When you want to start your own company, trucking and haulage could be a big deal for you. It’s not a market that is oversaturated with companies trying their hand at all things haulage and if you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get the goods you love the most to us, then haulage could be for you. Haulage companies get their business by the growing demand for goods.
Consumers (like us) buy more and more goods that require more transportation to move them from place to place. As the demand rises, the need for good haulage firms grows exponentially and this is where your company could be the money pit that you dreamed about having. A business, however, is a huge undertaking.
You have to be really ready that you want to go into haulage before you start, which means that you have some questions to ask yourself, you need to know the challenges to expect and you need to know how to retain your drivers. So, let’s explore all the things that you should know about starting your own haulage company!
Questions To Ask
Do you have industry experience?
You’ve got a great idea, and a great idea is good to have. However, if you have never had experience in the industry, you have some homework to do. Transportation as an industry requires you to have some industry knowledge ingrained in your brain; which is why research is now your best friend. Keeping abreast of developments in the industry and perhaps shadowing a different haulage company could be everything that you need to help you to decide whether it’s the right thing for you.
Are you flush for cash?
You don’t necessarily have to be absolutely loaded to get started, but you certainly can’t start an entire haulage business on a shoestring budget. While it’s a nice idea to set up your own trucking business, it’s not something that can be done from the spare bedroom – much as that’s a nice idea! Not only will you have to manage a huge staffing budget, you need headquarters, premises and enough space for trucks, vans and other vehicles that you need to purchase for your business. On top of all of that, you have to pay for insurance to cover you every step of the way. You should ensure that you can cover these costs and more at the start of your business journey.
What will you transport?
It’s always worth thinking about, but you can’t transport everything. You need to align yourself with a niche, lucrative contract that will give you exclusivity. You could haul freight, parcel delivery, livestock and even dispose of waste. There are specific vehicles and insurance for different things to transport, and this is where your earlier research comes in. You could potentially need extra insurance on top of this, too, so you need to make some decisions about what you want to transport early on.
Challenges To Expect
So, we’ve discussed some of the questions that you should ask yourself, but the haulage industry does come with some challenges. Some of those challenges surround getting the funding for your business idea, getting contracts under your belt and even the drivers you hire. There is a lot of press surrounding distracted trucker driving problems across America, so it should be very important to your company that you train your staff properly and maintain strict safety policies for all your drivers. The haulage industry has its challenges, but as long as you are willing to face these challenges, you can break through the barrier and join in the industry as a newbie! Here are some of the challenges to expect:
Getting the funding for your new business may be the easy bit, but you have to remember that large transport vehicles are pricey. We’re not talking a few thousand dollars, but into the millions and this is sometimes very difficult to afford for a newbie haulage firm. The best way to combat this particular challenge is to look into truck and other vehicles that are used already.
Haulage companies take a lot of stress when it comes to servicing and maintaining their vehicles. Heavy duty trucks, lorries and vans are all harder to maintain than average vehicles on the road, and if the roads aren’t maintained well, this could cause even more issues on the vehicles that you have. You need to have spectacular insurance for your vehicles as well as a solid maintenance plan. Look for the companies that have the best reviews from competitors, and learn to budget a higher amount for them.
- Bad Roads
As mentioned above, bad roads can affect your vehicles. You rely on your vehicles running to be able to continue to earn money with your company. If the roads have affected your vehicles to the point you are needing consistent repairs, you need to rethink your routes where possible. You don’t need to be that firm that causes accidents on the road; you cannot be a statistic.
- Unprofessional Drivers
Unprofessional drivers are the Achilles heel of the haulage industry. You could be the best business owner, nailing contract after contract and managing the maintenance of your vehicles really well, but if your drivers are unprofessional and choosing to be unsafe on the road, your company will fold. Not only will it fold, but your reputation will be shot to pieces and you’ll never have made it off the tarmac.
You need to ensure that your drivers haven’t just had the necessary training, but they know the consequences of not practicing safe driving. These consequences should be harsh, with strict penalties and no escape – lives are at risk on the road, and they shouldn’t be compromised just because your drivers refuse to be safe.
Finding and keeping truck drivers isn’t easy for a company. You want the right experience, health, qualifications and efficiency in each of your drivers. You need to know the difference between the driver who listens effectively and will take on board their training and your incentives list, and the driver who won’t respond to certain incentives.
Your company needs to learn to retain the good drivers that are hard to come by. Bringing on great talent to your business should be one of your priorities, and as trucking is a hard job, retaining that talent can be a huge issue for some companies. Below, you’ll find some of the best do’s and don’ts of retaining talented drivers so that your company can have the most positive start possible.
- Don’t rush bringing new drivers on board to your business. You’re not going to retain drivers by getting off to a bad start, and it’s important to the future of your business for you to start your retention process from the very first day. You’re not just hiring drivers into your company, but to work with you. They need to get a great first impression from you so, start strong.
- Don’t be the type of company that refuses to innovate. Trucking is changing all the time, from technology upgrades of the vehicles to the way that safety gets upgraded in the trucks, too. Technology is an investment for your company, and you should put your money into being the best of the best.
- Don’t allow unsafe driving to slide. It’s a big problem right now in America and you do not want to be the sort of company that allows chances for drivers who are putting other road users at risk. The safety of your drivers is your focus, and that means providing the right training and them adhering to it.
- Do get to know the truckers that you bring on board. These people are working long hours in difficult conditions for your company, which means that you are obliged to get to know your staff on a personal level. You need to know what they’ve gained from years in the industry, what they gain from the job itself and why they choose to do it. Trucking is hard work, and you need to know your people.
- Do make communication one of your priorities as a business. Your staff spend weeks on the road at a time, but we live in an age where communication is easy and people can be reached by more than one method wherever they are. Try to touch base with your drivers at least once a week; not only will they appreciate the personal touch, but you can keep up to date with how they are doing and how they are coping.
- Do create as many opportunities for your drivers as possible. These people are in a long, hard job and while the perks and salary may be great, you need to understand their end game. If they one day want to run their own firm and be in your shoes, they need to get the right support in their training – which you could invariably provide.
A haulage company could be the making of you – and now you have everything you need to get started.