It’s been a hot minute since the TruckingOffice blog focused on trucking business plans. Just like a trucker needs a map to make a delivery, building a trucking business needs a map to get where the owner-operator wants to go. By writing a business plan, that route is laid out, so detours, disasters, and decisions can be handled to benefit the owner-operator.
Long-term thinking – you have to wonder if anyone is doing it these days. The DOT is talking about putting speed limiters on trucks these days. Is anyone thinking that through? The unintended consequences? If you’re shaking your head right now, so are we.
That’s why a business plan is a huge benefit to anyone in the trucking industry who owns their rig. Decisions about what benefits you come from thought and planning.
We all know truckers who parked their trucks in the past month because of fuel costs. Since the logistics industry as a whole is taking a hit right now, maybe they’re right – for them.
How do we make decisions about our trucking businesses?
Trucking business plans can help make each decision. By taking time to thoughtfully write a business plan, the owner-operator or the fleet manager may find many decisions are already decided. If you want to build a regional business out of Ohio, you don’t look at loads from Colorado regardless of the price per mile that the shipper is willing to pay. By making a few key determinations early, you avoid facing decisions that are never going to be in your best interest.
That’s not to say you can’t change your mind. But then you change your business, too. That’s a much bigger issue!
Detours: If only everything went to plan.
Nobody understands what detours do to a plan as truckers do. You’re still gonna get there, but it ain’t gonna be pretty.
Detours aren’t just about changing the route. Sometimes, changing the route changes delivery times and when the next load can be picked up or when we see our families again. Detours can cause immense frustration and aggravation.
Trucking business plans can help a trucker cope with the detours in the business. Whether it’s a change in regulations, an unexpected family situation, or a need to change because of circumstances outside your control, your trucking business plan lays out the structure of your future. Nothing is ever certain, but certain things can be planned for. By having a business plan that lays out the finances, you might find that the emergency fund you created covers the unexpected expenses without driving into debt.
Every piece of machinery needs maintenance. The disasters arise when either the maintenance work wasn’t done or wasn’t done well, or when that idiot pick-up driver ahead breaks after swerving into your lane. Either way, disasters aren’t “oh, it’s raining and I might get wet.” Disasters are enough to push you off the road – accidents or illnesses or breakdowns.
Do trucking business plans help prepare you for any of these?
It can. By thinking ahead, you can prepare the road to get out of those situations.
A business plan outlines
- your financial obligations
- a savings plan to prepare for the future expenses
- your business partnerships.
We might not be able to stop a flood, but a business plan can get you back on your feet after the waters recede.
How to Write Trucking Business Plans
We’ve written an entire series on how to write a trucking business plan. You can start here.
But if you’re the type who stalls out on projects like this, let us make another recommendation. Call SCORE. SCORE is a free service of experienced volunteers, mostly retirees, who are available to help you write a business plan. SCORE will pair you with a mentor who can help you write your business plan. SCORE may be free, but the assistance you get will be invaluable.
Don’t put off doing something so critically important to the success of your trucking business.
As you’re running your trucking business, don’t forget about TruckingOffice’s free trial offer to show you our full trucking software package.