Having your own authority and being your own boss comes with some advantages. Choosing your own working hours, choosing your own freight, not worrying about company rules, or having to deal with dispatches all sounds like icing on the cake. Where there is freedom, there is responsibility. While there are advantages, drivers face disadvantages too, if you are not fully prepared for what the job entails.
Following these owner-operator successful tips can help you gain the knowledge of what it takes to run a successful business in the trucking industry.
Successful Owner-Operator Tips
Create a Business Plan
Before you even get out on the road and begin advertising your trucking business, you must first have a business plan in place. This means fully understanding how you plan on running your business and how you will handle any changes that arise.
When creating your business plan, keep in mind the type of trucking company you want to start. Do you want to run dry vans? Or are you more interested in heavy haul and specialized freight?
Another thing to consider is how do you see your business growing in the future. Do you plan on being a one-man band? Or do you foresee yourself adding other members to your team or additional trucks? Some of these decisions do not have to be made right away. Instead, it is important to get all your thoughts and ideas out on paper so you can fully see where your business plan is heading for the future.
Have a Business Owner Mindset
When first starting your trucking business as an owner-operator, you will have to remember that your truck is your tool for success. Having a strong work ethic can help your business become successful. Working hard to get as many miles under your belt to ensure your business stays up and running. Also, be prepared for any unexpected repairs that occur and additional fuel. As an owner-operator, these expenses now fall in your hands instead of the business you work for.
Who Do You Want to Drive For?
When deciding to choose a career path as an owner-operator, you will need to make the decision on which trucking company you want to lease with or get your own authority. By choosing to lease on with a trucking carrier such as Landstar, and you gain the freedom of being your own boss, 100% non-forced dispatch.
Landstar ensures their owner-operators are always loaded when they want to be loaded with 24/7 access to Landstar’s Load Board. Choose which type of load you want to haul, when you want to haul and when you want to be back home. Also, freight can be hauled anywhere in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Once you have found the carrier in which you want to drive for, be sure to continue doing research regarding their reputation and how they treat their drivers. Landstar treats their drivers like family and provides the tools and technology to ensure each driver as the opportunity to run a successful business.
Getting A Truck
Before getting out on the road and earning income, all owner-operators must get their own truck. It can be hard and confusing about how someone is going to purchase a new truck right away. However, drivers have different options, such as the Lease Purchase Program with Landstar or buying the truck through a financing company.
Lease-Purchase programs allow drivers to make monthly payments on the truck until the contract has been fulfilled. After the contract has been fulfilled, you have the option to buy the truck or begin a new contract. When choosing the lease program, you can receive discounts on fuel and maintenance costs.
Buying a truck through a financing company allows you to have more freedom choosing the carrier you want to run for. With financing, you make monthly payments until you fully own the truck.
Budget for Downtime and Emergencies
There could be times where emergencies arise, whether, in your family, road conditions are not favorable for driving, or maintenance fees. Having a “rainy day” fund set back can help you financially until you can get back on the road. It is advised to have 3 – 6 months of living expenses set back in your emergency fund to cover your expenses in the case of an emergency.
Talk to Professionals
Talking to a business professional regarding and legal or accounting can help you set up a successful trucking business. By working with professionals, these individuals are trained in recordkeeping, taxes, and handling other aspects of legal matters.
Choosing to hire a dependable business professional can help you get your financial aspects lined up before beginning your trucking business. They can help with your business plan, choosing an entity, or weighing out the options between a lease-purchase program for financing a truck.
Stay Healthy on the Road
Owner-operators typically choose to spend long amounts of time out on the road. Being stuck in a truck for hours on end can take a toll on a person’s mind and body. Being sure you stay active and eat a healthy diet can help you stay healthy while out on the road. If you have underlying health conditions, be sure you are seeking medical attention while on the road.
While it may seem difficult and time-consuming when starting up an owner-operator trucking business, the rewards outweigh the stressors. If you have the right mindset to own and start up your own business, you can have a successful trucking career. Be sure you are utilizing all the tools provided in starting up your business and talking to other professionals and owner-operators. These individuals can shed a better light on life as an owner-operator physically, mentally, and financially.