Tag Archives: Trucking

IC Onboard: Carrier Management Module

Openforce’s newly released Carrier Management module is perfect for contracting companies that work with carrier or freight agent companies to handle deliveries of their customer’s cargo. The module is part of the Openforce IC Onboard solution and allows contracting companies to enroll freight agents or carriers as business entities without requiring private individual information.
 

FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Quick Business Entity Enrollments

The freight agent’s TIN will be validated by Openforce for the contracting company to review and approve. Once approved, the agent can immediately start onboarding contractors under their business profile.

Maintain Visibility and Compliance

The contracting company has the option to manage ongoing compliance or grant the freight agent user-specific access to manage the required compliance activity directly. This provides the ideal solution to enable structured workflows with added flexibility to address state- or agent-specific requirements.

Set Workflows with Mobile Enrollments

The contracting company sets the standard. Once set, automated enrollment workflows make it easy for freight agents to know exactly what pieces of information and documents are required for contractor onboarding. And with our full mobile enrollment experience with e-signature verification, contractors can enroll anytime, anywhere from their smartphone.

Optimal Business Separation

By empowering the freight agent to manage compliance, the contracting company still maintains visibility. And transferring the responsibility of contractor enrollment to the agent—where it should be—establishes optimal business separation between the contracting company and its freight agents.
 

HOW DO I ENABLE THIS MODULE?

Openforce clients may simply reach out to your Account Manager or contact CustomerSupport@oforce.com to activate this valuable feature and start adding freight agents today.

If you’re new to Openforce or IC Onboard, and would like to learn more about:
  • Dramatically simplifying your enrollment process
  • Fast contractor onboards with mobile enrollments
  • Replacing the constant churn of paperwork and contractors
  • Improving retention with helpful Member Benefits designed for contractors
     

Contact us today to speak with an Openforce expert and experience a demo.





Whitepaper: Dart Transit Company

In 2015, the General Counsel for Dart Transit Company, Doug Grawe, had grown tired of the headlines. Grawe knew misclassification cases had led to $6.9 million in penalties for Pacific 9 and a $228 million settlement for FedEx. Would Dart be the next to make headlines?

Fortunately, the answer was ‘no’ because Dart had decided to take the leap to a new way of contracting with its owner operators. No penalties would be levied. No articles written. But the risk of continuing to use a hard copy paper contract system to manage the company’s 1,400 owner operator contracts was inescapable.

For Grawe and Dart Transit Company, that better way was Openforce, a cloud-based online onboarding technology solution that streamlines owner operator contracts, provides an online database and helps ensure compliance.

“In today’s day and age of misclassifications you’ve got to make sure you’re crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s,” Grawe says.

But many companies aren’t taking those precautions. In fact, 44 percent of all companies haven’t automated their onboarding process, according to a Careerbuilder.com survey. But as the government encourages states to crack down on owner operator violations, many trucking companies who are still doing paper contracts may be putting themselves in jeopardy.

And companies that continue using old school hard copy contracts may be more at risk. That’s because those outdated methods are mired in inefficiencies and inaccuracies. In fact, hard copy, hand filled-out contracts can be as little as 10 percent accurate. That kind of haphazard owner operator contract management hardly puts trucking companies in a position to capitalize on the phenomenal growth the industry is expected to experience over the next five years.

Companies such as Dart that can ensure fast, accurate onboarding of owner operators are sure to have a competitive advantage in this fast growing market.

