You may not think it when you’re just starting out but there’s a lot more paperwork needed in the trucking industry than many people expect. Truck drivers need to keep detailed paperwork in order, including licenses, receipts, a log book, and bills of lading. Record keeping for truck drivers can be a tricky prospect, particularly given the mobile lifestyle, and the space limitations of a truck cabin. However, there are plenty of ways you can stay organized, and truck driver paperwork organizer tips can help you keep on top of all your documents.
Trucking companies need truck driver paperwork organizer tricks to stay up to date with their work. Making sure your paperwork is organized is a vital part of running that business successfully. Paperwork organizers also allow you to complete tax records, track expenditures and make sure you are always operating within the guidelines and laws required by trucking companies across the country.
This can be difficult, with limited space available, but by using these truck driver paperwork organizer tricks, you’ll be able to stay ahead of the game, saving both time and money. This is true whether you are driving for a company, or if you are an owner operator for your own business.
Organizing your semi truck isn’t just about the paperwork. In fact, having a clean and efficient truck space, in general, can present a challenge. However, if you can conquer it, your trucking experience will be vastly improved and you’ll find organizing paperwork easier than expected.
First of all, if you want to keep your truck space organized, you’ll need to travel as efficiently as possible. This means only packing the essentials you’ll need for the length of your trip. Remember, if it’s a long-haul journey you’ll probably be stopping at service stations along your route, so you’ll be able to pick up small essentials on the way. If you’re really organized, it’s worth prepping meals for a few days before you leave. This allows you to save on storage space of raw ingredients and keeps you healthier than those constant takeaways would. Other than that, you’ll need a couple of changes of clothes and just a few other essentials including:
If you want to keep your cabin organized, making sure you’re stocked with paper towels and a disinfectant spray is essential. After all, this is where you’ll live, eat, work, and sleep. In such a cozy space there are bound to be spillages. Cleaning these up straight away will keep your truck feeling tidy. Believe it or not, it will also help you with your paperwork. After all, who wants to spread out and organize important documents over sticky surfaces? A clean truck makes it much easier to work professionally, making record keeping much easier.
If you are an owner operator, or a driver assigned to a specific vehicle indefinitely, you may want to invest in your own storage devices. If you do, the best way to make use of your cabin space is by utilizing expandable storage. For example, expandable folders will allow you to store paperwork that only takes up as much space as needed, whilst ensuring your files never start to overflow and become disorganized.
One of the most important paperwork organizer tricks is knowing what to pack, and what to save. Paperwork can become overwhelming, but it’s important to know what documents you need to keep hold of for business purposes.
The first element of paperwork for truck drivers is knowing what to take with you in the first place. Make sure you pack all your documents in a single file, organized by type, so you know exactly where to find them. These will include basic documents such as a license, your trucking credentials, any maintenance records, and recent trip information. You do not necessarily need to keep receipts from all past jobs within your truck itself. It may be easier and safer to store these in your permanent home or office.
As you go through your trip, it’s important to stay organized and keep detailed records of any expenditure. Save your receipts and file them as you go, or you risk becoming confused at a later date. Save any record of repairs required, supplies bought, or bills produced. These will help during tax time with tax records and ensures you are reimbursed if necessary. It’s also important to save these records long-term. Don’t throw anything less than 10 years old away because the government may want to see them.
For many truck drivers, keeping track of their trucking expenses is their least favorite part of the job. This is understandable. You don’t get into the trucking industry because you love paperwork. However, staying organized is a vital part of the job and tracking expenses is one of the major necessities.
Aside from remembering to save your receipts in the first place, the most important way to keep track effectively is to make sure you’re regularly keeping on top of them. It’s much easier to spend 5 minutes each evening categorizing your receipts than banging your head against a brick wall for 10 hours trying to sort receipts from five months ago. This task can pile up over time, so completing it while the expenses are fresh in your mind will make things much easier.
This will make receipts much easier to file and provide memory-jogs if you need to recall what expenses were for at a later date. Receipts don’t always provide all the necessary information. Your labels should include the date, the item you purchased, why it was necessary and what trip you were on while you made it (i.e. what company/contract were you working for at the time).
The best system is the system that works for you. Perhaps you want to file your expenses by date, or you may want to organize your trucking receipts by type, keeping maintenance, fuel costs, and other expenses separate. If you are an owner operator it might be a good idea to keep them organized by trip or contract, especially if you are billing externally for reimbursement rather than using the receipts for tax purposes.
There are many truck driver paperwork organizer tricks to use when organizing your trucking files. Different systems work for different drivers, but there are some universal options that can make handling your paperwork efficient and quick while creating organized files.
