Many truck drivers work directly as employees for already established firms. If this doesn’t appeal and you prefer the idea of going it alone, there are a few things to think about. Here are 5 things to consider when becoming a self-employed truck driver.
When looking for a truck, set a realistic budget first. There is little point in visiting a showroom only to fall in love with a vehicle you can’t afford. Don’t forget to look for used trucks as well as new ones. You may get something that’s only a few years old, but ticks every box and could save you a lot of money. Have your vehicle serviced regularly, and for your safety as well as the safety of others, don’t cut corners when it comes to maintenance.
When you are directly employed, you don’t have to concern yourself with the ins and outs of insurance. When you are working for yourself, you must have insurance. Not only will you need liability insurance to cover you in the event of a claim against you, but you will also need insurance for your vehicle and the goods you are transporting. Shop around for the best price as premiums can vary substantially, and make sure the policies provide the right level of cover to suit every eventuality.
According to injury and accident lawyers, Lamber Goodnow, many truck accidents are caused by the driver being distracted or inattentive. They also suggest that due to the size and weight of these vehicles, accidents can be far more serious than those where a smaller vehicle is involved. Take regular breaks, look after your vehicle, and stay aware at all times. You may have adequate insurance in place, but you never want to be in a situation where you have to make a claim.
If you don’t have a head for figures or aren’t great with paperwork, you may want to consider employing an accountant to file your yearly accounts as well as give you invaluable tax advice. Many costs can be offset against your income, which can save you a lot of money over the financial year.
4. Family Life
If you haven’t done much truck driving before, it’s important to know the impact that it can have on your family life. Long-distance trucking can mean you are away from your family for long periods, and when you are working for yourself you will be less inclined to turn down work.
It can also be a very lonely job at times. Sleeping in your cabin and being on the road overnight can take its toll, so be prepared and know what you are getting into before taking the plunge.
5. Agency or Direct Contracts
Many self-employed truckers get work through agencies, so although they are self-employed, the work comes via an alternative source who charges a fee to the client and pays you a percentage of that fee.
An alternative option is to find customers yourself and work directly for them. This can result in a higher income but will probably mean far more paperwork for you to complete. There’s nothing to stop you using an agency in the first instance and then switching if you feel that direct contracts would bring the best overall results.