Making a decision of leaping from an ordinary truck driver position to being your own boss, with your own truck, is a challenging but also an exciting opportunity. The biggest concern many potential owner-operators have is in regards to how viable and profitable their trucking business will be and how strong the competition will be.
There are several factors that any truck driver should keep in mind when thinking about becoming an owner operator and starting their own business from scratch. By understanding a few important trucking and business principles, any trucker can successfully transform their trucking careers and ensure the profitability of their trucking business, as well as its longevity.
Obtaining the necessary knowledge
Some of the necessary knowledge in this field can be obtained in a rather straightforward way, by undertaking various courses offered by reputable trucking companies, such as Status Transportation. In order to acquire additional knowledge, you will have to do some research and consult other, highly experienced owner operators. The good news is that the vast majority of successful owner-operators are more than willing to share their experiences and knowledge. There are also plenty of organizations, associations and online applications that can provide the necessary tools, calculators, as well as informative articles.
Before you make this decision, make sure to get the answers to the following questions:
What are the costs of starting a trucking business?
This is more or less a basic information, that you can easily obtain from other owner-operators or by visiting specialized websites. In most cases, these costs will be included:
- Leasing or purchasing a truck and a trailer, if possible
- Initial insurance
- Getting business permits
- Ensuring all the forms, filings, endorsements, and licenses are up to date and valid
- Main insurance
- Finding a truck and trailer storage, as well as storage, loading and unloading facilities.
Additionally, you will also have to consider truck software and hardware in the form of tablets, smart phones, laptops or computers, in order to successfully run your business from everywhere and be capable of accessing all the necessary information at any time.
The rest of the expenses may include building leases, office furniture, part-time or full-time staff, hiring other drivers to assist you with long distance hauls and other business start-up costs. Depending on the type of the rig you lease or purchase, you might also have to consider upgrading the cab of your truck.
What will be the road costs?
Once you fully understand what covers the initial costs of getting your trucking business up and running, you should proceed by calculating all the ongoing costs of being on the road. Of course, the biggest costs associated with being on the road are going to be the costs of fuel. You will have to accurately calculate these costs and cover them, in order to get your load to its final destination and make a profit.
In addition to the fuel costs, you will also have to consider other insurance types, food, and drinks for the road, accommodation, toll fees, emergency repairs, routine maintenance, as well as a wide range of unexpected costs and fees.
How to stay ahead of the competition?
Finally, you will have to assess the strength and the capabilities of your competitors, so as to be able to provide better services. In order to do that, you may have to consider lower rates, additional promotions and a number of other customer-oriented features. Offering the same features as the others is not an incentive for potential customers to choose your business over other, more proven businesses.