Drive-Away – Figuring Profit & Loss

The paperwork has begun.  I have accomplished quite a lot in just two days.  January 2013 is “in the can”.  Both personal accounting and business accounting.

Recently I posted about the books I make for Joe and I for our Drive-Away business.  I made a new set of books for Jim who is keeping Joe company out on the lonely highways.  They are having a few troubles out there.  Nothing major.  Just a couple of bullheaded guys that KNOW their way is the right way.

Jim has not been in Drive-Away for quite a while.


The trucking industry is “mileage” oriented.  You want to make money, you need to make miles.  Drive-Away is no different.  Like the rest of the trucking industry you have a load to deliver.  The sooner it is delivered the sooner you can get to the next load.

Poor Joe and Jim.  They are delivering box trailers from a couple of locations in Pennsylvania – Allentown or Bath – and delivering them to an auction site in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.  Moving one trailer over 300 miles then going back those same miles to get another one and do it all over again.

So, to the nuts and bolts of this post.  Finding out if you make money on a load or lose money on it.  This can be computated and watched daily – if you can stay awake long enough at the end of the day to go through the receipts.  As for me, it all comes down to this time of year.

This is my mileage book.  The one I made for myself.

My mileage book

Everything begins with a dispatch sheet, either faxed or emailed.

Dispatch sheet

The LOAD NUMBER on the dispatch sheet is what all the income and expenses will be tied to.

Load Number

The information from the dispatch sheet gets noted in the mileage book.

Inside mileage book

Since I don’t have Joe’s mileage book for these examples, his is currently somewhere in Pennsylvania, I will show  you my book for the first load we did this year.

The LOAD NUMBER has a designated place to be recorded.

Load Number in mileage book

Next, we need to know where the trucks are located for pick up and where they will be delivered.

Pick up and delivery location

This information gets written in our mileage books.

Pick up and delivery written in mileage book

Next, we need to know which trucks we will be getting.  The VIN is what we use.

VIN identifier

That gets noted in the mileage book.

VIN noted

Next bit of information will be the pay for the job and any advances that will be given.  The advances will be deducted from the final pay after the trucks have been delivered and papers turned in.

Pay and advances

This information has a place of its own in the mileage book.  Plus there is a section to record the advances received and ComCheck numbers used to transfer the money.

Pay an advances in the mileage book

“Trip Envelopes” are used by Joe and I to keep track of all the documents, income and expenses, for each trip.  As usually happens I come across an envelope with missing information.  While Joe was home when I began getting the files sorted I could harass him into taking care of the necessary missing information.  He had his mileage book to flip back through for the missing Load Number of this particular envelope.

Missing Load Number on expense envelope

All the papers for one particular load in January are together in a file.  One by one I go through and enter the information in my QuickBooks program.

Expenses for one trip

After all the advances and expenses are entered I can run a report to see if we made any money on this run or if we lost money.  Looks like we lost money on Joe’s load.

Profit and loss of a load

At the end of the month the financial picture of our business shows the amount of personal money we had to put in and the loss we took from all the deadhead we had to do.  Kind of a bleak start to the year, but it does get better as the year progresses.

January Profit and Loss

I have to go to Kinko’s to have copies made then I can spend some time with my day planner.  The writer of one of the blogs I read, Tracy, has been decorating her day planner pages.  I think I may spend some time with mine this afternoon.

That’s enough for today.  Time to get away from the computer.



About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

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