So, you’re thinking about becoming an owner operator and cutting ties with your dumb jerk of a manager for the freedom of the open road in your own truck? Well, at least you’re doing one thing right, by putting some actual thought into it. It’s a big step and can sink your finances pretty quickly if you make the wrong moves. Let us help you out by sharing some tips about rookie mistakes to avoid.
They Don’t Run The Numbers
New owner operators will crash and burn pretty quickly if they don’t consider the costs it will take to keep themselves afloat. While you’re barreling down the road in a company truck look at all of the miles and consider the cost of gas, the cost of food, maintenance costs, repairs, and more.
Plus, can you take on more monthly payments? Part of being an owner operator is owning your own rig, and they’re expensive. You’ll also have to get insurance for your rig, and for yourself, adding two more monthly bills.
Don’t forget that hours also add up. Can you handle the longer routes? Are you prepared for overtime? Will your family understand the increase in the amount of time that you’re gone on the road?
Rookies Don’t Save Money
Part of the pull of being an owner operator is having more money in your pocket, but you can’t just throw your hard earned money at a brand new bike or a fancy car. You need an emergency fund because accidents and surprises happen.
Business could get slow and you’ll need your emergency fund to pay the bills or your employees before they bail and your entire operation falls apart. Plus, we know you’ve seen your fair share of wrecks, what happens if your truck gets involved? Can you cover the major repair costs? Will your business sink if you’re without your truck for a month or more for repairs?
New Guys Waste Down Time
New guys like to take breaks. They don’t take advantage of downtime to plan and prep for their next drop offs, pick ups or loads. When you’re hanging out at a dock during an unload it’s tempting to catch up on phone games like Clash of Clans or browse social media, but you could be cleaning or maintaining your truck.
Doing simple tasks during your down time will save you time during your days off. Clear out your fast food trash, attend to spills, and clean up sticky messes to keep your cab neat and clean. Put on your oil suit and go under the cab for a little maintenance. Plan out your next route, complete with food stops. It only takes a little less goofing off to be an efficient planner for your business.
Tenderfoots Buy New Trucks
Now a big part of being an owner operator is choosing your truck. You get to pick it with all of its glory. New guys often go for a brand spanking new rig with all the bells and whistles. They don’t consider the big monthly payments and insurance costs that come with new trucks.
Starting off in a used truck helps you squirrel away a lot of money with cheaper down payments and cheaper monthly rates. Plus, if you discover that being an owner operator isn’t your thing then used trucks often have a better turn around rates for your wallet. When the time is right and your finances are in order you can upgrade to a brand new truck.
They Skip Out on Regular Maintenance
Maybe your used rig isn’t the best, but it’s yours. You’ll love it as your firstborn. Why make unnecessary costs of upgrading to a new truck too soon? Get the most miles out of your truck by getting in the habit of doing routine maintenance. Get the tires rotated, get the oil changed, replace the bests and spark plugs so your rig can keep on trucking.
You’ll actually be surprised by how good you’ll feel by sticking to deadlines instead of taking the lazy day out and driving extra miles in between oil changes.
Is It Time To Become An Owner Operator?
Are you ready to take the leap to advance your trucking career? Are you ready for your own truck on the road, without sticking to annoying company policies? Are you financially set to launch your new adventure? If so, then go for it! Just make sure you’ve thought the costs and risks through and have a solid plan.
If you have rookie mistakes to add to our list be sure to comment in the section below. Also, check back with ExpressTruckTax.com for more trucking tips.
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