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New Smog Check Requirements for Trucks May Help LA’s Air Quality

No one gets excited about getting a smog check, but there’s one thing all Los Angeles residents can look forward to: Fewer days in which our local mountains disappear in a cloud of brown haze. Numerous factors contribute to pollution in southern California, including smoke from wildfires and chemicals produced by refineries and other factories. The main cause of air pollution in LA County, however, comes from the emissions produced by the vehicles backed up on the 405. 

The air quality in LA has improved dramatically in the past 30 years, but cars and trucks are still responsible for over 50% of all emissions. In hopes of further reducing the number of days that our Google Home devices tell us that the air quality is too unhealthy for a walk on the beach, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is cracking down on trucks.  Read more

Fluctuating supply and demand leaves capacity trends unpredictable

Trying to Predict Holiday Sales? Gauging Capacity Trends Is Even Tougher

All business owners are familiar with the rules of supply and demand. Few, however, realize how heavily trucking companies depend on supply and demand to function. We don’t blame them, either. With free two-day delivery becoming the norm, it feels like shipping just happens automatically. Most of us know that it’s more complicated than that, but just how much more complicated might surprise you. Predicting capacity trends is extremely challenging, and that’s particularly true in 2022. 

Freight Transportation Always Has Four Seasons

Market conditions have always influenced the trucking industry, from capacity to rates. Still, there’s usually some level of predictability. There are four seasons in the logistics work. You have:

  1. The Quiet Season (January – March)
  2. The Produce Shipping Season (Produce Shipping Season (April – July)
  3. The Peak Shipping Season (August – October)
  4. The Holiday Shipping Season (November – December)

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.

 

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

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

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

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