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How To Make Money Owning A Semi Truck
June 20, 2022
How to make money owning a semi truck- it’s easier than it sounds, if you know what you’re doing. A lot of people buy their semi truck without first stopping to plan how they’ll actually make money from it, and that’s a huge a mistake.
Owning a semi truck can be very profitable, or it can be a financial disaster. We’re here to make sure you know how to make it profitable. We’ll cover how to make money owning a semi truck, and not just by driving it. Driving and hauling freight aren’t the only ways to use your truck to earn cash.
How To Make Money Owning A Semi Truck: Have a Plan
If you’re going to own a semi truck you have to approach it as a business, not just a purchase. Buying a semi truck isn’t like buying a really big car- you’re starting a small business. That means that you need to have a clear plan.
Understand Your Business
You need to have a thorough understanding of how your business is going to work. That means you need to know what your cost per mile will be, since that’s the amount that will determine what your revenue per mile needs to be.
In other words, you need to know how much you’ll have to pay for each mile your truck drives so that you know how much you need to earn for each mile your truck drives. Otherwise you’ll have no idea how much money you need to charge for your services. You could very quickly wind up in financial trouble.
Have a Business Plan
Knowing your costs is just the first step. You need to have a plan for how to make money owning a semi truck. If you know how much money you need to earn, you then have to plan out how you’ll actually do that. That means figuring out things like: who’s going to drive the truck, you or an employee? What kind of freight will you haul? Where will you look for work?
You’ll also need to decide who’s going to handle the back end side of the business- all the bookkeeping, especially. You can do it yourself if you have the time, but you might end up making more money if you hire a CPA to do it.
Have an Emergency Fund
Accidents happen, and things break. Unexpected maintenance on your truck can be a killer. One of the best tips for how to make money owning a semi truck is to have an emergency fund with enough money in it to cover three to six months of operating expenses. That way when your truck is down for maintenance you won’t go into debt. One key to how to make money owning a semi truck is to have cash on hand to absorb these costs without taking on debt.
You should also have a dedicated maintenance fund to pay for those unexpected repairs. Ideally, build those funds up before you buy your truck, and every time you have to dip into them, pay those funds before you pay yourself.
Pay The Truck Off Early
Monthly payments on your truck loan are expensive. They can really hold your business back by limiting your budget. Paying your truck loan down aggressively is one of the best tips for how to make money owning a semi truck.
Once that loan is paid off and you own your truck, it’s like your income has gone up. You’ll have hundreds, if not thousands, more in your monthly budget to work with.
Find Loads That Generate The Most Revenue
Cross country loads are tempting, because they have so many miles. But the operating costs will also be higher. You might be able to make a lot more money on shorter hauls where the operating costs are lower.
Carefully evaluate the costs and benefits of each haul to ensure that you’re generating as much revenue per load as possible while keeping expenses to a minimum.
How To Make Money Owning A Semi Truck: The Jobs You Can Do
Not everybody realizes that semi trucks can be used for more than hauling freight. If you own a semi truck, there are lots of different ways you can make money. Here are some of the best options:
Semi trucks are a great tool for carrying heavy machinery and materials to and from a job site. Many owner operators use this as a source of supplementary income, but it can be more than supplementary. Whether you use this as a side job in between loads or decide to make it your primary source of income, it can be a great way to make money with a semi truck.
Since construction is nearly constant, this can be a very consistent source of income. Your operating costs will be kept fairly low, too, since the mileage won’t be that much.
Moving companies can always use a semi truck. Whether you want to do the driving yourself or hire a driver to do it for you, offering your truck to a moving company a few times a week or just on the weekend can be a steady supplement to your regular income.
As a semi truck owner you’ll be able to help with moves that other services like truck rental companies often can’t handle. Be sure to look into both commercial and residential moves to maximize the opportunities.
Hauling is the most common way to use a semi truck, but making money as a semi truck owner can still be tricky. One of the best tips for how to make money owning a semi truck is to focus on small businesses that don’t have their own transport vehicles.
Hauling equipment, supplies and other big items can maximize your earnings without costing too much in operational expenses.
Many smaller businesses don’t have their own fleet of trucks to handle deliveries. As a semi truck owner, you can offer your services as a delivery vehicle. Naturally, this works best if you’re delivering large items or large orders of smaller items.
Furniture and appliances are a great example, but you might also be hired to carry stock for smaller retail outlets, and other jobs like that. Often the mileage will be low, which helps minimize your costs as a driver.
Far too many semi truck owners overlook the value of towing services as a way to make money. One of the most reliable ways how to make money owning a semi truck is towing. If you’re in a big city, there’s going to be a constant need for towing service.
Cars break down or get stuck all the time. A semi truck is a great tool for towing, since it can handle much bigger loads than the weight of a single car. You can earn a lot of money this way without putting much wear and tear on your semi truck.
Turn Your Truck Into A Billboard
You can generate passive income by using your truck for advertisements. Brands will pay to have their logo painted on the side of your semi truck. That’s steady income you earn without any cost to you at all.
Passive income is great since it’s steady and it doesn’t cost you anything. Every semi truck owner should be using their truck for advertisements like this. It’s an easy way to boost your income.
How To Make Money Owning A Semi Truck: Start A Trucking Company
One of the best ways to make money owning a semi truck in the long run is to start a trucking company. That way you can build up a fleet over time, maximize your revenue, build long term relationships with clients, and more. Here’s how to get started.