How Openforce Works

As Dart Transit discovered, Openforce’s innovative technologies help speed, manage the owner operator contract management lifecycle, and remove inefficiencies from the process. Finding and securing quality owner operators takes a host of complicated management practices and process protocols to ensure owner operators have freedom, choice, and time:

  • Sourcing
  • Clearance
  • Proper contracting
  • Compliance with state and federal regulations
  • Certifications of skills
  • Accurate, timely payment for services performed

In addition, owner operators present unique challenges in risk, logistics, quality and compliance. The nature of owner operator relationships further complicates matters. For example, owner operators decide their own elections including:

  • Occupational accident insurance
  • Base plates and permits
  • Heavy highway vehicle use tax
  • Fuel services
  • GPS service
  • Maintenance reserve accounts

“For each contractor there are dozens and dozens of different iterations of how the contract looks based on their individual situation,” Grawe says. “There’s no standard one-size-fits-all contract packet that everyone signs. And every time an owner operator makes a business decision, that can lead to a new document in the contract.”

Seven Best Practices that Optimize Dart’s Owner Operator Management

So just what are the best practices of automating owner operator contract management that’s also in support of compliance? Download the whitepaper to take a closer look at the technology-enabled solutions Openforce’s platform provided to optimize Dart Transit’s processes.

Whitepaper Dart



 

New Tax Laws May Help Truckers!

Did you know that there are currently more than 1.6 million Americans working as truck drivers, making it the most common occupation across the country in 29 states? And truckers may be major beneficiaries of the president’s tax reform plan with significant tax changes that may directly affect how much independent contractors and owner operator drivers will pay in taxes.

NEW TAX BILL

On December 2, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs, while the U.S. House of Representatives passed its own version of the tax bill in November. With aspirations to have the bill signed by President Trump by Christmas, a committee of representatives from both houses of Congress are working on a reconciled bill with most changes taking effect for 2018.

Most provisions of the tax bill, if passed this year, are scheduled to take effect January 1, 2018. If it slides into next year, lawmakers could make it retroactive or set a new implementation date.

From tax rates on businesses and individuals, to allowable deductions and expensing of your truck, much of what you know about taxes is changing, so it’s important to be aware of the changes currently consideration. Additionally, the fees and expenses related to trucking that are tax deductible are different from any other industry. That’s why as an Openforce member through our Member Benefits program, we are pleased to extend expert tax services and a special offer through Equinox Business Solutions.

Equinox offers a comprehensive array of business services including bookkeeping, tax, and technology solutions, all which enable Equinox’s team of Professional Tax Advisors to help independent contractors manage their business and adapt to changes in their business fast. With over 12 years of leading industry experience and working with independent contractors across the nation in 48 statesEquinox and its people are the Truck Tax Experts.

Equinox experts are closely monitoring how these changes will impact clients and their trucking operations in 2018. Significant tax changes MAY include:

  • You may pay overall lower taxes
  • Your tax liability could be capped at 25%
  • Your itemized personal deductions may be restricted or eliminated
  • The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly may be raised to $24,400
  • Your personal exemption may be replaced by a tax credit of $300 per adult
  • The child tax credit may be enhanced
  • Estate taxes may be repealed for those passing away after 2023
  • The amount excluded from estate tax may double

The bottom line is most truckers should see more money in their pockets with the tax rewrite. But with so many changes and unknowns in the works, you’ll want to consult with a licensed tax professional that can help wrap up 2017, and best guide you through these changes in 2018.

Additionally, if you’re an Openforce member and new to Equinox, sign up today, and you’ll receive $50 off your first annual tax filing!

Contact Equinox via your self-service portal in Member Benefits. Or give them a call at 800-533-4230, email info@EquinoxBusiness.com or visit EquinoxBusiness.com.

Be sure to mention you’re an ‘Openforce member’ to maximize your contractor discounts and benefits.

Please Note: This blog post does not give nor is it intended to give specific tax advice. Your tax situation is unique, and you should consult with your own licensed tax/accounting professional.

Openforce Awarded SSAE 18

Today, Openforce announced the completion of a third-party audit report demonstrating full compliance with SSAE 18. The successful audit affirms Openforce’s policies and practices for managing the company’s risk and protection controls along with those of their sub-services providers.

Committed to the utmost levels of integrity and customer satisfaction in same-day courier, trucking, final mile, home care, and other verticals, Openforce’s IC Onboard, IC Pay, IC Complete, and its integrated data analytics platform, IC Insight are managed to the highest standards.

