It’s empowering to become your own boss, do things your way and be responsible for your business. However, being an owner-driver is not without its pitfalls so we’ve compiled a few tips to help you stay ahead of the pack and become your own best business asset.
1. Stay up to date
Be aware of the business environment you operate in. At any given time there may be a change in regulation or new law passed that can affect you, such as vehicle regulations, pay rate regulations and even changes in road rules. Signing up to industry news subscriptions and remaining alert for announcements on road transport and legislation changes will help you function more efficiently in an ever-changing landscape.
2. Minimise your downtime
Keeping your business on the road is crucial for success and you are responsible for maximising every hour within the working day. Plan for any possible outcomes and follow the ‘5 P rule’ – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Staying on top of servicing, using genuine parts and not putting off any maintenance will also contribute to the profitability of your business.
3. Manage your cash flow
Allocating funds can sometime be overwhelming. Even if your servicing costs are capped and any franchising fees are set in stone, costs such as insurance, fuel and other overheads can fluctuate and add unplanned expense. It’s highly advisable that all these expenditures, planned and unplanned, are tracked. Even if you are not the best at accounting, developing a budget tracking document allows you to predict, monitor and track your finances to avoid any nasty surprises.
4. Sometimes you don’t need the best to be your best
A common mistake many owner drivers make in their early years of operation is the over-speccing of their trucks. While you should always factor in some flexibility in case you need to go that bit further with your truck, you also need to be realistic about your needs. Some ‘nice-to-haves’ might go to waste under your ownership and only come in handy for whoever might buy your truck later – not to mention the unnecessary over-capitalisation for your business. Be sure to consult with your sales person on which chassis, body and attachments will suit your needs.
5. If it’s seen, keep it clean!
While it’s true that first impressions last, lasting impressions count for more. Even if you make the world’s greatest initial impression on your clients, a dirty and poorly maintained vehicle looks unprofessional and will stick in their minds. Keeping your truck clean and investing in repairs will help clients respond more positively towards you and help build a better rapport with them. As we like to say, ‘if it’s seen, keep it clean!’.