 2018.
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Did you notice? In a world where multitasking is essentially expected, with an abundance of technological toys at our fingertips, it’s a wonder anybody can focus on the wheel and the road.
That failure to focus has become quite a liability. According to the National Safety Council, more than 40,000 people were killed on our nation’s roadways last year. Distracted driving has been deemed a big contributor.
For truckers, the need to stay safe on the highway is a major priority. But when April rolls around that priority gets a push. This is the month to pay extra attention to safety, writes Fleetowner.com. For those trucking companies that don’t already have a written manual on safe driving practices, this is the month to create one. Make sure to mention policies on cell phone usage, speeding, seat belt use, and following distances.
Check These Tips for Safe Trucking
The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has a cool checklist that covers three areas of safety concentration – visual, manual, and cognitive. Avoid jeopardizing your safety and that of fellow drivers with these tips.
• Visual – Keep your eyes on the road, pull over to read directions, and have your phone on “do not disturb” mode.
• Manual – Keep your phone out of reach, adjust before driving, and don’t reach for items while driving.
• Cognitive – Avoid all phone calls, focus on the road, and keep your emotions under control.
Those are all great tips to avoid distracted driving. We have a few more for you.
• Take your time – It’s important that your load arrives on time, but don’t exceed speed limits or drive recklessly to make a deadline.
• Check your truck – How’s your rig? Maintenance is huge – tires, brakes, fluids, and electrical. Make sure everything’s tip-top before you crank up.
• Check yourself – Did you get enough sleep? Did you eat right? How’s your mood? Believe it or not, all that plays a part in your health and wellbeing behind the wheel.
• Buckle up – Make sure those seat belts are fastened, clear your head, put your phone away, stay calm, and roll along.
Driving Music: Help or Hindrance?
These are all obvious. But before we let you take that haul to its destination, let’s talk about music. There is some debate as to whether music is an enhancement or a distraction to driving. Sure, if you keep changing songs on the radio or if you frequently fiddle with your iPod, you will be distracted. That makes sense.
But let’s say you keep the tunes on continuously without any kind of adjustments. They are in the background. If then, what kind of music would help instead of hinder driving? According to researchers at London Metropolitan University, music that mimics resting human heartbeat (60-80 beats per minute) is best to listen to while driving. By contrast, aggressive and fast-paced music – heavy metal, hard rock, hip-hop – is recognized as a cause for faster, more distracted driving. That’s precisely when drivers paid more attention to the music than the road.
Good rules to drive by. And remember, even though April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, truckers should be safe behind the wheel from January to December.
Ready to take your safe truck driving record to the next level? Become an Apex freight factoring client and let us help your business grow. Visit our website or simply give us a call at 855-369-2739.
Dialogue is Open on Mandatory Hours of Service Breaks
In the ELD age, when truckers must electronically log their time on and off the road, groundswell is building on mandates to alleviate the daily 14-hour clock regulations. A bill in the U.S. House recently filed by Representative Brian Babin (R-Texas) would allow drivers to take one break a day that could extend to a full three hours. The bill would also remove the mandatory 30-minute break currently required. Overdrive Magazine has the news here. But there’s more: Conversations have begun between trucking industry advocates, truckers, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The lines of communication do seem to be open, according to this Overdrive Magazine article. Is there a long road ahead? Yes. The process of change could take up to 18 months. But for many, that the dialogue is active signifies promising progress.
Good News Keeps Shining Positive Light on Trucking Industry Growth
Even as ELD enforcement continues to spur conversation and controversy, good news keeps shining its positive light. In March, the for-hire trucking industry added 6,700 jobs, according to the Department of Labor’s Employment Situation report. March’s gains follow February’s surge, which saw trucking industry employment soar by 6,000 jobs. The numbers are positive all the way around, according to an article in CCJ Daily Report, for the transportation and warehousing sector. Add the continual rise – or at the very least, steadiness – of freight rates and the future does look rosy for the trucking industry.
Kentucky Headhunters to Perform at Walcott Truckers Jamboree
Are you ready for the annual Walcott Truckers Jamboree? The extravaganza is hosted each year by the Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa. This year’s three-day bash is July 12-14. Newly announced are concert performances by Grammy Award winners The Kentucky Headhunters, of “Dumas Walker” and “Oh Lonesome Me” fame, and country music newcomer Logan Mize, whose recent album is Come Back Road. More musical acts will be announced in the coming months, according to Truckers News. Also, the Jamboree features the Super Truck Beauty Contest, a pork chop cookout, the Trucker Olympics, and many more festivities. This is a big trucking shindig, so don’t miss it.
MATS is the place for all things trucking. The truck show is for everyone, but there is a focus on owner-operators and the small to medium-sized fleets. It’s where truck drivers and trucking company owners can get products and services they need and familiarize themselves with emerging trucking trends. In addition, there is the PKY Truck Beauty Contest, fleet maintenance available on trucks while you’re at the show, concerts and entertainment, and 17 informational seminars. MATS had something for everybody.
MATS the Apex Way
As a full-service factoring company, we offer so many products and services that we need a big crew to talk about all of them. Our transportation experts were there to answer questions about freight factoring, the Apex Startup Program, the Apex Fuel Card Program, and our free load board NextLOAD. We even discussed the importance of checking credit on your customers and encouraged attendees to try our free Mobile Factoring™ app trial account. Anyone can download the app today and receive five free credit checks. Download it on your iPhone or Android.
We gave away tons of swag – t-shirts, pens, portable fans -and we even had treats for our furry friends that frequent the truck show floor. We gave away three Apple iPads and 500 NextLOAD hats. We also, of course, brought along the Apex Porsche race car. When we attend these shows, we like to do it the only way we know how, big and bold. That’s the Apex way.
What We Learned at MATS
The common theme for this year was technology. Technology has infiltrated the trucking industry with the arrival of ELDs, autonomous vehicles, and digital freight brokers. According to Transport Topics, ELDs had a particularly strong presence at MATS with multiple companies exhibiting. The timing of MATS was just one week prior to the ELD enforcement mandate of April 1, which could have contributed to its popularity.
We attended a handful of MATS seminars. The one that interested us most was a seminar with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator, Raymond Martinez, and FMCSA Director of Enforcement and Compliance, Joe Lorenzo. The focus of this listening session was to talk about the pain points of the trucking industry and determine where improvements can be made. They mentioned making changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) rules, truck parking, detention, and training and education for drivers. We will continue to be on the lookout for these changes in 2018. Since returning from MATS there has already been some forward momentum for the HOS regulations changing.
Our biggest takeaway from MATS is always the same. We return from MATS fired up because of the great people and companies we meet. We love working in the trucking industry and providing a fast cashflow solution to trucking companies. If you’re interested in factoring your freight bills with a full-service factoring company, call us at (855)-369-2739 or get started here.