Car Hauler Industry Tips, Carrier

Car Haulers: Top 4 Tips to Saving Money

by Kacie LaCombe

For many car haulers, costs on the road combined with ever-changing demand can create a complex financial problem-solving. In the trucking industry as a whole, trucking has taken a  big hit since 2018 with many general freight companies forced to shut down their trucks. While this is mostly based on general freight, it’s no secret that auto transport has felt the ups and downs, especially as COVID turned its ugly head. And while the external forces are out of your control, protecting your business isn’t.

Whether you’re in a more immediate tough spot or want to prepare for any financial valley to come, here are some cost cutting best practices to help you save money, keep your business afloat, and take back control of your operation.  

1. Extreme Couponing for Truckers

Don’t wait until Truck Driver Appreciation week to capitalize on all the deals available for car haulers. Ongoing discounts and deals take a little bit of research, but we’ve done that for you!

There are a ton of discounts you can grab with your CDL. TransForce keeps up an in-depth list categorized by your needs and by state. Bookmark this list on your phone and never pay full price again. 

During the time of COVID, truck drivers have been essential in keeping our world moving. Thankfully, many businesses have recognized that and now offer discounts and specials to any truck driver coming through. Check out our list on COVID discounts for drivers or visit FreightWaves for an ongoing list of free logistics relief services. 


With a volatile industry, like Auto Transport in the era of COVID, a well-strategized budget is the difference between panic and security. Dig deep, build a budget that works for your company, and then most importantly – stick to it. 

To get started, if you have a transportation management system (TMS), then leverage the custom reports to pull your previous financial data. Analyze how you spent last month or even throughout the last year, then find areas where you can cut back and the areas that are non-negotiable.

If you aren’t currently using a TMS or don’t have enough records of your typical spend, then start estimating how you’ve spent money on a monthly basis and build a budget from there. With or without all the data, budgeting can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help guide drivers in budgeting within trucking specifically.  

3. Avoid On-the-Road Buys

Those fast food meals and truck-stop price markups seem minor in the moment, but they add up. From prepping your food to pre-buying supplies, there are many ways you can avoid the impulse buy. 

Let’s say you are on the road for a week and end up eating at a fast food restaurant twice a day, everyday. The average burger at a drive-thru will cost you $7. So, twice a day for a week and you’ve spent almost $100 on food alone. Invest in a small refrigerator and you can keep prepped meals as you go saving you hundreds of dollars a month.

Another way to manage food and supplies cost is to allot a specific amount per week and keep that in cash. For example, if you budget $20 to spend on fast food, then keep the cash on you to help the visual effect of that amount keep you accountable. 

4. Keep Up With Maintenance 

We know you’ve heard before, but it’s all true – keeping up with truck maintenance is key to saving money in the long run. Keep a list and calendar of all the regular maintenance needs  and how they differ from short to long runs. 

Also, as part of your maintenance, if you do spot a minor issue with your rig, get it taken care of ASAP. Often small issues that start as an affordable fix can lead to increased critical damage and growing costs. Budget for maintenance according to the calendar you build out and avoid the gutted last-minute expense. 


With or without a pandemic-pending recession, it’s important to keep your budget in shape and hold yourself accountable to your financial needs. Even if it feels tight at the beginning, know that it will pay off in a big way. Want more visibility into your business? Take control of your operation with a Carrier TMS today. 


Published on August 6, 2020


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