If you’re making the transition to owner-operator trucking, it’s a great way to be in control of your own career and schedule. Unfortunately, new owner-operators often find themselves in uncharted waters and make rookie mistakes.
Here’s a list of the most common first-time owner-operator mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Failing to create and stick to a budget
As an owner-operator, you are also an entrepreneur. In order to be successful, you must run your job like a business — because it is.
That said, make sure you have a detailed list of expenses and create a budget that allows you to see just how much you need to make in order to cover those expenses. You should also create a budget for promoting your trucking services – try incorporating social media in your playbook, as many of your potential customers are now hanging out on sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
2. Neglecting record keeping
As a trucker, you know record keeping is an integral part of the job. As an owner-operator, it becomes even more important. Set up a filing system where you can keep organized records you can easily reference whenever necessary.
If keeping records is not your cuppa tea, consider to hire someone to do the bookkeeping for you. Not only you can easily have a look at the big picture of your finances, you can also use your well-kept records to, say, apply for a loan to grow your trucking career.
3. Not taking care of yourself
You are your most important asset. Proper diet and exercise, as well as getting enough sleep and keeping up on preventative healthcare must be your number one priority. It may be tempting to push yourself but if you can’t drive, you can’t make money. ‘Nuff said.
4. Neglecting truck Maintenance
Your truck is your second most important asset. If it breaks down, so does your cash flow. Maintenance is an owner-operator’s responsibility so make sure you keep your truck in top working condition. Many owner-operators use transport factoring services to pay for hefty repair costs, especially in the early days of their business.
Bonus: Not having insurance coverages
Insurances can be considered as the necessary evil when you’re running a business, especially when you’re the owner-operator. Insuring yourself and your truck may cost you some money, but it gives you the safety net and peace of mind that you need in running your business.
Avoid these mistakes and your career as an owner-operator is much more likely to be a successful one. If you are reading this and you’re an owner-operator yourself, please share your tips and advice for our readers who are interested in following your footsteps.