One of the many juxtapositions in life is that to earn more money you need to have experience, but it’s hard to get experience if you can’t make money. Being an owner operator in the trucking industry is no exception. Your rate per mile will be higher once you prove that you are a dependable driver, as well as after you get all of your initial start-up costs out of the way.
What might seem like a simple question is actually loaded down with several factors. Generally speaking, you can start out with an average of $0.29 cents a mile when you first start driving and work up to around $0.45 after a few years of experience under your belt. These averages will also vary depending on what kind of freight you haul as well as where you are located. Finding where you will fall in this mix starts by writing down all of your fixed and variable expenses so that you can begin to determine how profitable you can make your trucking business.
Starting with your fixed expenses, or the ones that typically don’t fluctuate each month is where you get the baseline for your budget. Some of your fixed expenses include the following.
● Truck/Trailer Payments: There is going to be a wide range of prices available when purchasing your units, but if you are first starting out it is vital that you pick quality equipment, but not so excessive that you have to work just to make the payments each month.
● Insurance: You will need to carry the proper limits for Liability and Cargo insurance for your authority, and unlike company drivers, you will also need to factor in your personal health insurance expenses as well.
● Permits/Licensing Fees: If you are first starting your authority you will have quite a bit of expense in this category. Once you are an established business, maintaining will not cost as much each year. Finding a good permit agent would be a smart investment as they will know what kind of special permits you will need depending on where you will be traveling. Fines and tickets can add up quickly if you travel through an area without the proper permits and paperwork.
● Phone: If you are setting up loads with shippers, and consistently talking to brokers you are going to want to have a phone that you can rely on. Finding the right network that you can get both quality and the best price will take some research, but it is possible. You don’t want to miss a load because of poor cell service.