There are very few people who actually enjoy doing paperwork. It’s nonetheless a necessary evil in many career fields.
After all, truck drivers must keep trip records in order to be paid for their work. They may also need this information to file their taxes in an accurate fashion.
Of course, there’s the fact that being organized saves a great deal of time. It allows you to put your hands on all the information that you need in a matter of minutes.
Record keeping for truck drivers is a must, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.
5 BASIC TIPS – RECORD KEEPING FOR TRUCK DRIVERS
- Sort and organize your receipts on a regular basis. Don’t wait until the end of the month to do so because this is one task that will definitely pile up over time and by then you may have forgotten the purpose of said receipts.
- Label your receipts when you receive them so that they are easier to file.
- Create a simple record keeping system that works for your needs and use it.
- Don’t throw documents out unless they’re over 10 years old, because the government may want to see those files at a later date. However, you can and should toss out anything older than that on a yearly basis.
- Tune in to some great music and a tasty snack. Good music and a snack can make the task go by more quickly.
RECORD KEEPING TIPS
HANDLING TRIP REPORTS
- Submit Trip Reports to Your Company. Most businesses require their drivers to fill out and turn in a trip report for each journey they make. This allows them to verify their employees’ trips and pay them accordingly. Different companies have different methods for this procedure, so you’ll definitely want to familiarize yourself with the practices that are in place where you work.
- Keep Copies of Documents. Truck drivers should retain a full set of records for each trip that they have completed. Storing these documents in digital format is a good way to keep track of them. I personally like the TRANSFER app, because it’s user-friendly and inexpensive. You can use it to make a copy of each trip related document; then store the files digitally on either your phone or computer for future reference.
- Summarize Your Trip. It’s a good idea to keep a notebook with a summary of each trip that you make. You should mention when the trip started, when it ended, your trailer number, the miles that you traveled, and any drops or pickups that you made. You’ll also want to include any relevant receipts, either by stapling or paperclipping them into the book. Notebooks with pockets are also helpful when it comes to storing supporting documents. Just don’t forget to record any specific instructions that you were given by the dispatcher/company and anything unusual that happened during the trip. Having all this information can come in handy if you need it for reference purposes in the future.
- Create Trip Envelopes. Using this method, you simply store all trip related documents (logs, receipts, B.O.L. and so forth) in large envelope. You should also write or attach a trip summary on the outside for easy reference. These envelopes can then be stored in a large box labeled with the appropriate year and some brief content notes. (Banker’s boxes that can be found at major retailers such as Walmart, Target, and Staples are great for this purpose.) This record keeping method is particularly beneficial for owner/operators and independent truck drivers.
HANDLING EXPENSE RECEIPTS
- Collect your receipts and put them in a file or accordion style folder.
- Regularly group these documents into appropriate categories: fuel, tolls, parking, maintenance etc.
- Bundle or clip the receipts in each category together; then place them back in the folder.
- At the end of each month, tally the receipts in each category.
- Label the bundle of receipts with the category name and the overall total.
Organizing your receipts this way will save you time in the long run since you’ve already figured out the various expense totals. This information is now readily available for use by either your bookkeeping or accountant staff. Determining these sums can even save you some money since you won’t have to pay anyone else to sort through the stacks of receipts that you’ve saved and tally them up.
HANDLING MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR RECORDS
Truck owner operators should keep extra sets of maintenance records for their personal files. Any relevant documents should be copied, run through a hole punch, and placed in three-ring binders. It’s a good idea to arrange the documents in chronological order.
These binders will come in handy when it comes time to sell or trade in your truck. Having this documentation on hand allows prospective buyers to see the vehicle in question’s history for themselves. It should also show that the truck has been properly cared for during its use.
A FINAL NOTE
Record keeping might not be a pleasant experience but it’s an essential responsibility for truck drivers.
Common job related issues such as tax audits, incorrect pay statements, and warranty issues require written documentation in order to prove the rights and wrongs of the situation at hand. Having well organized files allow you to access the information that you need when you need it the most. It’s times like those when you’ll be very glad that you put the effort into record keeping, annoying as it might be.
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