When you have decided, as a truck driver, that you will work for yourself, you may feel excited at the prospect of possibly taking more money home each year. However, if you would like to maximize your earnings, there are several things that you must do.
Understand the Challenges
Becoming an owner-operator can be very lucrative. However, there are also challenges that are unique to this approach. You will need to know how to operate your own business. You will be taking on a greater number of responsibilities, so you will be left with less free time. You may have to spend more time away from home because you will be running a business in which you are the only employee. You will also need to think ahead and budget for a month worth of expenses. If you are able to do all of these things, there are many ways you can have a very lucrative career as an owner-operator.
Build Long-Term Relationships with Carriers
One of the keys to generating a profit as an owner-operator is to build long-term relationships with carriers. If you find that you are jumping from carrier to carrier, this is a sign that you are not performing enough research before you sign on with a carrier. The process of transferring from one carrier to another carrier can cost money. Try to choose clients who are in an industry that is booming. Also, pay attention to the turnover of the carriers you are interested in working with. If a carrier has high turnover, there is usually a good reason that you do not want to find out about the hard way.
Have an Emergency Fund
If you haven't done this already, you should focus on building an emergency fund. You may experience slow periods, and you will need at least six months of operating expenses in savings to be able to hold your business over until things pick up. When you have used your emergency fund, and work picks up, you will need to reduce your expenses until you are able to replenish your emergency fund.
Talk to Other Drivers
Spend time talking to other drivers so you can get a sense of what is out there. For example, talk to other drivers to find out which companies are made of owner-operators. Building a network of fellow drivers will ensure that you do not miss out on lucrative opportunities.