Interstate Commerce can be one of the most lucrative and rewarding industries if one wishes to start his/her own fleet business. Trucking can pay off excellent dividends and generate a great ROI. This business can be a great option for experienced drivers, who now want to transition from the cab to managing their own fleet.
The average truck driver makes almost $63,000 a year, while an owner operator makes around $185,000 a year. That’s almost triple the amount of what you can potentially earn if you manage your own fleet and are good at it. But how will you do it?
Starting a new business in any industry requires meticulous research and a sound knowledge of the industry’s inner workings. You must rely on the knowledge that you gained while working in that industry. For a driver, the main USP is his/her experience from years of driving. No one knows better about a truck than the driver himself but transitioning from that role to that of a fleet manager will require some further knowledge about the intricacies of running a fleet. Here is a guideline towards gaining that very knowledge to help you transition from your role as a truck driver to having your own fleet:
Owning a Truck:
For an average trucker looking forward to having his own business, the first point is to assemble a fleet together. There are two options available for the trucker, either buy the truck outright or have it leased and then pay it off subsequently as you earn.
The average truck can set you back anywhere from around $40,000 to $200,000, depending on your preferences and the model you acquire. With popular e-commerce sites, finding the best deals on new and used trucks has become a lot easier. But the main cost which you need to account for comes in the form of operating expenses, which, on average, are $180,000 per year and include everything from tire replacements, to oil changes, to driver’s salaries, to fuel expenses.
The best way you can earn a lot of money and lower your expenses is to try and generate a larger fleet, if possible, or gradually grow your number of trucks so that you can spread your expenses over a wider field and experience more in profits.
Understanding the Industry:
Before starting your own truck fleet operations, you need to know and understand the main issues facing the industry currently and if there are any new changes on the horizon, and then try and account for them.
One of the most prominent problems plaguing the industry is the issue of driver shortage. There are a total of 48,000 vacant driver positions in the US currently and the shortage is only expected to grow to a staggering 170,000 vacant positions by 2025.
You are a driver yourself and you can understand the plight of the workers more than anyone else. The average age of the American Truck driver is 49 and the hard working conditions along with low innovations make this a hard recruiting ground to attract and retain younger talent. So you would need to make sure that you don’t just have a fleet of trucks but have a loyal fleet of truckers as well to make growth possible.
You can adopt better recruitment strategies and provide your truckers with a better working environment with flexible working schedules than you were provided.
The Tech Role:
In the past decade, tech has gone on to become a major player in the trucking arena and has led towards some great improvements and aids to help the industry on a large scale, allowing it to perform better. You need to understand these changes and make use of them to stay ahead of the curve.
From navigational apps to free roadside assistance programs and now even the federally mandated ELD program, not only can being tech friendly help you in managing your fleet but also allow you to increase your profitability by optimizing your resources.
One trend you need to look out for is the arena for driverless trucks. Even if they don’t turn fully autonomous (and they won’t anytime soon) they will definitely be a major disruptor in the years to come, bringing down operating, insurance and safety costs while optimizing more resources. They will make you clock more miles and act as a co-pilot does on commercial aircrafts. The productivity can be great and you need to be on the lookout for any innovations that might be of value for managing your fleet better.
Owning your own business is always a great thing as you are now on your personally defined path towards growth and there is no subsequent limit on how much you can take out of it. It’s all a matter of grit, determination and a willingness to transition from the steering wheel to the owner of your own fleet and destiny.