Trucker protesting AB 5 law

Big News: The Controversial AB 5 Law Now Applies to Trucking

Back in 2019, a bill was proposed called the AB 5 independent contractor law. It was intended to regulate companies that hire massive numbers of gig workers, like Uber and DoorDash, but when the law went into effect on January 1, 2020, it radically changed worker classifications.

Millions who were previously defined as independent contractors are now considered employees. While the trucking industry was previously exempt from AB 5, the Supreme Court’s recent ruling changes everything. Now, the law applies to trucking too, sparking industry-wide frustration. 

No Buts About It: The AB 5 Law Is Bad for Trucking (But not BYX)

Now that AB 5 impacts all 1099 truck drivers, the majority of trucking companies will be impacted. 

The law states that to be classified as an independent contractor, three conditions must be met: 

(a) The worker is free from control and direction in the performance of services; and

(b) The worker is performing work outside the usual course of the business of the hiring company; and

(c) The worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business. Read more

Trying to achieve a healthy work-life balance

Work-Life Balance As An Entrepreneur Is Tough. Here’s How We Make It Work

There’s been a lot of talk about work-life balance lately. Over 70% of children in the U.S. live in a household in which both parents work, which makes parenting so much more challenging than it used to be. It’s tough to know how much work is too much, but overworking is a real problem. It takes a toll on both mental and physical health, but it’s tricky to avoid. This is especially true for business owners. 

As a family-owned business, the BYX team is intimately familiar with the work-life balance struggle. It’s extra tricky today with an ongoing labor shortage. Fortunately, we’ve learned a thing or two in our decades of successful business ownership. These nine tips help us keep our work life and home life in equilibrium. (Well, most of the time!) Read more

Rising insurance costs

Rising Insurance Costs and What It Means for Trucking

The past few years haven’t been easy for the trucking industry. In addition to the supply chain crisis that was made drastically worse by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, we’ve also faced a persistent driver shortage, rising gas prices, an automation evolution and shifting client expectations. While fleet owners have been scrambling to find solutions to all of that, insurance costs have crept up in the background. Rising insurance costs has now become so substantial that ignoring it is no longer an option.

Over the past decade, insurance premiums have risen by 47%

The latest report by ATRI, the American Transportation Research Institute, found that insurance premium costs per mile increased by nearly half over the course of a decade, rising from 5.9 cents to 8.7 cents. Insurance rates also fluctuate substantially. Fleet owners hop on an unpleasant roller coaster ride when it’s time to renew coverage each year.

The last four years have been especially challenging. Between 2018 to 2020, virtually all motor carriers saw substantial rises in insurance costs. Despite efforts to improve safety and lower risk, insurance premiums continue to creep up. Read more

Pallets stacked

Freight Shipping 101: How to Pack a Pallet

When you’re shipping freight, there are so many moving pieces to worry about– Literally. Choosing a reputable logistics company like BYX is a great start, but carriers are responsible for transporting freight from point A to point B, not to prepare it for the road ahead. Carriers are in control of many factors, like properly packing the truck and not driving off the road. Nevertheless, freight can and does shift during transport. The best way to secure your freight and protect it from damage is to learn how to pack a pallet properly.

What Is a Pallet?

Pallets are nothing more than rigid platforms designed to secure and consolidate shipments. Pallets serve a few purposes, including: 

  • Keeping multi-piece shipments together
  • Making it easier to load and unload freight
  • And maximizing cargo space in the trailer

 

Most importantly, pallets help protect your cargo by minimizing movement. To help ensure your freight arrives in one piece, free from dents and dings, learning how to pack a pallet is a must. Fortunately, it’s not that hard to master. Read more

labor shortage

In 2022, Small Businesses Are Still Facing a Labor Shortage. Here’s Why.

COVID-19 hit the U.S. at full force in March of 2020. Small businesses were among the hardest hit. Many were forced to close their doors permanently. As a company with decades of experience and stability, BYX was able to weather the storm. Sadly, the full ramifications of the pandemic are still unfolding. Even now, we’re struggling to find qualified, reliable workers, and we’re not the only ones. Businesses around the country are facing a frustrating labor shortage, and there appears to be no end in sight. What gives? Read more

What Happens to Abandoned Freight? 

