Perhaps you currently drive a big rig for a company and want total freedom to transport loads when and where you want. Or, you recently received your Class A CDL license and are anxious to make your first run. Regardless of which applies, a lot of careful planning and thought goes into the decision to either remain as a company driver or start your own business in long haul trucking.
If you are considering being a successful owner operator, the first thing to consider is whether you want to have your own authority or lease on to a carrier. Will you be buying your truck outright or leasing it? Since big rigs can cost upwards of $100,000 or more depending on the age, make and model, if you have limited funds, leasing a truck may end up as the better option, but you have to be careful. However, if you planned ahead and have a nest egg secure for this venture, then owning your rig outright may prove to give you more flexibility and work in your favor, including additional tax deductions. Set up an LLC for your company, an S-Corp is a beneficial way to set yourself up as. It will also help to have a professional help you with your bookkeeping.
One thing to make sure, do not get into a Lease Purchase agreement with a carrier. Many drivers have lose everything to many of these carrier lease agreements. The only company we have recommended for 10 years is Lone Mountain Truck Leasing. There are no hidden fees, tricks, or surprises. When you make the last payment, you own the truck. You can also purchase outright from them with a small down payment.
If you’re getting your own loads, we recommend either the Xypper App or MyRiteLoad as an addition to loadboards.
The trucking business is no different than any other business. In order to be successful and enjoy living a comfortable lifestyle, you need to make money. As a sole proprietor, the burden of marketing yousrelf and your business lies squarely on your shoulders. The good news is that there are several ways to gain name recognition and acquire contracts for jobs.
The first thing that will help is a website or blog that gives potential customers background information about you, your personal history, your goals, and the types of services you offer. After that, the best way to increase your business is a clean driving record ( which includes CSA scores) and your customer service.
It’s also important to set up a booth or a tent such as those provided by Ins’TenT Industries to attract people and promote your business. Many people promote their business at trade shows, such as GATS, which is right around the corner this August.
You should also have a presence on social media sites such as LinkedIn,Twitter, and Facebook, to get your name out there to a large audience. Have business cards made with your website, name, and contact info,
For many getting into their semi-truck and driving halfway across the states is a thrill. It gives them an opportunity to see the country and visit many different places they would otherwise not see. However, driving a big rig across the states consumes a lot of time and puts you behind the wheel long hours, and sometimes in extreme weather conditions in order to meet deadlines and make money to live well. Remember, most company drivers are paid by the mile and are exempt from the FLSA overtime. As a result, you might be away from home for weeks at a time if you choose an over-the-road career. If you have a family, this may not be something appealing to you. Another thing to consider is your health. Since time is money, many drivers of big rigs eat, shower and fuel up at designated truck stops. Unfortunately, the food provided is not always the healthiest. Thankfully, there are ways to promote a healthy diet by stopping at a local grocery store and stocking up on fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Big rigs have cabins that contain a fridge and ample storage space to hold your supplies, even a portable grill.
Staying in Motion
The life of an long-haul truck driver is mostly sedentary, and this in itself can cause major health problems. A good solution is to work in exercise regularly to keep your heart healthy, your muscles lean and your weight under control. Use the storage space not only to meet your food needs but also for exercise equipment. Folding bikes and weight take up just a small amount of space, and can prove instrumental in your overall health and well being.
Quality Over-the-road truck drivers are in demand. The money can be good if you work for a “good” company or have a good business sense, however, you will drive long hours and spend a fair amount of time away from home. Deciding whether to become an owner/operator of a big-rig has both pros and cons. Weigh each of them carefully and then discuss it with your family, before making your final decision.
© 2019, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.