5 Secrets of the Trucking Industry Every New Owner-Operator Must Know
Being an owner-operator is a fulfilling career path, but it’s also an enormous challenge. With the freedom of being your own boss and the larger paycheck, the perks of success are clear. However, because the trucking industry is so competitive, 85%-90% of startup trucking companies fail. But why? The most common reason boils down to a lack of information.
To help you excel where others have failed, we put together these five secrets to success. Whether you’re already an owner-operator or thinking about starting your own trucking company, these are tips all owner-operators need to know.
5 Owner-Operator Secrets & Tips You Should Know
Running a trucking company is about much more than shipping containers and securing loads. To set you up for success as an owner-operator, our trucking experts compiled a list of five industry secrets to know.
Here’s a quick look at the list:
- Secret 1: Save up at least three months of operating costs to prepare for potential emergencies.
- Secret 2: Ensure strong cash flow by eliminating order processing errors, reducing the time between payment and delivery, and using the right software.
- Secret 3: Bypass weigh stations when possible to save time and money (Drivewyze PreClear can help with this).
- Secret 4: Focus on retaining your best customers.
- Secret 5: Perfect your process and solidify your infrastructure before growing your fleet.
Read on below for more information about each of the five secrets.
Secret 1: Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
The average owner-operator earns up to $220,000/year. However, that figure doesn’t include expenses for fuel, truck purchase/lease, routine maintenance, untimely repairs, insurance, permits, etc.
That said, no trucker can predict financial catastrophe, so it’s best to prepare for the tough times by saving up an emergency fund of at least three months of operating costs. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also ensure your business can sustain itself during the toughest of times.
Secret 2: Ensure the Cash Keeps Flowing
As an owner-operator, cash flow is king. Here are a few ways you can help make sure cash flow isn’t a problem for your business:
- Identify and eliminate order processing errors as soon as possible
- Reduce the time between payment and delivery
- Use the right software to help reduce mistakes and staff/third-party contractors
- Manage your time efficiently
The better you manage your cash flow, the more prepared you’ll be for the inevitable ups and downs of the trucking industry.
Bypass Weigh Stations to Save Time & Money
Speaking of budgeting and cash flow, did you know that one of the biggest (and least considered) financial drains on owner-operators is the time they spend idling at weigh stations? This, among other reasons, is why Drivewyze has introduced the newest version of the PreClear App.
Since 2012, PreClear has helped owner-operators keep their trucks on the mainline, improve retention, and reduce fuel and maintenance costs while improving efficiency. Starting at $179.99 per year (16% annual savings), the latest version of PreClear gives users even more benefits, like:
- Improved ease of use and onboarding
- Free safety notifications, with no credit card required (i.e., congestion ahead, high rollover, use low gear, etc.)
- Owner-operator control over account deletion
Our newest version of the Drivewyze app supports Safety, Bypass, and sets the foundation for future updates and apps. With improved support and scalability, the Drivewyze PreClear app sets itself apart from the competition.
The app is currently available on Android devices but will roll out on iOS in late 2023.
Secret 4: Customer Satisfaction is the Essence of a Successful Business
While the financial aspect is important, customer satisfaction is just as critical to the success of every trucking company. Finding the right customers isn’t easy, but when you do, it’s in your best interest to keep them as happy as possible.
Here are a few tips that can help any new owner-operator retain good customers:
- Offer reasonable rates, but don’t go for clients who just want the cheapest price. Give your clients good value and service without compromising your bottom line or reputation.
- Ensure safe, secure, and on-time transportation. Clients will not do business with truckers who don’t handle their products with care or provide on-time delivery.
- When things go wrong (because they will at some point), take responsibility and go above and beyond to keep your customers happy.
Secret 5: Grow Slow, Grow Strong
You’re a new owner-operator and things are going great. So your next step should be to hire truck drivers and add new trucks, right? Well, not exactly. Depending on the situation, that can be a recipe for disaster.
In many cases, it’s better to perfect your processes, implement the right technologies, and reduce inefficiencies before growing your fleet. That way, you’ll have the right infrastructure in place to attract and keep good drivers while maintaining your reputation in the industry.
The Bottom Line
Learning and implementing these five secrets of the trucking industry can help you thrive in a competitive marketplace for years to come. We don’t want your company to become a statistic of failure. Take advantage of our cutting-edge technology and trust The Drivewyze Difference to bring efficiency to your fleet.