The Business Of Independent Service Provider Contracting

Ben Weil

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Autism Awareness Month

Posted by Ben Weil on Apr 4, 2021 2:15:00 PM

This blog page generally addresses business problems and solutions associated with operating a last mile delivery transportation company. Today's post is just as important, but in a different way.

Speaking of different, the CDC reported roughly 1 in 54 children in the U.S. was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) last year. In fact, 1 in 34 boys identified with autism and 1 in 144 girls identified with autism.*

April is designated as Autism Awareness Month and part of the impetus for this post.

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Topics: autism awareness, autism awareness month

What's Happening with Fuel Prices?

Posted by Ben Weil on Feb 14, 2021 4:25:52 PM

(Stock Image from Canva)

Experts are predicting fuel prices will continue to increase in 2021. Why is that the general consensus?

First, we have to look at the main components of fuel pricing. The underlying components are a.) the cost of crude oil, b.) refining costs, and c.) distribution and marketing costs. Seems simple enough, but then federal, state and local taxes are added. That’s why pricing generally differs from one state to another.

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Topics: Business Results, FedEx Ground, Business, contractor, Fuel, fuel card, fuel management program

Exploring the Need for Training

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 24, 2021 3:48:15 PM

(Jeff Thompson, Courtesy of Jeff Thompson)

Thursday and Friday of last week I watched Gary, my co-worker, leading our Engineering & Operations training class. He’s a former FedEx leader with decades of operations experience. His expertise is unmatched.

Most of the students last week were BC’s. They paid close attention. That’s impressive because earlier in the week they attended the Leadership & Management class, too. BC’s are accustomed to spending most days on their feet. Sitting in a classroom all week is rare for them, but so important.

The attendees, alongside several AO’s and new owners, were truly interested in changing the trajectory of their businesses. Change is not for the weak, nor for those who cannot handle uncertainty.

The week begins by asking attendees to write down the most important questions they want answered. Some of last week’s replies were predictable, and others not so much.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

Understanding Why You're In Business

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 17, 2021 4:28:52 PM

(Jeff Thompson, Courtesy of Jeff Thompson)

What do people do with the money they make from being in business? Let's dive into that question.

Businesses usually exist for reasons other than just making money. Making money is a necessity to keep the business going, but there is probably another reason "why" a business exists.

I encountered one of the most clearly defined reasons "why" a business exists in my recent conversation with Jeff Thompson of CI Express from Kennewick, Washington. Jeff is the subject of our most recent Success Story, and the interview on our website is worth a read. You may even be inspired.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

Fuel Fraud Warning Signs

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 10, 2021 9:15:00 AM

Today's blog post is brought to you by our friends at Fleetcor.

As a Contractor, the work seems simple, deliver packages on time and customers will be happy.

It’s not always that easy, there’s an operational side to your business, the public never sees, that is just as important to your success. One example is managing fuel spend. Fuel fraud and misuse can tank your profits, and it’s not always glaringly obvious when it’s occurring, so it pays to introduce regular monitoring controls.

Keeping a watchful eye on expense trends can help catch fuel fraud early, before perpetrators have a chance to rack up extensive charges.

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Topics: Business Planning, FedEx, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Business, Metrics, Fuel

2021 Insights for Business Owners

Posted by Ben Weil on Jan 3, 2021 1:43:13 PM

We recently caught up with two guys heavily involved with building successful transportation companies to ask for their insights into 2021.

The first expert is a long-time CSP from the Midwest, Tracy Taylor. The second is the founder and CEO of eTruckBiz, Jeff Walczak. Both have spent the better part of their careers in the FedEx Ground arena. We engaged in a fast-paced conversation to produce our most recent Truck Talk podcast episode.

Some of the insights may surprise you.

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Topics: Business Structure, Business Tools, Business Planning, Training, Intelligence, Business Metrics, ISP, FedEx Ground, Business, Negotiation, Metrics, Profit, leadership, safety, coaching, Scheduling

Profitability Profile - Dawn Nyen

Posted by Ben Weil on Nov 22, 2020 4:26:43 PM

(Dawn Nyen, Courtesy of Dawn Nyen)

A co-worker recently suggested that I reach out to a customer who has an interesting history with entrepreneurship.

My conversation with Dawn Nyen developed into our most recent Success Story.  And just in case you don’t venture over to that page on our website, I’ll share one of her lessons learned in this blog post, but trust me the interview is worth the few minutes it takes to read.

