How to Calculate Cost Per Mile for Your Trucking Company

How to Calculate Cost Per Mile for Your Trucking Company

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If you do not know the cost per mile your trucks drive, you can run your trucking company out of business before you even know it. Tracking and controlling costs will require some bookkeeping but they are figures you already report for taxation purposes. It only makes sense to use this same data for your own benefit. Knowing what your operational costs are on a per-mile basis allows you to manage expenses more efficiently and determine an appropriate per-mile rate to charge shippers. For trucking companies, this form of cost control provides the essential information needed to be profitable.

We will first discuss how to calculate your operational cost-per-mile in Part 1 of this article. In Part 2, we will discuss how to use this information to streamline your operations to make more money.

We also offer a Free Cost-per-Mile Spreadsheet so you can easily do the following calculations on a reghular basis. 

Part 1: Know your Costs (how to calculate cost-per-mile)

Identifying your company's cost-per-mile is a simple calculation:

Total operating costs in a given period / Total miles driven during same period = Cost-per-mile

Monitoring your operational costs on a per-mile basis is like tracking a moving target, as variable costs are a large factor of the calculation. It is important to do the calculation regularly based on historical data and to test the results against actual costs as they occur. If performed weekly, keeping a vigilant eye on your costs in this manner will provide a clear view of your companys financial status in close to real time.

Whether you operate one truck or a fleet, all operating costs fall under two general categories; fixed and variable costs. Collectively, these expenses represent the total costs required for the calculation.

What are "Fixed Costs" in trucking?

Fixed costs are expenses your trucking company incurs no matter if your truck(s) is hauling a load or parked idle in your yard. The two largest fixed costs in trucking are equipment financing and the multitude of insurances needed. Other items include licenses, permits, accounting services and property leases (if applicable). A trucking company has daily exposure to fixed costs expenses 365 days of the year. Maximizing equipment utilization is key to reducing the negative impact of fixed costs on business profitability.

What are "Variable Costs" in Trucking?

Variable costs are expenses directly related to the running operation of the truck(s). These costs include fuel, tires, repairs, maintenance, tolls, road taxes, other miscellaneous items plus driver wages. Unlike fixed costs, the more you run the truck the more these expenses increase. By definition, variable costs can range greatly from one period of time to the next. You should monitor these costs weekly to best control your variable operating expenses.

Start Calculating Cost Per Mile

Determining cost-per-mile in trucking is a simple calculation:

  1. Identify all the expenses associated with your fleets operation
  2. Divide by the total mileage driven in a given period of time

Weekly is the most accurate time frame as your fleet is constantly on the move incurring costs. The key is to ensure you have accurately accounted for ALL costs, including miscellaneous one-time expenses, such as a computer purchase or replacing shop tools.

Once all expenses have been identified, record them in an Operations Expense Sheet, then perform the calculation. Not any one trucking company shares exactly the same outlay, so adapt the expense sheet to meet the specific costs associated with your unique operations. Generally, fixed costs are payable on a monthly basis. To determine the weekly amount for these costs; multiply each cost item by 12 months and divide by 52 weeks.

Example: Truck Payment = $2,500.00 per month

Weekly Cost = ($2,500.00 x 12 months) divided by 52 weeks = $576.92

Once you have established a regular and disciplined routine of tracking your companys cost-per-mile, you now control the ability to manage expenses efficiently. This control allows you the capability to fine tune operations to maximize profits. This will be discussed further in Part 2 of this article. 

Free Trucking Cost Per Mile Spreadsheet CTA

How to Calculate Profit and/or Loss per Haul

Knowing your profit margins on each haul is essential to making the right business decisions for your trucking business operations. Make sure every load you agree to haul is profitable with our trucking profit & loss calculator. Calculate the profit or loss on your next haul.

About Accutrac Capital  

Accutrac Capital is an invoice factoring company that specializes in the trucking industry. Our Flat Fee Factoring and Factoring Line of Credit products are designed specifically for trucking companies to improve cash flow, deliver professional AR Management and provide risk mitigating tools and services. Trucking companies that work closely with an industry specific freight bill factoring company benefit with immediate access to working capital and ongoing support from a team of experienced financial advisers. With this support, truck company owners are free to focus their attention on running their fleet knowing that the financial end of the business is supported by efficient and convenient services to maximize profitability.

For more information about freight invoice factoring, contact Accutrac Capital. Call 855-790-0906 today.



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