RFX Blog

5 Tips on How to Be a Great Independent Contractor Trucker

July 20th, 2012

Owner Operator Truckers

Image Source: Flickr/dave_7

Self-employment in the trucking industry can be highly lucrative, whether you’re a long-haul truck driver, regional, truck load or LTL. Before you head to the highways, you need to be prepared. The following list contains key independent contractor trucking tips that will help you become a successful self-employed truck driver.

#1: Assess Your Reasons for Being an Independent Contractor

Do you see more benefits from owning your own truck than using a company truck? There are pros and cons to consider in both company-run and independent contractor trucking. By choosing to be an independent contractor, you get freedom of choice in the hours, routes and loads that you select. Since you won’t be relying on company resources, living as an independent contractor could initially depend on your ability to hustle for loads.

#2: Choose the Best Equipment for Your Operation

In order to maximize your profits as an independent contractor, you should choose an efficient yet affordable truck. You might be craving a shiny blue or red Peterbilt with a giant hotel-like sleeper berth, but performance is always more important than appearance when it comes to your truck. The first things to examine are the weight, fuel economy, horsepower and engine. Remember, the more weight you put into your tractor, the less you’ll be able to fit on the scale, which could translate to less money in your pocket. Look for light-weight features like aluminum cross-members. Bells and whistles should always come second. Ultimately, you’ll want your truck to handle any route you drive with good fuel efficiency.

#3: Keep Your Truck in Optimal Working Condition

Vehicle maintenance is generally more affordable when tune-ups are handled at timely intervals. Some drivers, however, make the costly error of skimping by without maintenance in hopes of saving money. As a responsible independent contractor, you’ll gain better fuel efficiency while keeping repair costs low by having preventative maintenance on a regular basis. The last thing you’ll ever want is to have your truck break down under a load in some remote area due to poor maintenance.

#4: Steer Clear of Troubled Driving Routes

As an independent contractor, you are bound to face your share of traffic jams, but they can seriously be reduced with proper planning. To expedite your routes and save on fuel, you should map the fastest routes in advance of your trips. Equip your truck with a Global Positioning System (GPS) for notifications on traffic, harsh weather and road construction along each route. A GPS can keep you informed of the most efficient routes to each destination.

#5: Select Good Accountants and Insurance Policies

While working as a self employed truck driver, it is easy to get bogged down with paperwork and taxes without the help of an accountant or book keeper who knows the trucking field. You should also run comparisons between various deals on insurance until you find a policy that solidly backs your interests as an independent contractor trucker.

Long routes can feel free and exhilarating, but they can also be tough and demanding on your truck. Choose your equipment wisely, do the proper maintenance and prepare your routes ahead of time to ensure your success as an independent trucker.


Posted on July 20th, 2012 in Independant Contractor Trucking