Here’s a starter guide for people thinking of getting their start in the trucking industry, specifically for potential independent owner-operators (O/Os).
Figure out how you’re gonna get paid
Might be obvious, but start with the money. Figure out what your sources of income are going to be.There are two ways you can get paid as an O/O:Operate under your own authority, booking your own loads either through brokers or direct relationships with shippers.Leasing onto a carrier and choosing the loads you want to haul.
Booking your own loads
If you are getting your own loads, you’ll be working through a broker, through load boards, or by developing direct relationships with customers. If you are new to trucking, starting out by getting your authority and booking your own loads is going to be hard. You have more work to do, and you have a lot more regulations, fees, and start-up costs than with leasing to a carrier or working under the authority of a carrier.
Leasing to a carrier
If you are considering leasing to a carrier, then make some calls and talk to people at different potential carriers. Talk to recruiters and talk to some drivers. The recruiters are going to paint a rosy picture. The drivers will be more realistic but might be a little negative. The truth is somewhere in between. Find out about what kind of rates to expect to be paid, how many miles you will run, and what you will haul. This will go a long way to picking the right
If you need to run a lot of miles, fuel mileage is a very high priority. If your fuel costs are too high, they can eat a big chunk of your profits. Find out how long they expect you to keep your truck out. If they expect you to be on the road for long periods of time, is that going to suit your needs? (And if you are thinking of hiring drivers, you want to make sure they are a good fit for the jobs, too.)Find out what requirements they have for drivers. These will include such things as types of insurance, certificates or licenses for transporting certain kinds of materials, or limits on driving hours. You don’t want to go too far in the business-starting process and find out that they won’t let you start working.
Start estimating your business costs
When you know where the money will be coming from and a ballpark of what to expect per mile and per month, you can start planning how much your business will cost to operate.
Start looking for potential trucks
With a better idea of the costs and profits involved, you can start looking at trucks.
Fine-tuning your cost structure
Edit your list of trucks down to 5-10 trucks. Start making calls and see if they are still available, and take more detailed notes about them. Whittle the list down to 3-5 of the best. This will save you money when you go on Rigdig.comand check on the truck’s history.Now you can use these and call some insurance companies to get a better idea of the exact costs of the insurance. Call several, as rates can vary by a large amount.
References: Jason Forrest,