For many people, the freedom of being a trucker-owner is the ultimate goal. With no massive shipping company overseeing their work, trucker-owners are able to take on whatever they see fit and travel the country on their own terms. This does not mean that they have it easy. Trucker-owners are responsible for finding their own work and paying for their own overheads. They need to pay for the insurance and maintenance of their beloved truck, which can be very expensive indeed.
There is a Shortage
Trucking, however, can be profitable. There is a massive need for truckers in the United States – a shortage of 80,000 drivers has been reported. This means that the ball is firmly in the trucker-owner’s court when it comes to finding loads. There are some pretty well-established aspects of being a trucker-owner that need to be mastered in order to make the job a financial success. Here are some useful tips for truck drivers that own their vehicles.
Know Your Sector
By and large, it is preferable to have a specialist area of work. When looking for shipping work on a load board like the one over at Shiply, it isn’t hard to notice that specialist cargo commands a better price. Refrigerated cargo, unusually sized cargo, and international cargo are all transported at a higher cost. Some specialist loads require specialist equipment – something that clients are willing to pay a premium for. It is a good idea to find a specialist area of work, equip yourself accordingly, and advertise yourself to clients as a honed professional.
If you decide to carry loads using a regular box trailer, you should specialize in one of the three main trailer filling modes in the USA. These are:
A single client fills the entire trailer and pays for the privilege.
Less Than Load
Multiple clients purchase part of the space in a trailer. Multiple stops often need to be made.
A great many clients’ loads are carried to multiple destinations.
The idea of networking might not immediately appeal to the ‘lone wolf’ trucker-owner, but it is an essential part of the modern freight industry. You need to build a large network of contracts: from freight brokers to direct contact clients. Without a network of contacts, a trucker will have to independently find each new job. This leads many truckers to give up and work for a large haulage carrier – not something ideal for the road romantic old-school trucker-owner. Consider each new job you take on as a great opportunity for networking.
Prepare For The Worst
It is vitally important that you have some kind of maintenance reserve. This usually takes the form of a bank account that a trucker-owner can dip into when they want to repair their beloved vehicle without claiming on insurance. Truckers typically want to avoid claiming on their insurance for small repairs because they can end up paying far too much for future policies. If you can, save up for a maintenance reserve bank account.