One might think that after transporting freight and meticulously organizing it in a large warehouse, the tough part of being in the logistics industry would be out of the way. In reality, offering warehousing services can bring unique challenges, and managing abandoned freight is one of them. 

Why does abandoned freight happen in the first place? 

Abandoned freight occurs for a number of reasons. It happens at every link in the supply chain. Often, cargo is abandoned at ports because the consignee realizes they don’t have the necessary license to legally import the cargo in question. Consignees may also be surprised by the magnitude of import taxes and duties and refuse to accept the cargo. The unclaimed cargo is a nuisance, getting in the way of daily operations, so the contracting party is responsible for any accrued storage fees.

In warehouses, abandoned freight is just as problematic. It usually happens for different reasons, however. Typically, abandonment occurs when a customer can no longer afford to store their cargo and lacks the resources to pick it up and store it themselves. Sometimes, this is the result of poor planning or mismanagement, but it can also happen from sheer bad luck. Running a business is always a risk. One of the risks of storing large amounts of merchandise is that it’s a massive headache to figure out what to do with it if your company falls on hard times.  Read more

Truck driver with sleep apnea yawning

3 Reasons Sleep Apnea Is a Concern for Truck Drivers

It’s late. You’re driving on an open stretch of road, it’s quiet, and your eyelids begin to droop. We’ve all been there, and man, isn’t it scary? Driving is such an ordinary task that it’s easy to forget how dangerous it is. A moment of distraction can easily become your last moment ever. Sleepiness is even more dangerous, and truck drivers who work long hours or night shifts need to be especially cautious. Concerningly, getting enough sleep isn’t always enough to fight back fatigue. Sleep apnea, one of the top five most common sleep disorders, can lead to persistent fatigue and drowsiness. Many drivers don’t even realize they have it. 

Sleep apnea is a bigger health concern than you might think.

Truck driver sleeping

Truck driver sleeping. About 35 years old, African male.

The most obvious symptom of sleep apnea is snoring. The disorder is more complex than that, however. In people with obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles in the throat relax during sleep to the point that their airway temporarily becomes blocked. They stop breathing briefly before awakening abruptly to gasp for air. These episodes are so brief that the individual often doesn’t recall having ever woken up. 

While one night of interrupted sleep is no big deal, people with untreated sleep apnea suffer from a wide range of symptoms that can significantly affect their health and daily lives. There are three main reasons truck drivers should be on the lookout for signs of sleep apnea: 

  1. It leads to more serious health problems.
    At first people with sleep apnea may notice nothing more than waking up with a headache, irritability, and snoring loud enough to wake the neighbors. Over time, the symptoms become more serious. They often develop brain fog, insomnia, and intense daytime sleepiness.

    If left untreated, it can also lead to or worsen high blood pressure, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Weight gain is another common side effect. All of these issues are often linked, each one magnifying the others. The ramifications go beyond productivity, impacting drivers on every level.
  2. It endangers drivers and others on the road.
    Daytime sleepiness and general fatigue are extremely dangerous when your job entails long hours on the road. Those with sleep apnea are up to five times more likely to get in a car accident than people with normal sleep patterns. Falling asleep at the wheel can be lethal not only to the driver but to other drivers and passengers as well– Especially when the driver is operating a massive truck.
  3. Irregular sleep schedules can make sleep apnea side effects worse.
    Sleep apnea is problematic enough for people working a 9-5. It’s even worse for truck drivers who work night shifts. Odd hours don’t worsen sleep apnea itself, working during the night often leads to increased drowsiness. Drivers are more likely to rely on unhealthy energy drinks to stay alert, further damaging their health in the process. 

All truck drivers should be screened, just in case.

If we’re making sleep apnea sound like a big deal, that’s because it is. Fortunately, treating it is much less challenging than living with it. If you or someone you know is experiencing any symptoms that could be tied to sleep issues, like persistent sleepiness, morning headaches, irritability, or loud snoring, visiting your PCP is the first step. 