Established for advanced IT service providers, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) Service Organization Controls (SOC) 1 Type II certification provides Openforce customers with an independent auditor’s unbiased level of assurance of corporate controls as it relates to network and logical security, processing integrity, availability, confidentiality, and privacy.

“The SSAE 18 report serves as a continued endorsement of our market leadership in financial processes and controls for independent contractor management software,” said Drake Pruitt, CEO of Openforce. “Openforce is committed to following security and compliance standards that allow our customers to have the proper assurances in the integrity of our systems and processes, along with those of our suppliers.” 

Designed to bring all U.S. standards up to international standards of security compliance, the new requirements set by these regulations are best practices that Openforce has been adhering to for the past six consecutive years.

Four SSAE 18 changes that affect the SOC 1 examination:

  1. Vendor Management
    The most significant change in the requirements that must be met by a service organization is ensuring that its vendor management program for sub-service providers is significantly robust, which monitor the controls at sub-service organizations.
  2. Risk Assessment
    SSAE 18 requires service auditors to obtain a more in-depth understanding of the development of the subject matter than currently required, to better identify the risks of material misstatement in an examination engagement. The goal is to have an improved linkage between assessed risks and the nature, timing, and extent of attestation procedures performed in response to those risks.
  3. Complementary Sub-service Organization Controls
    As more organizations are outsourcing key functions to their own set of subservice organizations, SSAE 18 introduces the concept of “Complementary Subservice Organization” controls. This concept establishes and defines the controls for which user entities must now assume in the design of the system description. SSAE 18 provides more guidance around this area for more consistent reporting across entities and practitioners.
  4. Written Assertion Requirement
    The final change to the SOC 1, per SSAE 18, is that the service auditor obtains a written assertion. This written assertion is the statement found within the SOC report wherein the service organization asserts that the system description provided is essentially true and complete. This statement has always been contained within the SOC 1 reporting document but the requirement that the service organization signs the document was optional.

Today’s on-demand economy is driven by technology that automates processes and transactions to meet the increasing consumer demands for lower cost, high transparency, rapid delivery of goods and services. To meet the challenge, suppliers like Openforce must earn and protect the trust of their customers and supply chain partners. Compliance with audit standards like SSAE 18 are integral to demonstrating that commitment.

“When it comes to proper management of sensitive data related to compliance monitoring, risk management and settlement processing, our customers have complete peace of mind that Openforce has controls and practices in place to ensure the safeguarding of their data,” added Pruitt.

Last Mile: The New Frontier

Getting shipments delivered on time while battling the constant shortage of drivers is no easy feat. And that’s before even knowing if the independent driver is qualified to provide services and ready to hit the road.

According to the American Trucking Association’s quarterly report, the pace of driver turnover at both large and small truck fleets rose signficantly in the second quarter of 2017.

For large carriers with revenue of more than $30 million, driver turnover rose 16 points to 90 percent, up from 74 percent in the first quarter of 2017. That’s the largest quarterly jump since the fourth quarter in 2010, according to the ATA report. Small carriers with less than $30 million in annual revenue fared slightly better, but also experienced double-digit turnover rates in the second quarter, rising 19 points to 85 percent, up from 66 percent in the first quarter.

Driving at Optimal Performance

As businesses manage against unpredictable demand, increased volatility, and rising costs, companies like UST Logistical Systems are turning to IC management software to replace manual processes that create logistical roadblocks for their business.

ustlogo.pngUST Logistical Systems is a national third-party logistics provider specializing in the “final mile” delivery of furniture and appliances—from the retailer’s warehouse directly into the customer’s home. With more than one million annual deliveries and approximately 1,000 team members in motion, UST Logistical Systems turned to Openforce’s cloud-based solution to streamline all aspects of IC management including:

  • Faster onboarding
  • Contracting the right way
  • Settlement processing
  • Risk controls requirements
  • Compliance audit

“Once the Openforce system was in place, a major pressure point was released. The Openforce automated platform is completely worry free and we can focus our time on more strategic priorities.”

