For most truck drivers, becoming an owner-operator is very intriguing. Being your own boss in the trucking industry can provide a lifestyle and freedom considered the American dream. Are you looking to make your own schedule, increase your annual income, or have the open flexibility of managing yourself? While the transition from employee to owner may not be easy, there are things aspiring owner-operators can do to prepare for a new career.
It Takes Money To Make Money
Save money and have a budget plan that includes all the permits, licenses, insurance, assets, office supplies, office space, and on-the-road expenses you’ll need to pay. You should also hire a tax and accounting professional to help keep track of your overhead and budget.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to choose the best route to acquire your truck. Make sure you have a minimum of 15-20K saved up and ready to launch your owner-operator career.
Know Exactly What You Want & Need
Develop a business plan that outlines exactly how much you’ll need to run and budget to reach your short and long-term goals.
There are many legalities to consider when opening your own business. From your U.S. Department of Transportation number to your LLC or CORP license, do plenty of research to make sure you’re operating legally. The slightest slip-up can result in severe consequences.
Invest In Reliability
Your assets are the most critical part of your business. Some may choose to save costs by buying used trucks. Others may want to invest in brand-new trucks. Whatever decision you make, be sure that your equipment is reliable and will stay on the road.
Also, understand that semi-trucks require a lot of preventative maintenance. If you don’t conduct these measures, new or used, your truck will be in and out of the shop.
Determine What You Want To Haul
Ask yourself, “what do I want to haul?” From dry van to reefer to flatbed, there are many options available to you. Some lanes are more lucrative than others but do your best to find your sweet spot.
You must also decide if you’re going to run under your own authority and work for the load boards or if you’re going to sign on with a carrier and run as an independent contractor.
Use The Power Of Networking
Network! Other truck drivers, owner-operators, and fleet professionals are all valuable connections in the industry. There are even online forums that you can join to ask all your questions. Whether you’re just starting or a veteran owner-operator, everyone has knowledge that can be valuable for you.
Aspiring owner-operators sometimes rush into making this career change. It’s not an easy task to own your own trucking business. There will be moments of doubt, frustration, and confusion. You can be highly successful as an owner-operator with a thorough business plan, saved-up capital, and hard work.