There comes a time when you, as an owner operator or a fleet owner, may want to grow your business and expand your operations. It’s a great goal to have. The construction and trucking industries are uniquely structured to facilitate individual growth and expansion because of their large scale, yet very diverse customers and markets. There is always room for someone qualified, diligent and tenacious to grow larger and prosper in these industries.

If you’re a current owner operator or a small business company owner of trucks with a track record of financial success and a goal towards continuing your growth, you may be ready to expand. Even though it may be only one more truck to start, you must prepare yourself and your company for this growth to ensure the success you desire. Based on the success of other clients who have grown their businesses, there are several things to consider when you are ready to take this important step forward for yourself.

Becoming financially able to purchase or lease new equipment is the most important action step. You want to be able to show a lending company you are ready to take on the challenge. Here is a checklist of ideas to consider:

Self-Assessment Check List

  • Create a detailed business plan outlining your projections of income, expenses and net profit.
  • Check your own credit histories (from TransUnion, Experian, Equifax or others) to make sure they are reporting your credit history accurately.
  • Work to get your credit “cleaned up” so you can reduce your cost of financing in the future.
  • If you have credit challenges, be willing to provide a personal guarantee or more money down.

The additional truck you purchase (or lease) has to be working to make  money to pay for your business. As an owner operator, the first additional driver you hire may be the most important hiring decision you ever make. This person needs to be dependable, committed and trustworthy. You don’t want someone who may quit in a few months and leave you with a payment for a truck that is suddenly not earning revenue.

As your business grows, your recordkeeping needs to expand too. Do you do it all now? Does your spouse help? You may need outside resources to help with the accounting and other bookkeeping functions of running your larger business. *Make sure to pick a business service provider that specializes in the trucking industry. 

Your desire for expansion may be spurred by your current customers wanting you to do more for them. That is good because it means you will have the additional work to support your growth. But eventually, to expand your business, you’ll need to put on your “sales & marketing” hat. Every company has to develop and nurture new business to sustain itself. Networking in your industry or local area, reaching out to potential customers, offering promotions and discounts and asking for referrals are all ways you can market yourself and your now larger business. 

Expanding your small business with additional equipment purchases will require planning, increased investment and a more strategic approach. Individuals who wish to succeed in growing their business must rely on  more than just themselves. There are people who can help. Contact your local dealer or Daimler Truck Financial to begin the process.  These experts can assist you in moving your company towards further growth and success!

*ATBS specializes in bookkeeping, accounting and taxes for owner-operators and is offering a discount to Team Run Smart members on their services. Click here for more information on this special offer.   

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I would also suggest you build loyal relationships with your suppliers. Loyalty to your truck dealer, service provider or even insurance provider can reap many benefits over th years. When you have loyal relationships with these people they can provide vital information that can save you money, like special programs that may or may not be advertised that could benefit your business.

September 06, 2012 8:02:50 AM

I also think it is a good idea to have the first truck paid for before looking to expand with a second truck. This way if something is not working out with your driver you can let the truck sit till you have a good driver to fill its seat instead of having to rush and just find a driver of unknown quality.

August 14, 2012 19:46:21 PM

This is a starting point before purchasing another truck and becoming a fleet owner. Pick the brains of other drivers who have started fleets in different scenarios, buy these people a cup of coffee and take notes. Starting a fleet is not to be lightly or by the feint of heart.

August 14, 2012 15:49:29 PM