These are used by many trucking companies to keep track of drivers’ documentation. It involves storing all your trip-related documents; receipts, logs, etc, in a large envelope. Within this envelope, you should also include a summary of the trip itself, including miles traveled, drops and pick-ups, specific instructions given and any issues encountered. This envelope will then form a complete encapsulated record of the entire trip.
If you are keeping your documentation in a binder, or any type of file folder, color coding can be a great way to organize your trucking files and stay organized over time. Use different colored markers to indicate receipts, logs, and records, making sure each piece of paperwork is filed correctly.
One of the best ways to ensure you never lose an important document is to make sure you have it copied and saved digitally. Record keeping for truck drivers can be aided by technology, and if you’re an owner operator it’s worth investing in an iPad or other tablet to keep in your cabin for these purposes. You can even find free trucking software online to help you organize your paperwork. Simply remember to take a photo or scan every receipt, upload it to the app you’re using and much of the calculating work can be done for you. This can also save space, as it will become less necessary to keep all your receipts stored physically as long as you have a digital copy.
Anyone working in a truck driving job needs to have certain documentation kept within the cabin at all times. If you fail to do this, you may be liable for punishment from both your company and the government. Below is a list of documentation you will need to ensure you have up to date compliance, whether you are an employee or an owner operator.
When it comes to all the documents mentioned above, plus organizing your receipts and record-keeping throughout the trip, having a great document holder to keep all this information safely stored is of primary importance. There are many different types of document holders, each of which is suited for a different purpose. Here are some of the most useful options for truck drivers, and you can use a combination of these to keep your trucking company record keeping as organized as possible.
An accordion-style folder is a great way to keep a number of expenses organized and separate, without taking up too much room. The accordion style means that the folder is expandable depending on how many documents you store in it, meaning it could take months if not years before you run out of room. The multiple divides in the folder help you to keep receipts for different trips separate, or you could choose to organize them by type of receipt, from fuel costs to maintenance and repairs. Improve your accordion folder by sticking tabs in each divide and labeling them, giving you easy visual access to where everything is.
Whereas accordion-style folders store receipts in their loose form, a ring binder is a great way to store documents that need special care. It’s a good way to keep track of bills of lading, trip reports and log sheets and you can be assured you’ll never misplace a sheet if it’s secured inside a ring binder. If you want even more organizational ability, you can buy colored dividers to slot into the ring binder, separating your documents. These can also help prevent ink bleedthrough from one document to the next if you need to write on any of the sheets.
A door pouch is just what it says: A holder that secures onto the inside of your cabin door. It’s a great place for interim storage, as you can easily place receipts there to be sorted later into folders. A door pouch is a small, efficient alternative to shoving paperwork into the glove box or the open door pockets, where you risk losing them to wind or other accidents.
Most often made out of nylon and plastic, a waterproof document holder is essential for any truck driver working in a wet climate. Use this to protect important documents, such as your CDL license or other accreditation, so you can keep it safe from weather damage while being able to show it if necessary. Most padded, waterproof holders are made with a clear plastic window at the front, so you can position your CDL to display the relevant information without having to take it out of the holder.
Make sure you are well supplied with sturdy envelopes you can use to store your trip information within, especially if you are only using this style of record-keeping. You can also buy larger, waterproof pockets to keep the envelopes themselves stored within. Make sure you label each envelope clearly with the trip information, seal it carefully so there are no mix-ups, and tuck it inside a trip envelope pocket to keep it safe. This can be particularly useful if you are undertaking more than one ‘trip’ or contract on the same journey, before returning to your base location.
Finally, a larger document holder can be the perfect way to store older trip information and records that you may need in the future. These holders are often leather-bound or made of padded vinyl, zippered and contain a large number of full-size pockets that you can use to store shipping papers, log books, licenses, maintenance records and many other documents. This is a catch-all holder for companies, allowing you to keep all your documentation neatly categorized in a single location. In terms of truck driver paperwork organizers, this is the number one option.
If you are a truck driver seeking a change, or someone keen to explore the possibilities of a truck driving career, ABCO Transportation can offer fantastic opportunities for new drivers looking to join our team.
ABCO provides jobs for truck drivers that combine great pay and benefits (including nationwide resort stays) with career development opportunities. We are constantly seeking to develop our drivers, giving them organizational and trucking skills that keep them learning and growing throughout their careers. We also offer truck driver safety tips and refrigerated trucking tips. If you’re thinking about a career change, our support team is ready and waiting to offer advice and talk to you about the best options available for you.
Whether you are a driver with a couple years of experience or a longtime driver, we have plenty of truck driving jobs available. If this interests you, paperwork and all, you can fill out our trucking job application today to learn more. Find out more about your trucking career, and find a job within days, by connecting with us. We have Regional trucking jobs, OTR, and some limited local job opportunities. Give us a call at 866-980-2710 to discover how you could build a career in your own trucking cabin, with fantastic benefits, and a company who truly cares.