Dawn’s path to becoming a FedEx Ground Contractor started in a hotel ballroom. She answered a local newspaper ad instructing people to attend a local recruiting meeting about owning a business. Dawn and her sister were the “last ones standing” in the room. Then, her sister dropped out leaving Dawn standing all alone.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Business, Investment, Metrics, contractor, Profit, leadership

Time Traps: Action & Assessment Phases

Posted by Ben Weil on Oct 18, 2020 9:45:00 PM

As we’re approaching peak this year, conversations with FedEx Ground Contractors reflect a sense of urgency caused by the expected increase in package volume. From California to the east coast, everyone is feeling the pressure. Rental trucks have long been reserved by others, new trucks are scarce, the competition for finding and hiring temporary drivers is tough, and the new pre-load technology is time consuming at best.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

An Organization Time Trap

Posted by Ben Weil on Oct 4, 2020 7:33:46 PM

A common thread amongst FedEx Ground Contractors is the amount of time and effort required to handle everything that’s expected to stay compliant, safe and profitable. If you’ve been tracking our blog posts about time and task management, this is the third in a series.

First, we suggested tracking where your time is spent. From there, we looked at the likelihood that working seven-days a week has resulted in losing your identity. You’re known by your job.

Now, let’s examine how to improve your working situation.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

Six Reasons To Set Up Retirement Plans

Posted by Ben Weil on Sep 27, 2020 11:45:00 AM

If you’re like most FXG Contractors, you don’t spend much time thinking about your retirement. You’re caught up in the daily swarm of running your business. Tucked far away on a backburner of your brain, you understand your eventual exit will happen. Will you be ready?

Thinking about retirement isn’t enough. It’s not a plan. Developing and acting on a plan will provide certainty when the time comes to exit your business.

What’s holding you back? Maybe you don’t know where to start. Maybe you think it’s too expensive, or your company is too small.

Actually, setting up a 401(k) plan isn’t expensive nor is it difficult.

Here are six reasons why you need to set up a 401(k) retirement plan.

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Topics: Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Investment, Metrics

Tracking Financial Results Like FDX

Posted by Ben Weil on Sep 20, 2020 10:02:07 AM

Did you read FedEx’ Quarterly Results issued last week? The financial news outlets wrote absolutely glowing reviews.

Yahoo! Finance headline declared, “FedEx Corp. Reports Strong First Quarter Results” while Barron’s headline gushed, “FedEx Destroys Earnings Estimates. Things Are Getting Really Good.”

Reading further down the page you’ll find, “Operating results increased due to volume growth in...U.S. domestic residential package services, yield improvement at FedEx Ground..., and one additional operating weekday.”

Could Yahoo! Finance and Barron’s write the same headlines about your last three months? You don’t issue forecasts, but if you did - would you be blowing it out of the water, too? If not, why not?

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Planning, Business Results, Bookeeping, Business Metrics, FedEx Ground, Investment, Profit

Five Recruiting Changes to Make Before Peak

Posted by Ben Weil on Aug 30, 2020 7:42:14 AM

Let’s start today’s blog post with a multiple choice question.

What does EVERY FedEx Ground Contractor need?

a.) Qualified drivers.

b.) Available qualified drivers to replace current drivers in the future.

c.) Qualified drivers for Peak.

d.) All the above.

Answer: d.) All of the above.

If you’re covered up with spare qualified drivers, then you’re set. This business is your oyster.

If you’re not, then finding qualified drivers is by far the biggest moving component of your revenue generating machine. Here are five recruiting changes that must happen now to be successful.

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Topics: Driver Recruiting, Business Results, Management, FedEx Ground, Metrics, leadership

Have You Trapped Yourself?

Posted by Ben Weil on Aug 23, 2020 9:30:43 AM

In the last blog post about time management, I recommended tracking your tasks. Did you? If you really want to fix an issue, you follow a process.

So, if you want to improve at managing your time and tasks, you gotta start with accurate facts. It’s the first step to discovering time to do things you'd rather be doing.

Now, it’s time for the next step.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Results, Timekeeping, Management, FedEx Ground, Metrics, leadership

Time Management Is A Lie

Posted by Ben Weil on Aug 9, 2020 2:14:56 PM

Ever wished you could stop time? How about rewind time? Yep, you’ve had those thoughts. Your secret is safe with me.

The truth is our world spins around the sun in a cycle of light and dark we call days and nights. It's way beyond our control. Above our pay-grade as the saying goes. So, why do we think we can manage time?

A co-worker recommended a book written by Todd Duncan called Time Traps. Let me preface something right now, I haven’t read the whole book. I’ve skimmed the first few chapters. Gimme a small break, okay.

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Topics: Business Tools, Business Results, Timekeeping, Management, FedEx Ground, Metrics, leadership

DROwning in a Tsunami of Changes

Posted by Ben Weil on Jul 26, 2020 11:57:25 AM

We recently hosted a webinar that obviously struck a chord with many Contract Service Providers (CSP’s). Attendance for the webinar was sizable. The topic was Dynamic Route Optimization, more well known by its acronym, DRO, which has understandably created a generous amount of frustration.

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Topics: Business Tools, FedEx, Training, FedEx Ground, Investment, Dynamic Route Optimization, DRO

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