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Budget for Solid Waste Management: How Waste Haulers Can Cut Costs

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In the short-haul waste transportation industry, inefficiency represents lost opportunities at cost savings. Setting up and carefully tracking a reliable budget for your waste management plan can help you eliminate those inefficiencies, make more informed decisions regarding your fleet, and streamline your waste hauling services from the top down.

Using the right TMS -- like the one offered by Qv21 -- you can create more accurate income and expense projections, track the metrics and data relevant to your waste hauling operation and set more accurate goals to continue growing your business.

So what should be included in your solid waste management budget? How can you make sure you stick to your budget? What are some things you can be doing right now to start cutting waste costs and taking advantage of the benefits of solid waste management?

Understanding Your Expenses

When setting up your waste management budget, it’s useful to know the different types of expenses you should be expecting:

  • Outlays: Not to be confused with overhead costs, these are the expenses of acquiring certain waste management assets, such as trucks and other equipment. The actual cost of a truck in your fleet, for example, would be what you spend maintaining it and paying for fuel over its entire lifespan.
  • Overhead Costs: These are the costs of managing and supporting your waste hauling operation and it includes everything from your driver and dispatcher training to the software you use to track your fleet data.
  • Operating Costs: These are all of those ongoing, day-to-day expenses like employee salaries, fuel, equipment and vehicle maintenance, and any outstanding leases.

Breaking down your expense estimate into fixed costs and variable costs can further facilitate the budgeting process. Fixed costs will include things like truck leases, insurance premiums, licenses and permits, payroll, and back-office expenses (think Internet and dispatch software). Your variable costs will likely include truck maintenance, fuel usage, emergency equipment/vehicle repairs or replacements, and even the type of waste being transported, from industrial waste transportation and disposal to the disposal of municipal solid waste.

While not technically an expense (yet), don’t forget to allocate a portion of your budget to future growth potential, whether you’re hoping to eventually expand your fleet, improve collection, storage and waste disposal methods, or set up more transfer stations along your routes.

Budget-Related KPIs to Track

To ensure your budget is optimized as much as possible, there are two key performance indicators (KPIs) you should be tracking:

  • Loads per truck per day: This is one of the most commonly tracked KPIs because it directly correlates with your revenue and allows your customers to maximize their profits.
  • Deadhead Miles: This is the distance between your unloading point and the point where the new load is to be picked up. Miles driven with no product means no revenue; the more deadhead miles you have to cover, the more money you lose. If you can eliminate deadhead miles by optimizing your drivers’ routes, it will have a huge impact on their loads per truck per day.

Monitoring these metrics will allow for you to increase your efficiency and, consequently, your profits. Both metrics can be easily monitored with our system using our Business Intelligence Modules and Reporting tools.

How to Reduce Waste Management Costs

To cut costs for your waste hauling business, here are a few cost-savings tips:

  • Be very mindful of “hidden costs”: Some technology providers are not transparent when it comes to additional costs, such as their tablet or cell service. Qv21 is different. We help our customers navigate the entire budgeting process through regular communication and support.budget-related-waste-management
  • Keep your fleet properly specified: Make sure every truck in your fleet is using fuel-efficient components. Pay close attention to tire alignment, inflation levels, and do tire retreading regularly. Reduce the weight that you’re hauling wherever possible.
  • Ensure drivers are properly trained: Certain driver behaviors, such as letting truck engines warm up on their own, running engines as fuel-efficiently as possible, and avoiding idling can all contribute to cost savings. Encourage drivers to attend safety programs, perform pre-trip inspections and take other relevant safety precautions so that you don’t find your insurance premiums going up.
  • Don’t skimp on preventative maintenance: Come up with a regular maintenance schedule for all waste collection, storage and disposal equipment, as well as every vehicle in your fleet to increase vehicle and equipment lifespan. Make sure you know the standard lifespan of all equipment and vehicles you own and how they are financed. This can dramatically cut down on expensive or unnecessary outlays.
  • Use routing and scheduling software: A solution like Qv21’s system can help you monitor fuel, driver performance and track maintenance schedules more easily. With mobile Business Intelligence on-demand, customizable reports, ticket reconciliation tools and advanced route management, you’ll have greater real-time visibility into your fleet activity and enhanced dispatch capabilities.

Final Thoughts

The first and most important step in setting up your budget for solid waste management is to find a cost-effective, sustainable technology partner like Qv21. We’ve worked with some of the nation’s largest transfer waste transporters to completely transform the way they do business, from their dispatch and field operations to the back-office and accounting teams.

Qv21 is the industry-leading TMS for short-haul, bulk commodity trucking companies, solving complex problems with simple solutions. Waste Haulers like you are navigating their operations with our system, The LogisticsFramework™, and its insights. With Qv21, it's simple to streamline your waste-hauling needs.

We do all the heavy lifting so you can save money, increase efficiency, and remove barriers to your waste hauling operation. Check out our resources page to start the Qv21 path to Logistics Without Barriers.