Tekisha Roberts
Compliance Director

Download the Full Case Study
Learn how UST Logistical Systems accelerated its onboarding, and established best practices and compliance automation, to align with the high standards of the company brand.

Case Study UST



 

Exclusive Deals & Discounts for Openforce Members

As an Openforce member, you already have access to incredible savings at your fingertips. Because of our purchasing power, we are able to pass through valuable benefits, programs and services for our members. A great example is the Working Advantage network, which allows Openforce members to save up to 60 percent on ticketed events and online shopping.

blog-graphic-summer-offers.pngHow Do I Get Access?

  1. Login to your Member Benefits in the self-service online portal and click on the ‘Entertainment’ tab
  2. Click on the ‘Working Advantage’ icon
  3. Call the 800-number or click on the link for access to the Working Advantage website to register
  4. Be sure to enter the Member ID located on the page

By extending some budget-saving tips to your vacation planning, you won’t be stuck breaking the bank with your summer getaway. Sure, it might take a little more preparation ahead of time, but knowing you got a nice deal will help you relax the time away. Happy planning and vacationing this summer!

Streamline IC Workflows Using Indpendent Contractor Management (ICM®) Software

1. Onboarding

Traditional approaches to independent contractor onboarding typically consist of manual, inefficient, paper-based processes that overburden internal employees. While these cumbersome and time-consuming methods may have worked in the past, the increasing pressures to become more agile, efficient, and cost-effective have caused business leaders to seek out alternative solutions that will expedite the onboarding process and get independent contractors ready to provide services quicker.

When utilizing contractor management software, businesses leverage a web-based platform that works by capturing all contractual and compliance documentation in an automated environment. With the ability to create custom enrollment workflows that can accommodate a variety of complex compliance requirements, such as background screening, insurance requirements and various credentials, contracting companies are able to ensure a thorough IC onboarding process while also realizing greater operational efficiencies, increasing resource capacity, and significantly reducing potential compliance risks. Additionally, contractor management software, due to its web-based nature, allows all system users to gain quick, high-level insight into where independent contractors are in the onboarding process at any given time.

 

2. Supplemental Compliance Items and Tracking

Furthermore, contracting companies are able to collect supplemental compliance items such as driver’s licenses, vehicle registration, and certificates of registration while also tracking expiration dates directly in enrollment. Not only does this eliminate the need to ‘hunt down’ necessary documents after the contract has been signed, but it also removes the burden of ongoing, manual document tracking. In addition, contractor management software pushes out automated expiration notifications that alert contracting company administrators and independent contractors when a given document is 60 days from expiration.

 

3. Negotiation

In most cases, rate negotiation processes involve multiple in-person meetings or phone calls that require both independent contractors as well as contracting companies to spend excessive amounts of time away from the tasks and responsibilities that are core to their business. While this may seem like an unavoidable cost of running a business, the digital and on-demand nature of contractor management software enables both parties to significantly reduce the amount of ‘idle time’ spent negotiating their terms of agreement.

By leveraging web-based, interactive negotiations businesses are able to perform and document negotiations in real-time; ultimately eliminating the unproductive errands, like driving to and from meetings, that typically prolong the negotiation process. Additionally, with the ability to track all of the back and forth in the form of an audit trail, and capture the final rate in a document, contractor management software safeguards both parties from any ‘hearsay’ issues related to their agreement.

As the gig workforce continues to grow and evolve, industry leaders will look to adopt the resources and technology needed to drive greater efficiencies and better support business and market demands. While independent contractors have proven to facilitate significant operational and financial benefits to contracting companies, inefficient IC management has left many business leaders struggling with archaic manual processes, potential misclassification, and other costly errors.

