The trucking industry is more important than ever, with such a significant portion of the country’s freight shipped overland in trucks rather than other forms of transportation. Experts expect the trucking industry to grow exponentially over the coming years, which means that now is an excellent time to launch your first trucking venture.
Truck drivers are well-positioned to become truck entrepreneurs, as they have firsthand experience in the risks and rewards of the industry which can help them build a more successful enterprise. To help truck drivers make the transition into business ownership, here are a few essential steps in developing a new trucking venture.
Identify a Niche Market in Transportation
The trucking industry as a whole generates hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue every year, indicating that there is plenty of opportunity for new companies to survive and thrive — but the truth is that some markets are much more competitive than others. For example, food trucking and courier trucking are some of the most popular segments of the trucking industry, and it tends to be much more difficult for new companies to acquire a share of these markets because much larger trucking corporations dominate. Rather than trying to muscle into a market that has established competitors, you might put effort toward identifying underserved markets, where your small trucking business can grow and thrive. Your experience as a driver might make recognizing niches easier, especially if you have worked as an owner-operator and have spent time working directly with clients.
Build a Prospective Customer List
Starting from your time as a driver, you can begin taking note of important clients in your niche. These are the customers you will need to target with marketing and sales when you launch your business, so knowing more about their needs and wants will help you cater to them and convince them to convert to your trucking company. Your prospective customer list should be filled with details about each organization — names of contacts, types of products, budget concerns, etc. — which will help you craft competitive bids, even as a brand-new trucking competitor. Once you win a bid, you should go above and beyond to deliver high-quality service, which could build your company’s reputation and improve your chances of winning more contracts into the future.
Secure Diverse and Effective Funding
Whether you are operating a single truck or managing an entire fleet, your trucking company will need funding to stay afloat, at least in the first few years. Despite the lucrative nature of the trucking industry, investors are not always as generous with trucking startups as they tend to be in other, flashier industries like tech. Thus, you may need to be creative with how you acquire business funding, mixing different funding strategies to acquire the capital you need. As early as possible you should become familiar with how to get trucking business loans because financing is an important element of funding in this industry.
Invest in Better Branding
Every business benefits from effective branding. In a competitive industry like trucking, your business brand could be the difference between success and failure. While it might be tempting to save money by creating important elements of your company brand yourself — such as your name, logo, slogan, colors, typography and so on — your knowledge and skill in marketing is likely limited. It is generally worthwhile to invest in professional branding solutions, as experienced branding experts can help you craft a brand for your trucking company that will communicate your services and values to win larger numbers of clients. You can work with freelance brand consultants while your company is young to keep costs low, but you may want to refresh your brand as your trucking empire grows.
Pay Close Attention to Expenses
It might seem like this tip should go without saying, but the truth is that difficulty managing money is the most common cause of business failure. As tempting as it might be to invest in the best available equipment for your trucking business, you need to keep your spending in check, especially while your business is small. Likewise, as you work to make your pricing competitive and attract clients, you should never undercut your profits so severely as to put your business at risk. To successfully make the transition from truck driver to trucking business owner, you need to be an expert at managing your money and reinvesting in your company to help it grow.
You can take advantage of your truck driving experience and capitalize on the outstanding growth opportunities within your industry by building a trucking business of your very own. The sooner you start planning your transition, the sooner you can see success as a trucking entrepreneur.