Being your own boss and setting your own schedule is the American Dream. But where much freedom is allowed, it requires dedication and responsibility. You have to think like a business man and continue to learn, take advice, and invest in your company.
We’ve been serving owner operators since 1985 and have seen their struggles and successes.
Here’s some tips to help you get started successfully…
Your first year will be the toughest; expect to have cash for working capital, out-of-pocket expenses, insurance, meals, tires, oil changes, repairs and other expenditures.
Investigate, explore, and inquire to get an accurate handle on both expected income and common expenses. It is best to set up a budget, live within your means, and have goals. This is an easy way to set money aside each week for these expenses and to be prepared; you should have an emergency fund of 3-6 months set aside.
Maintaining good credit supports your ability to stay in business and access necessary capital for equipment and business growth.
Buy or lease; new or used truck; do your homework!
Consider the truck’s fuel economy and its age (including mileage, warranty and amenities) for the money. Explore options of an extended warranty, if available. Talk with other owner-operators with similar trucks and engines and get their feedback.
The truck is your major investment, make it count!
As an Owner-Operator, you are responsible for Federal and State Compliance records.
You can easily become overwhelmed with everything that is required to be kept. Seek out reputable professionals, in the trucking industry, who can advise you properly for your specific circumstances. Who can counsel you on accounting and legal issues.
Set up the most appropriate business structure for your trucking company; receipts, logs, compliance rules, and taxes. There are required forms due monthly, quarterly, and annually that your business will be required to file. Fines and penalties are harsh on your budget.
You’re in the business sector now; you’re lining up your loads, picking your carriers. Many factors will affect your operation over time: the rates of your freight, your expense costs, your safety rating, the quality of customers you choose, and how well you work with others. Long-term relationships with quality customers will lead your company to success.
“It’s tough out on the road”, I’ve heard this complaint for over 40 years. Your sleep pattern is messed up, you sit all day and the food you eat is not always the healthies – if you get to eat at all.
Having a CDL requires you to have a physical, depending on your health you may need to go annually. It is important for you to stay healthy. Diabetes and heart problems are common health issues for a truck driver.
Make a commitment to yourself, and your family, to maintain your health as you operate a truck. Stress is also another health issue for owner-operators, especially if you’ve put multiple trucks on the road and you’re driving one too. Find ways to exercise, eat healthier and rest. Find time to spend with your family and have fun.
We’re committed to serving Owner-Operators just like you, assisting with setting up your office in compliance with federal regulations, compiling your bookkeeping records and filing your returns. Contact us today and we’ll get your office in compliance so that you can focus on what matters most – your operations.