The trucking industry has gone through some major changes in the past couple of years. From the ELD mandate to self-driving trucks on the horizon and emission regulations getting stricter by the year, you might think not many will choose to head the calling of the trucker. However, the interest in starting a trucking business has never been higher. In fact, experts predict that the industry will grow by around 21% by the end of 2025.
The simple reason behind this is that with all the downfalls, a small, self-owed trucking company can be very profitable. But even with the high demand and tons of freight literally waiting to get hauled, many owner-operators still fail.
This usually happens to great truckers who are not that familiar with the business side of things. To make things easier to company drivers aspiring to start their own business, we’ve compiled this list of tips to keep in mind before you start your own, 18-wheel adventure.
Getting the Right Truck
To start a trucking company, you obviously first need to own a truck. This is also the first of the many tough decisions you are going to have to make. There are numerous options for buying a truck. If you have a huge savings account you can straight up walk into the dealership and buy one. But this is not the case for most average truckers. The choice often comes down to taking out a loan or looking for truck financing at a company that offers these kinds of services. Both have their pros and cons, and the choice is ultimately up to you. You can find out more on the topic from Got Truck Capital by clicking here.
Selecting the right type of truck will also be critical, as it will impact the freight type, load sizing, and even the job length you can handle. It’s analogous to selecting a car as an Uber driver. If you want to get the premium paying jobs, you need to meet the Uber black car requirements.
Find the Right Customers
Many new owner-operators use a load board to find new customers. However, this strategy is only effective in the short run. You have to think about the big plan and how you can put your name out for potential clients. If you want to win a contract at a load board you will often have to compete with truckers who already made valuable connections with the clients there.
There are a lot of valuable resources you can use, mainly the Internet. The online advertising options are virtually limitless and the competition is not yet that stiff. Start working for clients, even if you have to bid lower, and make a list of preferred clients. These will be your main and most reliable source of income.
Know the Business Side of Things
Being a good trucker is only one part of being a successful owner-operator. If you want to make in the industry you have to become familiar with the business side of things as well. If you are running a business with several trucks, you need to plan your offices accordingly and most likely hire help. If you only have the truck you drive, it could still pay off to hire an expert to handle that side of things if you are not confident enough.
Plan Your Expenses
Another common obstacle owner-operators face is bad financial planning. A lot of truckers don’t plan for expenses such as maintenance, loan repayment or other fees. Sometimes the problem occurs if the contracts take a few months to pay, leaving truckers with no other option than to pay for all the maintenance and administrative costs out of their own pocket. If your company grows the expenses get even bigger. That’s why an owner-operator always needs to have some money stashed aside to make it through until the contracts are paid.