Drive safely

How to Drive Safely Around Trucks (Or in One)

We all think we drive safely, but do we really? August 16, 2022 started out like any other day. 71-year-old Larry Lee Atham, President of a West Virginia-based trucking company, got behind the wheel for a routine day of driving. At mile marker 132 on the I-79, everything changed. He lost control of the truck, hitting a guardrail, skidding across traffic, hitting the guardrail again, and catching fire. That was his last drive. Just a day later on a winding mountain highway in Buffalo, Wyoming, another driver, Texas-based Javier Cardoso-Reyes, couldn’t slow down, rolled over a guardrail and down an embankment, and never made it home. He was only 47. 

29 truck drivers lined up their vehicles to pay their respects after Atham’s memorial service, rolling slowly past the funeral home to say goodbye. As touching as their gesture was, the loss of Atham, and just a day later, Cardoso-Reyes, in single-vehicle trucking accidents, raises serious concerns. Just one driver lost is one too many. Are we doing enough to prevent casualties?  Read more

Trucking at BYX

What It’s Really Like Working at BYX

As you probably already know, Best Yet Express has been family owned and operated since day one. We’ve grown a lot since the company was founded in 1978, but our values are just as important to us today as they were over 40 years ago. We firmly believe that the best way of serving our customers is by building real relationships with them– And we wouldn’t be able to do that without building strong relationships within our own team.

Some of our employees have been around for over a decade.

We owe our success, in part, to them. We spoke with one of our oldest employees to share an inside look into the company culture of BYX. Roger Huckstep came into the logistics industry almost by chance. He had been driving a water delivery truck when he heard about a more serious trucking job at BYX, and something clicked. He already knew the owner and decided to go out on a limb and ask for a job. The rest is history. Huckstep’s been with us for 15 years, and he’s not planning on leaving anytime soon. 

On his first day, he committed to being the best employee he could be. He’s done that and more. His commitment to BYX has helped us weather a tumultuous industry and come out on top. Our core team stuck with us throughout the 2020 pandemic and the driver shortage that followed, and we wouldn’t be able to continue caring for our customers without them. 

Our best advice for fellow business owners? Take care of your people.

Hiring a Local Trucking Company is About More Than Price

Keeping up with the latest tech developments isn’t cheap. When it makes it easier for your team to be efficient and safe, however, it’s worth it. According to Huckstep, the evolution of transportation technology “has made it easier to assist drivers and (improved) the flow of our processes and operations.” 

In addition to evolving technology, the culture of a company should evolve over time as well. We chatted with Huckstep about that as well and were happy to hear that he had nothing but positive things to say about how the culture of BYX has shifted. “It has gotten better throughout time. I have known the family for a very long time and I like the family environment. Means a lot to me!” 

It means a lot to us, too. Just take it from Lara Newjahr, Chief Operating Officer at Best Yet Express, Inc. We are a family business and have worked to maintain that “family feeling” while transitioning in many ways. While no longer directly managing most of the staff, Jay and I are at work daily and interacting with everyone on the floor. We have developed a division of labor and delineation of departments, but we maintain an open door policy. We emphasize traits that we find important like hard work and determination to succeed but leave it to the staff to support and encourage each other directly. I think that growing family businesses are unique in that they create a vastly different culture than one found in a large corporation. However, an essential part of growth is not depending on the family to do all the tasks that were once necessary to get the business where it is today.”

Family values are at the heart of everything we do, and we strive to offer all our employees family-friendly schedules, great benefits, and competitive pay. If you’re considering getting into the trucking business or know someone who is, give us a call! We have several job openings available, and becoming a driver comes with some fun perks. After over 15 years in the business, Huckstep still believes truck driving is a promising career choice for anyone who enjoys driving. After all, you get to see new sights every day. Beats sitting in an office, right? 

For more information, check out current openings here, or contact us for more information.

 

Truck trying to save gas

10 Ways to Save Gas Until the Prices Drop

As of July 2022, the average gas price in the U.S. is about $4.50/gallon. In some states, the numbers are shocking. In LA County, it’s not unusual to see prices over $6, and some gas stations have even passed the $7 mark. Before you start powerwalking to work on the side of the 405, try these tips to save gas and lower your monthly transportation expenses. 

Never Leave the Engine Idling

Leaving the car in the driveway with the AC on while you finish getting ready for work or running back inside for a few minutes is a huge waste of gas. In addition to literally burning money, leaving your car running for more than a minute or two while not in use produces unnecessary greenhouse gasses. 

Don’t Be a Lead Foot

Accelerating quickly is another gas-wasting habit. The harder you hit the gas, the more fuel you waste. Speed up gradually to optimize fuel efficiency and save gas. It’s less fun but much more practical.  Read more

Freight fraud

Freight Fraud Is a Real Problem. Here’s How to Avoid Scams

Scams are rampant across all industries, and the logistics industry is no exception. BYX has dealt with fraud more than once, and freight fraud can be devastating for smaller organizations. Fraud is so common today that many corporations have entire departments dedicated to fraud detection. For those who lack the resources to follow suit, there are easier ways to spot a scam before you fall prey to it. 

The Most Common Freight Fraud Situations

Identity Theft
Identity theft is the oldest scam in the book. There are a few ways in which this occurs in the shipping industry. Some scammers pretend to be trucking companies and prey on shippers or brokers by picking up freight and fleeing. Others request fuel advances and vanish. 

Another common method of identity theft happens entirely online. Scammers design fake websites that look similar to legitimate shipping sites. Shippers assume its the real one, provide their payment details, and lose thousands. Always doublecheck a website’s URL. If it’s not identical to a legitimate company’s name, consider it a red flag. If the URL ends with the name of a free hosting site, like .wix or .hubspot, run. If a company is legitimate, they can afford their own domain name.  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

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