Some owner operators fail, that’s just a plain fact. Sure, some guys make it and bring home the bigger paychecks, but most truckers fail. Becoming an owner operator involves a lot of risks and precise planning, and they guys who don’t make it, usually don’t due to reasons that can easily be avoided.
Mistakes Made By Owner Operators
The owner operators who fail are generally too big for their britches. They think they can do everything themselves. Even though it’s true that will start out doing the majority of work yourself, it’s best to get the advice of a financial advisor or an accountant to figure out the best plan for your business before jumping in. A man with a plan is generally smarter than the guy without one.
Plus, you shouldn’t be too shy or prideful to ask for advice. Successful owner operators probably know a few tips and techniques about the business that you haven’t heard about before. Why not ask them a few questions to see if they can help you climb up the ladder?
Eventually, as your business grows you’ll get to hire employees! Instead of doing everything yourself, that you probably won’t even have time for, it will be best to hand things off to your trusted team.
2. Speaking of time, a lot of owner operators who fail simply didn’t consider the amount of time the job requires. You’ll be gone a lot more. If you don’t want to drive extra overtime hours and want to be around for more school plays and baseball games then you might want to stick to driving for a carrier.
A lot of owner operators fail to think about the strain it will put on their family when they’ll be gone more, and relationships are tested. Be sure to speak with your partner about being gone more and how to stay in communication with them. This way you won’t end up like the people who had to choose between their new business venture or their relationship.
3. A quick way to find yourself up the creek without a paddle is by not making a budget. If you live paycheck to paycheck you could quickly end up on missing some bills or not having enough cash to pay for dinner. Know how much you’re spending on fuel, insurance bills, your truck, and more a month, so you’ll know how much to set aside for your meals, personal pay, and more. Tracking software like TruckLogics can help you keep up with all of your finances.
Also, a lot of the time new owner operators don’t set aside any money for emergencies, and that’s just not good because things happen. Trucks break down and you’ll need to be able to pay for the repair. If your insurance will cover the repair you’ll still need money to float you by while it’s in the shop.
Keep in mind that being an owner operator isn’t the fast way to success. It takes months and maybe even years to build yourself up as a reputable owner operator who brings in the big bucks, and even then some months are just slow. Always keep an emergency fund set aside for the slow periods.
4. Some people just buy the wrong truck. They get a brand new truck up front that’s all shiny and awesome, but then crumble when they aren’t bringing in enough cash to pay for the bills that come with it.
They don’t explore all their truck options. For example, leasing generally comes with no down payment and lower monthly rates, so it can help owner operators get started in the beginning. Although, at the end of the agreement if you don’t lease to own you won’t have your own truck to trade in towards getting a new one.
If you want to own your own truck avoid getting a lemon. Lemons are new, cheap trucks that don’t have a good turnover rate. You’ll want a truck you can quickly sell to make some of your money back with, in case you find out that owner operating isn’t for you.
Older trucks that are built sturdier are often more fun to drive and have higher turnover rates. They can be great to start out with until you grow your company enough to comfortably buy a new truck.
5. Owner operators who fail are low maintenance. They don’t take care of themselves. They cut corners and drive even if they haven’t gotten enough sleep. Some truckers don’t take their personal health into account and constantly get terrible options from fast food chains, smokes, and don’t even think about making an effort to work out. You have to be healthy and full of energy to put in the time and work that being an owner operator requires.
They also don’t take the time to maintain their trucks. Skipping out on regular maintenance like oil changes and changing your brake pads can wear out your rig pretty quickly. You have to take the steps to winterize your truck, tune it up, check all the fluid levels, and more in order to squeeze all of its value out of it.
You can make it as an owner operator, we believe in you. Just make sure you don’t make simple mistakes that can easily be avoided. Make a plan for your business, ask the experts and tell your family what you’re up to. Be financially responsible and know where your money is going. Also, don’t forget to take care of your truck and yourself.
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