When searching for a profitable business venture that’s not going to disappear, one of the top options is to go into the trucking industry. From transporting materials to manufacturers to eCommerce orders, logistics are the glue that holds together the economy.
This is particularly the case in the United States. Research reveals trucks are used to transport almost 70% of goods across the country.
However, due to how lucrative and necessary trucking businesses are, it does throw up one issue: competitiveness. There are many fleets already in action, which means trying to make your mark – and turning over a healthy profit – is a difficult task.
Yet it’s not impossible.
To become a successful business owner in the trucking industry, here are six steps that will take you in the right direction.
Step #1: Find your niche
Before anything else, it’s important to find a specific segment of the market you can target. While the dream might be to target a general customer base, this isn’t possible – at least not from the start. The competition from large carriers, ones that have been in the game for years and years, means trying to get a foothold is almost impossible.
Due to this, a rule of thumb for new trucking companies is to zone in on niches that the big boys avoid. There are numerous reasons to haul specialized loads – the biggest, of course, being there’s less competition for jobs.
Below is a list of specialized loads you may consider for your trucking company:
- Motorized vehicles
- Fresh produce
Just remember that, for certain niches, you have to alter your vehicles to suit the materials. For example, if you’re transporting fresh meat across the country, the trucks will need to be suitably refrigerated to avoid the products spoiling.
Step #2: Produce a business plan
Even if you’re starting small with your trucking company, you’ll still need to acquire a hefty amount of funds to get everything moving. Trucks are not cheap. You’re unlikely to have enough money in your bank account to buy everything. As a result, you’ll have to produce an in-depth business plan in the search for a loan.
A business plan isn’t simply the key to unlocking the funding vault. It is also the foundation for your market research. With the right data-driven strategy in place, you can be confident in going forward with your business strategy. It can help you with the following points:
- The type of vehicles and equipment required
- The number of vehicles necessary
- The types of freights and loads you will transport
- Your location and where you’ll transport hauls to
- Your main competitors, including their strengths and weaknesses
- The customer base you plan to target
With this roadmap and the clarity it provides, you are on the right track toward beginning a successful trucking business.
Step #3: Utilize the right technology
Efficiency is the key to running a successful trucking company. You don’t want to be traveling unnecessary distances or getting stuck in traffic. Not only can this lead to dissatisfied customers, but it can also be a drain on your fuel expenses. The good news: there is technology available to ensure your fleets are performing optimally and with sustainability in mind.
When you think about technology in the trucking industry, your mind will instantly go towards GPS systems that track your fleets on their journeys. While this type of logistics system is a solid starting point, it also shouldn’t be the end of your venture into trucking-related technology.
As demonstrated by TruckLabs, continual innovations have helped to further optimize performance. Their TruckWings system, which is used to reduce the gap between the trailer and cab, helps with everything from improved handling to fuel savings. With TripDynamics, real-world complications like traffic and weather are accounted for in realtime, supplying transparent information to optimize performance and delivery times.
Step #4: Keep your trucks running smoothly
It goes without saying but your trucks are the most important assets for your business. If they’re not up and running, your business isn’t up and running. Because of this, fleet maintenance should be of the utmost importance.
Simply put, if your trucks are unreliable and require constant repairs, this is going to lead to additional expenses and frequent delays. When your trucks are in substandard condition, not even the best drivers will be able to keep them on the road.
Regular inspections should be a priority. This will help to prevent costly repairs from dropping on you unexpectedly. You should also only use reputable dealers when purchasing truck parts.
Step #5: Build your brand presence
Every business has to take the time to build up its brand presence. With the internet, it’s easier than ever to get this started. You can visit a freelance website and get a professional logo designed. You can reach out to a design agency to put together a slick, modern website. A marketing company can put together a digital advertising strategy to promote your business.
The list goes on and on.
With this type of assistance, you can get your business on the map within a matter of days. This type of visibility is key in getting the attention of those who want to use your services.
Step #6: Actively search for loads
A strong brand will help with attracting interest from potential clients. However, when you are just starting a trucking business, you’re unlikely to be in a position where you are so busy you can turn away customers. In fact, it’s likely to be the opposite.
This is why it makes sense to be proactive and search for job opportunities. The good news is there are load boards available that make this task an easy one. One such example is found in the form of Shiply. All you have to do is look at the load board for available jobs in your vicinity and bid for them.
Not only is this a great way to fill in gaps during any lean periods, but it’s also a way to build fruitful relationships with clients.