After being in the trucking industry for nearly 15 years now, I have seen many things change within our industry. For all that has changed throughout the years, one thing remains constant, the ability for anyone to succeed through perseverance and smart business planning. For all the times I was told I wouldn’t (or couldn’t) make money as an owner-operator during my career, I have wanted to try that much harder just to prove those very same people wrong. Very little of my success along the way has come easy and not a great deal of it can be attributed to luck either. The key to my success, as with anyone else’s, is proper planning and execution of smart business tactics.
It was at my last employer that I worked for as a company driver, where I drove in the early morning hours and managed driver payroll and billing in the afternoons, where I was able to get more involved in the business side of trucking. It was during this time I realized I wanted to attend college to further my understanding of what it takes to operate a successful business. It was during this time that I decided to become an owner-operator running regionally here in the west, where I was able to work out my schedule to maintain a profitable four-day a week trucking business, which allowed me to attend school and complete classwork during the remaining three days every week.
After graduating from DeVry University in Pomona, California with Manga Cum Laude honors and earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Business majoring in Operations Management, I immediately began implementing what I had learned into my own trucking business. I set forth on a mission to work “smarter” and not “harder” with my newfound knowledge. I shifted my business focus from earning more miles, to maximizing revenue while minimizing costs. This was accomplished by the switching of the traditional mindset that truckers have to get “miles under their belt” in order to succeed. I was able to implement a business plan to run higher priority short-haul local freight, being home virtually every night, while still maintaining profits near or exceeding my long-haul counterparts.
Businesses are only successful if they continue to strive and remain constantly aware of where they were, where they are, and where they plan to be. In the grand scheme of things, nearly everyone “could” go out there, buy a truck, sign it onto a carrier, and begin making money. Just as well, even a company driver could graduate CDL-school, drive for a carrier, and start earning money for the miles they run. The difference between being successful and thriving, or wasting away on the roadside somewhere, lies in choosing what you do with your “Business Smarts”. Knowing how to manage money, minimize costs, and increase your bottom line are key success factors in any business, but especially true in trucking.
Learning from your mistakes, as well as the mistakes of others, and refusing to give up in the face of adversity can make or break a business in this industry. The “Business Smart” content contained within the Team Run Smart web community encompasses all aspects of business success and shares my philosophy of attaining success through making smart business decisions. Use this pillar of knowledge from this web community to soak up all the “smarts” you can to help you in your path through trucking because “Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.” - Peter Drucker. Knowledge is power...learn something new everyday!