Owning a semi-truck can be a good method for long-term truckers to turn a career into a business opportunity. Truckers already manage their own workflow for the most part, but starting your own company really puts you in position to be your own boss.
Trucking is very profitable, but also very competitive. What separates good truckers from great ones are the ability to deliver on time, and finding clients that pay well for good work. Here are some of the tricks owners use to get even bigger profits out of their semis.
Avoid Cash Flow Problems
First, get your financial house in order before you launch your own venture. You will need to purchase new equipment and maybe a used truck to get started. The initial investment to launch your trucking company adds up very quickly.
When you start taking jobs, it can be several weeks before you’re paid unless you use freight bill factoring. Most companies pay on either net-40 or net-60 schedules, so realistically it can take up to 8 weeks before payment is received for that initial job. Factoring would help increase cash flow in those early days, but be aware that factoring comes at a small cost to you.
If you’re in a position where the pay is good, but you don’t have cash on hand, factoring can keep you rolling.
Understand Your Expenses
One way to fail at a trucking business is to not consider the various expenses you have to stay active. You will certainly need fuel and money for repairs, which are part of your bid amount. A lot of owners come into the business thinking it’s a matter of underbidding the competition. These people end up taking jobs that they can’t afford to finish but are obligated to anyway.
That’s a surefire way to make sure you leave this business quickly.
Instead, try and use tools like Google Maps to plot out routes ahead of time. Don’t worry, as you grow you’ll be able to afford logistics software with much more accurate routing, but for an estimate of mileage and potential gas consumption, Google works great.
Rent Out Your Truck
Another way to earn a potential profit, without doing much work on your end, is to rent out your truck. Easier said than done is renting out to someone who is qualified to use it.
The first step is placing an ad in your local paper/classified advertising your truck is for rent. It’s a good idea to charge per mile and to figure out what the potential client is hauling. Many truckers just starting out see value in renting a truck for the first few jobs. You can see profit potential in handling the rental, and even applying your expertise toward coordinating the logistics.
Tips for Finding Work
The final trick is to find good work, and for that, you need to know where to look. Most major retailers hire truckers to manage routes themselves, but mid-sized businesses need people to move stock all over the country.
It also helps to partner with other truckers so all of you have eyes out for more work. Checking job boards and forums can get tiring for just one person, and everyone can share the work to share the benefits. Don’t forget, with a crew of two you can also drive different hours. This would make it easier to stay competitive for smaller outfits, but guarantee a delivery date well in advance of a larger line.