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Truck driving today is a highly skilled occupation which requires knowledge of the rules and regulations which govern use of a heavy vehicle on the road, how loads are safely transported and, of course, the ability to drive a heavy vehicle which can weigh more than 60 tonnes or be up to 25 metres long safely and competently. These days road freight sector is an essential cog in a sophisticated logistics industry which uses specialised equipment to handle all types of goods, store them if required and deliver them when the customer wants them in perfect condition.So, it’s about more than simply loading and driving a truck. There’s a whole host of opportunities including storage, dispatch, vehicle maintenance, accounts, HR and sales.
If you are thinking about becoming an owner operator in the trucking business, there are several things you ought to consider. It’s a major decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Almost every truck driver, whether a newbie to the trucking scene or a seasoned vet, has at one time or another, dreamed of owning their own big rig, and hitting the road to make the big bucks.Some truckers will simply not work as a company driver. They want the independence, freedom and profits, that comes with being an owner operator.But, there are are many factors to consider and things you should know, before becoming an owner operator and jumping into the money pit, with both feet.
1. You’ll need a mountain of money.
Capital. Your biggest investment is your truck. It’s best to pay a healthy down stroke toward the financing or lease of your rig. If you don’t have the bucks for a down payment, the whole thing might be over before it starts. A substantial down payment will help keep the equipment payments lower and more affordable, and also help you secure the loan.
2. You’ll need a good credit rating.
Good solid credit. A mistake by many want-to-be-owner operators, is getting into the trucking business with bad credit or excessive personal debts. Unfortunately, there’s lots of financing companies that can still get you into a new truck, even with poor credit. However, the future is often very dismal for these truckers. They often lose the truck because their financial situation and spending habits don’t ever change.Your spending habits and money management will largely determine your success as an owner operator.
3. Need accounting, legal & business advisers.
Solid professional advice. Get some sound advice when making a decision to go into business. Just don’t take your cousin’s word for it that there’s lots of money in owning and operating your own truck. What works for one person, may not work for another. Legal and accounting issues are best left for the experts. If you have made the final decision on becoming an owner operator, be sure you have a firm grasp on your personal finance.
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4. Good health, stable health condition is imperative.
Consider your present health. If you have serious health issues now, becoming an owner operator may not be a good choice for you. Being on the road for long periods of time can be an issue for truckers with health issues. Getting medical attention promptly if you have serious medical issues can be a big problem. Even when you’re ill, your equipment payments are still due. Be sure you have enough cash set aside to get you through any unexpected downtime due to illness. Decent health coverage is necessary too, particularly for New Zealander truckers. Travel coverage is also an owner operator expense which can be quite pricey.
5. Be prepared for a long term financial commitment.
Long term financial commitment. You are committing the next number of years to paying for your new investment.
6. Just because you‘re an awesome driver, doesn’t mean you’ll be an awesome owner operator.
Just because you have lots of driving experience, your skills are sharp and you’re a great driver, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily excel at becoming an owner operator. It involves SO MUCH more than driving. You’ll need to be somewhat of a business head too. You are going to be operating a business first and foremost. Be sure you are equipped with the skills to do so, or have the support system to ensure your success.
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