If you've spent several years working as a truck driver for a transportation company, you may be interested in the prospect of purchasing your own semi truck and becoming an owner operator. As an owner operator, you will work as an independent contractor and choose which companies you would like to provide driving and hauling services for. While there are many benefits to being an owner operator, it is not something that you can jump into on a whim. Use the following tips to help you successfully transition into the role of owner operator:
Create a Business Plan and Budget
As an owner operator, you will be running a business, so it is important to have a solid business plan and budget if you want to succeed. A business plan will be essential when you need to secure financing to get your business off the ground.
When creating a budget, make sure you include the monthly payments for your semi truck, truck insurance, fuel, and the cost of regular maintenance of your truck. You also need to consider the costs of other business expenses, such as cell phone bills, administrative expenses, and accounting. Don't forget to budget for unexpected repairs that you may need to make on your semi truck as well.
Choose Your Semi Truck Wisely
When you're first starting out as an owner operator, it is typically a good idea to purchase a quality used semi truck. Many people recommend buying from a reputable used semi truck dealer, as they are known for selling trucks that are in good condition and often offer a limited warranty.
Take your time when purchasing a used semi truck-- you're making a large financial investment, so you want to purchase a big rig that meets your needs and will last several years. Before buying a semi truck, make sure you examine it carefully for rust. A little bit of rust on a body panel or a small part is okay, since these things can easily be replaced. But any signs of rust on the frame or the axles can be a red flag that the truck is on its last legs. You may want to invest in having a fluid analysis done, as the condition of the oil and transmission fluid can tell you a lot about any potential problems the truck may have.
Hire a Good Accountant
As an owner operator, it is essential to hire a good accountant, ideally one who has experience in the trucking industry. Your accountant will be able to make sure that deductions are maximized and all taxes are paid on time. A good accountant can also help you maintain your budget and increase cash flow so you can build your business.