Having your own rig and being your own boss is the ultimate dream for many truck drivers. When you’re the boss, you can set your own schedule. When you’re the boss, you control hauling prices. When you’re the boss, you don’t have to put up with disrespect from your employers, employees, or dispatchers. However, being the boss can also bring with it longer hours, more stress, and all the responsibility if things go wrong. Is being an owner/operator right for you?
Look at Yourself
Be honest. Do you have the drive it takes to work the long hours? Will you do all of the necessary paperwork on time and on a regular basis? Do you have the discipline to do what it takes to make your business a success? Do you enjoy interacting with people? Being your own boss in any industry is hard work and when things go wrong, the buck stops with you. Any company problem is your problem, even if your company is just you and your truck. If there is a breakdown, you’re out of commission and money stops coming in until your truck is back on the road.
Look at Your Home Life
Do you have children? The job can take you away for days at a time, most likely more than it does when you’re working for someone else. Do you have a significant other that can help with responsibilities at home? Are you a single parent or have shared child custody? Having a family without enough support can impact the volume, locations, and types of jobs you’re able to take, which may make it difficult to build up your routes and clientele. Being your own boss may bring you some flexibility with your hours but it’s more likely that you’ll have to put in more hours, especially when starting out.
Look at Your Health
Are you healthy enough to endure the long hours driving a truck? Are you required to take medication that will impede your ability to stay alert on the road? If you’re currently a full-time driver, you should know how you’ll physically handle the job. Life on the road can be unhealthy due to hours of sitting and the abundance of unhealthy food on the road. Staying in shape takes dedication and persistence and is important for your longevity on the job.
Just because you drive a truck doesn’t mean that you need to own your own rig and work for yourself. For many, the responsibility of driving a truck for someone else is enough. When things go wrong, someone else deals with it. Some drivers prefer a regular paycheck and the security that goes along with working for someone else.
How Do You Get Started?
Start with details like what area of the country you’d like to cover, what types of loads you’d like to haul (flatbeds, refrigerated trailers, HAZMAT, etc.) and what type of business you’re registering for. Do you have your own truck? If not, will you be renting or buying? These are added costs to your business that you’ll need to take into consideration. One of the most important aspects of starting your own operation is choosing the right business insurance that not only covers your business but also your truck and the loads you’ll be hauling as well.
Talk to a lawyer and an accountant for legal and tax assistance. Hiring an accountant to handle your books may cost you money but it will allow you more time out on the road doing what you do best. Making a mistake on your taxes can cost money. A good CPA will make sure that all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, that your taxes are well managed and you don’t have a huge bill when tax time rolls around.
Now that you’ve taken the plunge and have leased a truck, registered your business, and have all the appropriate licenses and insurances lined up, where do you turn next?
You need loads. You need an easy-to-use, intuitive load board, like Direct Freight Services. Enter a little information, like your origin location, the type of trailer you carry, and how far you’d like to travel, and Direct Freight will return a list of available loads and relevant information. The number of deadhead miles is also listed so you can make arrangements for a return load to maximize your earnings. With Direct Freight, you can also input the details of your truck so shippers or freight brokers can find you.
If you’re ready to hop into that driver’s seat and be your own boss, check out Direct Freight at www.directfreight.com or call (888)894-4198 and see how Direct Freight can help!