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Trucking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) 101

What is a KPI? What KPIs should I track as a small trucking business? How can I track them? Keep reading to answer your trucking business KPI-related questions!

What is a Key Performance Indicator (KPI)?

A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is like a health check for a business. Imagine you're keeping track of certain vital signs to make sure the business is not only running but running well.

Consider it as a set of specific measurements or metrics that help you understand how successful your business is at achieving its goals. These metrics could be related to various aspects like financial performance, operational efficiency, or any other important aspect of your business.

Think of KPIs as the dashboard of your truck. The speedometer, fuel gauge, and temperature gauge are like KPIs. They give you a quick overview of how your equipment is performing, helping you make decisions to keep it running smoothly. KPIs help you keep an eye on your overall business health and performance.

What KPIs should I track as a small trucking business?

Not all KPIs are as important or relevant to all businesses. As a small trucking business owner, a few KPIs that are crucial to your business include:

  • Average Cost per Mile (CPM) – see how to calculate CPM here

  • Average Rate per Mile

  • Average Miles per Gallon

  • Total Expenses (Month/Quarter/Year)

  • Total Revenue (Month/Quarter/Year)

  • Loaded Miles Total or Percentage

  • Empty Miles Total or Percentage

  • Load Count

  • Safety Performance

  • Fuel Costs (Month/Quarter/Year)

  • Maintenance Costs

  • Backhaul Percentage - the number of return trips with a paying load after delivering a shipment

  • Financial Ratios – examples include Current Ratio, Debt-to-Equity Ratio, Gross Margin, Profit Margin, etc.

  • Operating Ratio (operating ratios/total revenue)

How can I track or calculate a KPI?

KPIs are usually showcased on a business dashboard but can also be calculated as standalone figures. To read more about business dashboards, click here.

To calculate a KPI, you need to be disciplined in collecting and tracking your business data. Once you have collected your business data in a tool like a spreadsheet or Transportation Management System (TMS), you can begin running calculations to create a KPI to analyze. The good news is we’ve already created a spreadsheet that will allow you to track your data and do the calculating for you!

The Definitive "All-in-One" Trucking Business Spreadsheet is...well, an all-in-one spreadsheet for your small trucking business! The workbook includes a detailed business dashboard that features key metrics (KPIs) to monitor your business's health such as your average cost per mile, expense and revenue totals, and more. With formulas already built-in, tracking expenses, revenue, trip details, and miles is easy. The spreadsheet also makes IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) quarterly tax reporting easy by calculating your total miles and tax-paid gallons. You will also receive a BONUS Tax Deduction summary report based on your specific operation. This is a turn-key spreadsheet ready for you to use instantly!


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Soshaul Logistics LLC and its affiliates do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. It is meant to serve as a guide and information only and Soshaul Logistics, LLC does not assume responsibility for any omissions, errors, or ambiguity contained herein. Contents may not be relied upon as a substitute for the FMCSA's published regulations. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction or operation.


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