If you are tired of your current job or just working for other people in general, then the high cost of opening your own business may be getting in the way of you fulfilling your dream of becoming an entrepreneur. While many businesses do have high start-up costs, you can become a self-employed truck driver for very little money. What does it take to get started? Read on to learn how to become a self-employed truck driver who can transport almost any type of goods across the country without spending a lot of cash or having to take out a large business loan.
1. Buy a Used Semi Truck
The one large purchase you will need to make to become a self-employed truck driver is a semi truck. However, when you purchase a used one, you won't have to spend nearly as much on the truck as you would if you were to purchase a brand-new one. Just as there are used cars in great shape at great prices, you can also find used semi trucks that are in great shape.
You will need to buy your truck before you obtain your CDL so you'll have it ready to practice with once you obtain your CDL learning permit and can use it on the CDL road test. However, you cannot drive your truck until you obtain this license. That means that once you find a good deal on a used semi truck, you need to find a friend with a CDL to drive it to your home or hire a truck driver who will likely be happy to drive it home for you for just a few bucks. If you're looking to buy a used truck, contact a company like Arrow Truck Sales for more information.
2. Get Your CDL License
The first thing you need to do before driving your truck is to obtain your CDL, or commercial driver's license. The process of obtaining your CDL is very similar to the process you went through to obtain your standard driver's license. First, you submit an application to your local DMV to make sure you meet all of the requirements to obtain one; as long as you are medically healthy, you will likely be granted permission to proceed with the CDL process.
Next, you take a knowledge test where you answer questions about truck driving laws and safe operation. While there are classes you can take to prepare for this test, if you are good at learning on your own, you can prepare for it by learning online or reading a CDL exam preparation book. Once you pass your knowledge test, you will be given a temporary driving permit, and you can then practice driving your very own truck. Finally, you can visit the driving exam station to take your road test to get your official CDL upon passing.
3. Obtain Vehicle and Business Insurance
You will need to insure both your semi truck and your business. Don't neglect business insurance, because you will be hauling items that belong to other people; if anything ever become damaged during transport or loading, you would be responsible for the cost if you didn't have insurance. You need this insurance to complete the next step and open up your transport options.
4. Obtain USDOT and MC Numbers (Optional)
Depending on the weight of the semi truck you purchase and what you plan to haul, you may or may not have to obtain your USDOT and/or MC numbers. However, obtaining both of them will allow you to bid on a wider array of hauling jobs. You must obtain a USDOT number if your semi truck weighs 10,001 pounds or more and you plan to haul loads across state lines. If your truck is lighter than that, obtaining a USDOT number will allow you to transport hazardous materials across state lines.
Obtaining an MC, or Authority to Operate, number will allow you to transport passengers across state lines for pay and transport federally-regulated commodities across state lines.
If your truck weighs under 10,001 pounds, then you can hold off on obtaining these numbers; however if, in the meantime, you find a great gig hauling something you must have these numbers to haul, you could lose out on good cash.
5. Bid on Hauling Jobs
Once you have your truck, your CDL, insurance, and your numbers, you will be officially ready to bid on shipping jobs. The internet has made this easier than ever, and there are now several websites where self-employed truck drivers like you can easily bid online for hauling jobs posted by a variety of people and businesses. Bid competitively, but remember to ensure you never bid so low that the expenses you incur during the shipping process, including gasoline, don't eat up too much of the profit you make when hauling.
If you are tired of working for someone else but don't want to take out a huge business loan to start your own business, then consider becoming a self-employed truck driver. Once you have your own semi truck, you can haul items for cash daily, and when you want a day off, you can take it without answering to anyone.