If you’re a truckie, chances are you’re feeling the pinch.
A recent study has shown that almost 24% of truck drivers are finding it hard to make ends meet. That’s one in four workers in the transport, postal, and warehousing sector who are experiencing money woes. And for an industry that’s actually growing, it doesn’t have to be that way.
Over the past five years the trucking industry annual growth rate has been 2.4%, with industry revenue predicted to keep growing at a rate of 2.9% over the coming years to reach $60.2 billion in 2020. To be involved in the industry is a massive opportunity to make great money.
Breaking free of the large companies is a good start. But for many, the prospect of becoming self-employed looms like an impossible goal. Here are our top five tips for turning that goal into a reality.
#1: Create a business plan
All successful small businesses start with research and planning, and a trucking business is no different. As a worker likely already in the industry, you’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about branching out and starting your own business. Now it’s time to write down all your good ideas.
Putting a plan on paper provides you with direction and allows you to focus your resources and energy on exactly what needs doing. A business plan is also evidence for investors or creditors that you are serious about the business, have done the sums, and the operation is likely to be profitable.
#2: Sort out your business structure
How your business is structured – sole trader, company or trust – is an important decision as it determines the amount of tax your business will need to pay. For example, a sole trader will pay up to 49% tax and cannot distribute income to other entities like a spouse; whereas companies pay a tax rate as a company is 28.5%.
#3: Find a numbers whizz
The planning stage of your business is a good time to find an accountant who specialises in small business. They can explain the pros and cons of each business structure and the tax implications. Having a good accountant on board from the start can make you feel more comfortable and ensure your business is legally and taxation compliant.
#4: Secure the finance
Owner-drivers rarely have the cash to buy a truck upfront. Even if you do, it is wiser to finance it through a third party so you have cash on hand to cover your operating costs. From chattel mortgages to hire purchasing, there are plenty of ways to go about this. Weigh up your options with your accountant.
#5: Get truckin’, and find the work!
As your network expands and you build up a reputation as an honest and reliable owner–driver, you should find it easier to get work.
One avenue of finding work is to contact load or freight brokers who arrange deals between shippers and as with most industries, the more people you know in the trucking industry, the better your chances of finding work! Or you can try directly via online loading boards.
Of course, starting your own small business takes an element of a risk, and a lot of hard work. But when you’re working for yourself, all that hard work goes straight into your pocket.