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Now’s the Time to Get Into Trucking: America Facing Trucking Shortage

Now's the Time to Get Into Trucking: America Facing Trucking Shortage

If you are you considering a career in trucking, this could be the perfect time to lay out a plan and put it into action, because trucking industry opportunities have never been better.

The U.S. trucking industry offers excellent career opportunities. The challenging nature of the profession and the exponential growth of online shopping in lieu of trips to the mall means that new job openings are plentiful. The current driver shortage also makes it likely for the average truck driver’s salary to rise significantly during the next several years.

Below you will find a pre-launch checklist that talks about what you’ll need to have before you get started and some of the questions you’ll need to answer. In addition, we have included some helpful resources that can help you get your new career in the trucking industry off to a fast start.

Trucking Career Pre-Launch Checklist

  1. Who Will You Work For?

One of the most important decisions to consider before starting a career in the trucking industry is whether you plan to work as an independent owner-operator (perhaps with the goal of expanding your own trucking fleet) or you would prefer to work for an established company. Each has its own pros and cons.

Working for a trucking company or a large corporation with its own logistics and trucks could be a great way to test the waters to see if you enjoy truck driving before committing to starting your own fleet. For the purposes of this article, we will assume that you want to start your own independent trucking operation.

  1. What Do You Need to Start?

State and federal requirements will vary depending on what type of vehicles you will be operating for both driver licensing, vehicle registration and insurance, and whether you will be transporting goods across national borders. You will find the federal regulations issued by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association) and links to registration here. In addition, the US Government offers several resources for starting a business, including information you will need to know to file your trucking business taxes.

  1. What Will You Drive?

Deciding what type of commercial truck and trailer to purchase will determine to a great extent what types of freight you will be able to haul. Choosing what type of vehicles to use to start your trucking fleet may require that you obtain financing, which, in turn, will influence what type of rates you will need to charge to be profitable. While many business owners discount pricing to attract new customers, it’s important to know how low you can go so that you avoid offering rates that won’t sustain your business.

  1. How Much Will You Charge?

Ultimately, the rates you charge to haul freight must be sufficient to offset your operating costs and provide you with a salary. Some of the operating costs your business model will have to account for include things like:

  • Financing payments on semi-trucks and trailers
  • Cost of insurance
  • Cost of licensing and renewals
  • Payroll and salaries
  • Fuel, tolls, and vehicle maintenance and repair expenses
  • Cost of food, lodging, internet, long-distance, mobile phone and other on-road expenses
  • Cost of equipment, such as cell phones, computers, emergency equipment, furnishings and other items purchased for use as part of your trucking business

In addition, you may also plan to grow your trucking business in the future; setting rates that provide money that can be saved for future use to grow your trucking company or meet unexpected cost is also important.

  1. What Should You Expect?

If you haven’t work as a truck driver in the past, it’s highly likely that you will encounter many unforeseen situations once you get on the road. You can educate yourself before starting a career in the trucking industry by connecting with people who are already working in the industry to ask questions, get advice and discover trucking industry resources that can help you along the way.

While you can reach out to truck drivers personally for more information, you can also get first-hand information from online trucking industry forums on sites like reddit.com and by joining groups on social networks, such as the Small Motor Carriers Business Community or the Women in Trucking Association. Since LinkedIn is also a great place to connect to discover jobs in trucking or promote your trucking business, getting involved in groups on the site can be a big plus.

There are also several online publications for truckers that will help you stay abreast of topics like rule changes, emerging legislation and even practical day-to-day matters like where the worst traffic chokepoints are or which states offer the best parking for big rigs. Overdriveonline.com is a great resource for getting trucking news and exploring topics that can help you improve your trucking business operations, manage expenses and stay on top of state and federal regulations.

The future of the U.S. trucking industry is bright, making it a great option for people considering a career in the trucking industry. Your answers to these questions can make it easier for you to launch a trucking company and get its growth off to a fast start.

What about you? We would love to hear from people in the trucking industry! What one piece of advice would you give to people who are thinking about a career as a truck driver? Leave your comment below or tweet your answers to us at @KabbageInc.

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Kabbage Team

The Kabbage Team is here to not only fund the small business loans you need, but to help you grow your business through free marketing tips, webinars, tools and more. Is there something you'd like us to cover or want to get your small business featured on our blog? Send us a note at content@kabbage.com.

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