Owner-operator truckers not only have to be capable of driving their trucks but they also have to possess a number of skills when it comes to managing a business. If you plan on becoming an owner-operator, remember that being one means having a lot of responsibility that standard commercial drivers do not have to worry about. Record-keeping, repairs, fuel, maintenance, freight rate negotiations and locating the freight that needs to be shipped are just some of the things an owner-operator needs to manage, things like his owner operator pay.
As an independent owner-operator, one of your most time-consuming and troublesome tasks will be record-keeping. Proper record-keeping is a basic requirement for being DOT compliant. For this matter, you must ensure that you are properly prepared for a DOT safety audit of your trucking endeavor at any time.
Simple record keeping
To make the book-keeping task somewhat simpler, you can rely on a number of trucking management software suites and programs. A reliable trucking software will allow you to easily and accurately track your expenses and incomes, freight shippers, maintenance and freight brokers. It can even help you with the taxes, as well. This kind of a software will also allow you to quickly locate and access past hauling and shipping jobs and their rates, so as to make a more informed decision on a current hauling job.
Next up, let’s focus on the insurance. Once a commercial trucker gets his/her truck insurance, paying that insurance rate each month becomes very simple because he/she doesn’t have to think about anything else. Insurance rates are prone to changing, and while insurance companies are usually quick at notifying policy holders in regards to any increases, they usually do not send out notifications in regards to any reductions. Remember that trucking companies, such as the Status Transportation Corporation, will inform their own truckers about these, but there will be no one to inform you.
An owner-operator needs to check with his/her insurance company at least once a year and ask about any insurance rate reductions. The driving record, the driver’s experience, as well as his/her age, are all taken into consideration. Once a particular set milestone is reached, these factors can lead to a reduction of the insurance rate. When looking for a better insurance deal, keep in mind that it would be a good idea to shop around for lower insurance rates, from time to time.
Proper truck maintenance is one of the critical aspects of any truck hauling endeavor. Remember that your truck will serve both as your home and your office. If you find yourself with a simple flat tire, a hundred miles away from the nearest service station, you will not only suffer financially, but it will also take your precious time away from being on the road. A thorough and highly detailed inspection before each trip, both short and long-distance, should be one of your top priorities, as it can end up saving a lot of your valuable time and money.
Also, make sure that your truck goes through regular maintenance at all appropriate hours or miles. Many owner-operator truckers usually neglect the small things, which can usually lead to big problems. Trying to contend with all the information and bookkeeping, while trying to haul as much freight as possible, usually, leaves very little time for maintenance and other important business aspects. However, always keep in mind that proper and thorough maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in the long run, as well as keep you from failing an unexpected DOT inspection.