They’ll likely order a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment can entail using a breathing machine at night or wearing a special night guard to help keep your airways open. It’s a headache, but it’s much less of a headache than falling asleep at the wheel. For trucking companies like BYX, it’s always a good idea to inform drivers about the common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. Better safe than sorry. 

 

Rising gas prices visual

How Gas Prices Affect BYX and Our Customers

Gas prices fluctuate by the day. This is nothing new, but the conflict between Ukraine and Russia has caused an exceptionally painful spike. The current average price per gallon in Los Angeles County is currently $5.52, with diesel averaging $5.85, but some stations are charging over $6 per gallon. Trucking companies feel the sting of elevated fuel prices more acutely than most. To fill up a 100-gallon diesel tank costs about $585. If you’re thinking “ouch,” so are we. 

Gas prices look very different than they did in recent months. The average prices are up by 57 cents/gallon from just last month. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, gas only cost $3.73 a gallon. Inflation is hardly a new dilemma, but now its effects are more pronounced than they have been in decades. 

Shipping companies use something called “fuel surcharge.” A fuel surcharge is a flat rate that allows the cost of fuel to be incorporated into shipping rates in a fair manner and allows shippers to have a fixed fuel cost they can count. Fuel surcharge is an important part of us continuing to operate our business and is set by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and updated weekly. 

Rising Gas Prices May Lead to Rate Hikes Down the Line

Before you panic, BYX just updated our rates at the start of 2022, and we hope to keep them stable for some time. Still, we prefer to be transparent with our customers so they understand why price increases have to happen. It goes without saying that elevated gas prices make transporting goods more costly. The farther the pickup, the more the additional fuel expenses are felt. 

The hike isn’t just felt by trucking companies. Every rung of the transportation ladder is effected, including cargo vessels and moving freight by air. Coupled with the existing supply chain crisis and materials shortage, the cost of everything is likely to increase, not just gas prices. Maintaining our fleet, from replacing tires to changing the oil, is more expensive than it was a year ago. Read more

Shipping appointment

Fed Up With Rising Prices? Shipping Appointments Are Partly to Blame

Every business owner knows customer care is the name of the game. Unfortunately, offering the best customer care possible sometimes comes at a cost. While making shipping appointments seems simple at first glance, the logistics behind arranging a simple pickup or delivery is more complex than it appears. 

The hidden cost of appointments

Every industry has annoying, unavoidable inefficiencies. The ones shipping companies like BYX deal with, however, didn’t exist just a decade or two ago. Originally, it worked something like this: Delivery companies would make their deliveries in the morning, and spend the afternoon making pickups. The only communication required was a quick phone call to let the customer know approximately when to expect the driver.

Today, expectations are very different. The workflow of a shipping appointment clerk looks something like this:

Read more

Amazon location

Love Prime? Here’s Why Amazon Locations Are Actually a Nightmare

Say you have a particularly busy week and realize as you’re running out the door that you’re out of both coffee and paper towels. Who wouldn’t love being able to order a refill on Amazon over their lunch break? With Amazon Prime, both items will likely arrive within two days, sometimes even sooner. It’s like magic; addictive magic that we’ve all come to expect. Behind the scenes, it’s much more complicated. In reality, Amazon locations are a pain to deliver to and pick up from, and their methods may not be sustainable.

The basics of Amazon shipping

There’s a reason that your comfy pair of winter boots or last-minute birthday gift arrived so quickly. Most Amazon sellers send their goods to large Amazon warehouses. There are more than 50 warehouses across the U.S., so there’s one relatively close to almost any residential address nationwide. That’s how Amazon can promise 2-day shipping. The goods really don’t have to travel that far. Based on product availability and distance from the nearest warehouse, same-day shipping may even be available. 

There’s a dark side to all of this, however. To start, Amazon has a sizeable history of complaints regarding employee welfare and ethics. The corporate giant supposedly installed $52 million worth of air conditioning units in their U.S. warehouses to make working conditions more comfortable, but there’s still room for improvement. For example, warehouse workers at Amazon locations are on their feet all day, and they have extremely demanding quotas to fill.  Read more