Becoming an owner-operator truck driver can be a great way to earn a decent living while working solo. You get to deliver and supply freight to businesses, and you become an important part of several supply chain processes. All the while, you work independently and get the thrill of running your own business.
But before starting a trucking business, there are critical things you must be aware of so you don’t run into pitfalls.
1. Trucking Is a Tough Business
Before rushing off acquiring a truck and delivering goods, you must realize that trucking is an intricately tough business. There’s a lot of work involved, and you would spend most of your time behind the wheel. When you’re done for the day, you want to rest. But then you realize you’re a small business owner, meaning you still need to do your bookkeeping, track, organize, and plan again.
You’d typically need physical strength because of the labor it demands, so you have to be ready for that.
2. Know How You’ll Be Taxed
Being an owner-operator is different from being a company’s driver in how they’re taxed. As a trucking business owner, you don’t have an employer to deduct your taxes from your paycheck. Instead, you get to pay your taxes directly, usually quarterly.
Knowing how you’re taxed is important before starting your trucking business so you know how to save up towards it.
3. Keeping All Business Receipts and Documentation Is Crucial
For an independent truck driver, it is essential that you keep all your business receipts and documentation as that’s the best way to track your earnings and expenses. While waybills and invoices would give insight into your daily earnings, food receipts as you eat along the way can help you track your expenses.
Tracking these documents is critical because you need to save up for quarterly tax and other unfortunate incidents that usually befall truck drivers, such as truck breakdowns.
4. Know That Emergencies Will Come Frequently, So Save Up
One important tip every prospective independent truck driver should know is to have an emergency cash reserve. That’s because rainy days often come around, and owner-operators who fail to save up go out of business.
As someone on the road with a heavy-duty vehicle, know that “of anything can go wrong, it will.”
Have a cash reserve for emergencies such as:
- Truck accidents
- Damage and repairs
- Broker scams
- Tire blowouts, etc.
5. Know You Need Three Professionals
As a trucking company, you are in dire need of a bookkeeper, an attorney, and an insurance agent.
You need to insure your business against sudden losses, such as in accidents, and you can’t always do your accounting yourself. It’s not wise to do so if you don’t want to fall into a financial mess. On the other hand, Truck Accident Lawyer, Michael S. Lamonsoff can help legally protect you from avoidable losses that come with truck accidents.
As a heavy-duty vehicle on the road, the government is often against you when something bad happens. It’s best to have legal support on your side regarding safety & compliance and compensation for damages.
There is so much you’ll get to understand as you begin. One is that trucking is very lucrative. However, you’d also find out your cost per mile after some time. That can help you charge clients properly so that you always know how much profit you’ll make for a given distance.