Find A Truck
The first step in starting a trucking company is getting the truck. It is your biggest and primary asset. Unfortunately, that also means it can be very expensive. If you’re an established business person, that may not be much of a problem.
But if you’re just starting out, spending $200,000 on a brand new semi truck is probably not a good idea. Fortunately, used trucks can be found for much less, and often in good condition. When shopping for a used truck, bear in mind that most truck engines will last for 1.2 million miles or so with proper maintenance.
That means a semi truck with 500,000 miles on it is less than halfway through its useful life. You can easily find used trucks in good condition for less than $100,000. If you’re patient you can probably find one for around $40,000.
It’s a good idea to take a mechanic along with you when you go truck shopping. They can tell you if the truck is in good condition and if the price is a good deal. Pick a brand like Freightliner that has a reputation for being reliable and easy to work on.
Make Sure You Have a Place To Park It
Before you buy a truck, you need to know where you’re going to park. Dealers will sometimes be fine letting you leave the truck with them for a bit after you’ve bought it. That’s a pretty standard practice since you can’t just drive your semi truck home and park in the driveway.
Actually, in some places you can, but you need to check. Every city and even some specific neighborhoods have their own rules about where semi trucks can be parked. In some places there’s no law against parking one in your driveway, but don’t count on it.
You can park it in a special semi truck parking lot, but you’ll have to pay for that privilege. It will likely cost something like $150 per month. Once your business is up and running that’s a cost you can easily absorb, but until then parking it at the dealer is the best option.
If you don’t have a CDL, you’ll need to bring someone with you who can move your truck for you.
Find Work For Your Truck
After buying your truck you’ll have to start looking for work. Most often, drivers buy a truck and then offer their services to shippers. While that’s always an option, you don’t need to be a driver or even have a CDL to buy a truck.
In fact, if you’re going to start your own trucking company, you might want to consider hiring drivers instead of driving yourself. It gives you more flexibility and makes it easier for you to line up work for the truck.
The best thing to do is to start calling third-party logistics companies. These companies provide shipping and delivery services, and will pay for the use of the truck. They often prefer to pay you to use your truck since that means they aren’t on the hook for maintenance, fuel and insurance costs.
Bigger companies often have spare drivers, too. That makes things very simple for you- all you have to do is let them use your truck and they’ll pay you for it. If they don’t have spare drivers, you’ll need to hire your own unless you have a CDL and the time to do the driving.
Plan On Making $1,000 Per Week
That’s $1,000 per week in profit, by the way. Obviously there’s a lot of variation, because your expenses and income depend on what your hauling, where you’re hauling it to, and many other variables.
But $6-$7,000 in gross income per truck is pretty typical. Assume somewhere around $1300 for fuel, $1200 for driver pay, $200 in trailer rental fees, plus insurance costs, tolls, taxes, and setting some money aside for maintenance. You’ll end up with about $1,000 per week left over.
You need to plan on a few weeks each year of no income from your truck. It’s bound to need some time in the shop for maintenance and you’ll want vacation time, too. But still, you can assume $48-$50,000 per year from one truck, if you manage it well.
If you’re driving it yourself, that’s an additional $1200 per week since you won’t have to pay a driver. Doubling your income like that is tempting, but it’s going to be easier to grow your company if you aren’t driving. Instead, double your income by adding a second truck, and before long you can triple it with a third.
Hire Your Own Driver
Working with a 3PL company allows you to make money owning a semi truck without having to actually do much. Its almost passive income. The company handles finding the driver and securing loads. They’re essentially renting your truck from you. It’s actually a lot like owning rental property, except it’s less risky and you’ll turn a profit faster.
But if you want to be more hands on, and maybe increase your profit margin, you can skip the 3PL company and hire your own driver. You can still use a 3PL to find loads if you like, but you can also do that yourself. Since you’ll be the one finding loads for them to haul, it’s more work for you to do it this way.
But that extra work pays off. You can easily make $2500 per week after expenses managing your truck this way. And that’s just with one truck.
How To Make Money Owning a Semi Truck: Final Tips
By now it’s clear that owning a semi truck can be a great way to make money. We have a few final tips for you to ensure that your semi truck stays profitable. The biggest one is to stay on top of the maintenance schedule. Truck maintenance isn’t cheap, but if you don’t keep up with it you’ll be stuck with far more expensive repairs eventually.
Make sure to have a large cash reserve on hand. Replacing a tire will cost about $1,000. Replacing an engine will cost about $20,000. You’re going to have to do both eventually. That’s why you should always be setting aside a portion of your gross income into a maintenance fund.
Finally, good drivers are hard to find. If you don’t want to be constantly marketing open driver positions, pay your drivers well can give them bonuses every few thousand miles. That’ll minimize your driver turnover and keep your trucks on the road.
About Booker Transportation
Booker Trans is 100% Owner Operator. It is our belief that an Independent Owner is the best way to get a customers freight delivered timely and safely. Booker is a leading Refrigerated Carrier providing the best lease options in the industry for today’s Owner Operators. Monthly and Yearly Awards, Longevity Bonuses, and the Free tires for Life of Lease Program, are just a few examples of what Booker Trans offers the Owner Operator. Booker Trans has built it’s success upon working partnerships with Customers, as well as Agency Relationships built over the last 20 years. Those same relationships are what makes consistent year round freight possible.
Are you interested in becoming an owner operator driver or getting into the logistics industry?Let’s connect!