Maybe you want to be an owner operator for the obvious reasons like the freedom of owning your own rig and making your own transport decisions, or you’re currently an owner operator looking for ways to improve your business. Either way, it takes a patience and a few attitude adjustments and you’ll have to develop a few new habits in order to get the bigger paychecks to roll in. Luckily we have a little advice on how to make it big as an owner operator.
Successful Qualities In Owner Operators
1. Realize Your Value
Right out of the gate you have the realize that people will pay you for your value. You’ll earn as much as you’re worth, so it’s not good to get cocky and lazy. Assuming that your work is worth more than it is won’t get you anywhere. Instead, you have to put in the time and build quality relationships.
You will have to put in more hours. If you’re already working overtime, unfortunately, you may have to squeeze in even more hours on the road. Your weekend life may become a little nonexistent for a while in order to establish yourself. Also, keep in mind that more hours on the road, means more time away from home, so it’s best to be in a position where your pets and family understand why you’re around less.
With more freedom comes more responsibility. You have to make the calls, schedule dispatches, file all of the paperwork, and more. You also can’t assume that other people will fill out paperwork on time or correctly. Be sure to check in on them and go over their work.
2. Be Practical With Income
The thrill of a bigger paycheck is extremely exciting. It gets you thinking about all the stuff you could buy, like a lift kit for your wrangler or maybe even the down payment for a pool in your backyard. However, you have to wait before spending money on yourself, because there are bumps in the road.
There will be months where business is slow, your truck will need work done, you could catch an illness that makes you unable to drive for a few days, and you could be apart of an accident. We can’t predict the future, but we do know that some days you’re the windshield and some days you’re the bug. So, make sure you have money set aside to cover emergencies.
When it comes to your truck a warranty can help, but they don’t usually cover everything. Take care of your truck. Keep it clean, take it for regular maintenance and tune-ups. Don’t push those oil changes off! Your truck is your expensive tool, it’s not a toy. It’s best to get the total value out of it so you don’t have to face the high costs of getting a new one.
3. Market Yourself
People won’t magically come to you, you have to make yourself available, and you have to find them. Then build long-lasting relationships with them. Building a longterm relationship with a carrier will bring in more business on a regular basis. You don’t want to have to go hunting for more work every month.
However, not every carrier is the right carrier. Some cut corners and have bad practices. Research everything you can about your options as far as their rates, costs, customer records, safety records, internal relationships, and more.
Take advantage of the internet. Have a site for your business built and spread yourself all across social media and trucking boards. Create a LinkedIn profile and place ads on Craigslist that include your resume. Make it possible for anyone looking for an owner operator to find you. Also, establishing a web presence could lead you to lifelong networking opportunities to keep your business afloat for as long as you can keep on trucking.
Being an owner operator is expensive. Be sure to total in the costs of gas, meals, truck insurance, cargo insurance, tax fees, truck payments, and more. If you like getting breaks on a few of these expenses maybe you should stick to being a company driver.
4. Be Patient
Stay calm, and keep driving. It takes a long time to become a successful owner operator, we’re talking months to years. On average, an owner operator takes home about 40k during their first year, and that’s if they work extremely hard.
You need to slow down and be a planner. Make meetings with financial advisors to get a business plan together. Take the time to consider all the options when buying a truck, between new, used, or leasing.
Heck, take a step back to think about if you truly want to be an owner operator. Seek out other owner operators and ask them for advice on how to get started and what it really takes.
Do You Have What It Takes?
As long as your patient, realistic, ready to put in extra work, and make financially smart decisions you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful owner operator. For more trucking tips visit ExpressTruckTax.com, and be sure to comment on what it takes to be a successful owner operator in the comment section below.