Owner-operator truckers are using their cell phones to not only help them manage their business, but to help them find new business as well, according to a recent survey.
UShip, which allows owner-operators and carriers to bid on loads the people and businesses need shipped, recently surveyed more than 6,000 owner-operators to find out how truckers use their cell phones.
More than three-fourths said they use their phones to arrange pickup and delivery on the road. Calling and texting to check in has been common in the transport industry for years.
However, new mobile tools are enabling truckers to gain business on the road as well. One in three uShip transporters use their phones to bid on and book loads while on the road (35 percent and 37 percent, respectively).
Mobile phones have also surpassed laptops in terms of importance for conducting business on the road. Only 18 percent of those surveyed said they use their laptop more than their phone when conducting business on the road. 23 percent don't bring a laptop on the road at all.
UShip (which recently launched a mobile app) believes there's room for growth in mobile internet and app usage among truckers. Less than half (46 percent) of the survey respondents access the internet from their mobile phones. Over 70 percent of truckers surveyed have phones less than 2 years old, so Internet access is not likely to be due to a lag in technology.
One in three use mobile applications (apps) on the road to monitor the weather, gas prices and traffic conditions on the road. Among those that have made the leap to mobile internet access, social networking is one of the common uses. Nearly 20 percent use social networks on their phones (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to keep up with family, friends and colleagues.
Clearly, mobile phones are now a big part of life on the road. In fact, cell phone access is so important to truckers that when asked what they would give up if necessary to keep their phones, one-fifth said they would go without their CB radios (20 percent). Also, twice as many truckers said they would give up their spouses (16 percent) as said they would give up their pets (8 percent).