However, by using purpose-built contractor management software, organizations are able to gain a competitive advantage by demonstrating to their customers that they’ve invested in a purpose-built software platform to better manage IC compliance and streamline workflow processes; resulting in increased ROI and more satisfied independent contractors that stay connected, compliant and contracted.

To learn how your organization can maximize the benefits of the IC business model, request a software demo.

Trucking: 3 Ways to Reduce Driver Turnover

A recent survey of the readers of Overdrive and its sister brand Truckers News asked truck drivers, “What is the one thing you dislike most about your job today?” The top gripe by a considerable margin was that, “regulations are making it harder to work and make a living.”

Trucking Management Solutions

Lack of respect came in next at 20 percent. And while most companies assume pay is the top reason why drivers switch jobs, ‘not enough money’ appeared farther down on the list at just 13 percent.

3 Strategies for Increasing Driver Retention Rates

Ever-changing regulations have made it increasingly difficult for contract carriers to stay compliant, find work, and earn a living, but there are a few strategies that trucking organizations can leverage to help keep drivers contracted and minimize turnover caused by dissatisfaction.

  1. Automated Onboarding Process
    Compliance is, and will continue to be, the primary focus for any trucking company that chooses to work with independent contractors or independent service providers. The risks associated with noncompliance are rising, and trucking organizations must ensure that all contract carriers remain compliant with state and federally mandated regulations. To minimize risk, companies are leveraging automated compliance tools that help initiate and establish proper business agreements with contract carriers the right way. A clear communication path through the back-and-forth negotiation process and transparent agreement signed off by both parties, work to protect both trucking companies and independent service providers against any potential issues that may arise. With the ability to track date-sensitive, contractual and compliance-related items, and alert both parties when an update or change is required, trucking organizations can rest assured knowing that their independent service providers are onboarded faster and in support of compliance. What’s more, independent service providers feel greater respect through this processes—are ultimately more satisfied being treated as an empowered independent business—which results in lower turnover.
  2. Streamlined Settlement Processes

    Self-employed contractors manage and operate as an independent business. So the accurate and on-time delivery of settlement is extremely important to their livelihood and the livelihood of their subcontractors. Using contractor management software, like IC Pay, trucking companies can provide independent service providers with the ability to provide comments, make adjustments, and submit invoices for electronic approval and payment. In addition, it allows trucking companies to deliver electronic payments to their independent service providers via direct deposit or debit card. Not only does this help create a seamless and expedited settlement process, but it also removes administrative burdens for both the trucking companies and their contract carriers. Automating time-intensive settlement process allows companies to pursue revenue-generating activities while helping independent service providers get paid in a more timely and accurate manner.

  3. Document Push & Management

    Simply put, working with independent service providers means paperwork—and lots of it. While much of this paperwork can be attributed to the onboarding process, it’s very common for compliance and contractual documents to be updated throughout the course of an engagement. In the past, both independent service providers and trucking companies were forced to manage and maintain these documents manually. However, with contractor management software like IC Onboard, trucking organizations can now send on-demand documents and alerts which are tracked for execution and compliance. Once a document is pushed, the independent service provider receives at alert via email, text or splash screen within the software, informing them there is a document to review and electronically sign. The amount of documentation required to complete, consolidate and update on a regular basis is no small feat. This streamlined process allows both the trucking company and independent service provider to update and respond to new information quickly and efficiently, minimizing the hassle and productivity loss when changes are necessary.

Working with independent service providers can deliver operational effectiveness and cost savings that significantly outweigh the management challenges. However, trucking companies must seek to manage turnover through proactive practices aimed at reducing the burdens placed on the independent service provider. Companies, like Openforce, are well-versed on the challenges and industry-leading technologies for reducing independent contractor turnover. In fact, Openforce customers experience a 30 percent decrease in contractor turnover when compared with the industry average in transportation. And without fail, each customer Openforce onboards confirms some combination of reducing costs, managing risks and eliminating non-strategic tasks—which allows them to shift the focus to their core business, on-time delivery and servicing clients.