Starting your own owner-operator business is an idea that will appeal to many people. In addition to being your boss, becoming an owner-operator can be an enjoyable way to make a living if you are someone who enjoys driving and is confident behind the wheel.
Additionally, these days there is a lot of work out there so it could prove to be a lucrative business venture if you know how to succeed.
This article will offer a few pointers for starting your own owner-operator business that will hopefully allow you to find success and enjoy all the benefits that go along with it.
1. Make Sure It Is Right For You
First, you need to make sure that this is the right career move for you. You might enjoy driving and like the idea of earning a living from making deliveries, but this does not work that is suited to everyone and it can take its toll.
It is a definite lifestyle choice and will require a lot of time away from home, so it is not a great option if you have recently had a kid, for example.
Additionally, as with any new business venture, there is risk involved and you need to make sure that you are starting from a position of financial stability.
2. Carry Out Market Research
Market research will allow you to learn about the state of the market where you are launching from, who your competitors are, and who your target market is.
With this information, you can then find ways to make your business a success and stand out from the crowd. Try to think of a USP that will appeal to your target market and allow you to make an instant impact.
3. Create A Business Plan
At this stage, you should create a business plan. Even if the business will just be you, it is important to have a plan in place so that you can use it to guide your business to success.
Additionally, a business plan will be helpful if you need to attract investors and secure funding for the business, as you can clearly show how you plan to achieve success and what your financial projections are.
4. Get Your Finances In Order
Leading on from this, you need to consider the financial side of starting your own owner-operator business. In addition to making sure that your finances are in order and that you are launching the business from a stable position, you also need to consider how you will fund the new business.
While the costs are low compared to many types of business, there will still be various costs to cover including the vehicle itself, software, insurance, and equipment. There are several ways in which you can fund the business, such as:
- Personal savings
- Bank Loans
5. Buy Or Lease A Truck
Next, you will want to buy or lease a truck. The vehicle that you drive will have a huge bearing on your success, so you must be able to obtain a truck that will allow you to excel with your owner-operator business.
You need to spend some time researching your options so that you can find the best vehicle that is suited to your business and budget. Various extras will come in useful, such as a GPS, dashcam, and various safety features.
6. Get Registered And Qualified
As you might imagine with this type of business, there are various licenses and permits that you need to start working legally as a delivery driver.
What you need depends on where you are, but typically it will include a commercial driver’s license, a USDOT number, an MC number, and truck insurance.
As with any new business, you will also need to register the business and choose the right structure (most owner-operators are set up as sole traders).
7. Use Load Boards To Find Work
At this stage, you will be ready to start taking on work, and this is an exciting time. Knowing how to get truck loads is not easy when getting started, though, as most people will select owner-operators who have experience under their belt. Fortunately, there is a good solution to this catch-22 situation by using owner-operator load boards.
These are boards that allow you to browse and secure available jobs that fit your freight type.
This is a great way to gain experience early on, earn money, and build a reputation for yourself. It should then be easier to find regular work and make a name for yourself in the industry.
8. Focus On Reliability
The key to success with an owner-operator business is reliability. For your customers, there is nothing more important than the delivery being made on time and the cargo arriving in the same condition as it left.
This means that you need to focus on reliability so that you can build a positive reputation for yourself. When getting started, the best way to do this is to avoid taking on too many projects and make sure that you will never be rushed to make a deadline.
It is tempting to take on as much work as you can to bring in money, but instead, it is best to focus on providing a quality service instead of getting as many deliveries made as you can. You also need to avoid taking on too much work as this can lead to dangerous driving and burnout.
Hopefully, this post will prove to be useful for anyone who is starting (or thinking about starting) an owner-operator business. This can certainly be an enjoyable way to make a living if you enjoy driving and being your boss has its perks, but you need to know how to set up and find work early on if you are to succeed.