If you’ve been a driver with another company for some time, you know the limits on your income that come from not working for yourself. Owning your own truck (or more than one truck) is a way to remedy that. But there is a lot more to owning your own trucking business than just driving.

Make Sure Everyone is Properly Licensed

You’ve probably already got a commercial driver’s license (CDL). But as you hire other potential drivers, you’ll need to ensure that everyone has the proper level of licensing for the equipment they’ll be operating. Training for your drivers should be constantly maintained to make sure you operate safely. Insurance requirements are sometimes stricter than the law, so make sure you’re in compliance with everything on your policy. You can often save on insurance by going the extra mile on continuing education for drivers and investment in safety systems and equipment.

Find Business for Your Fleet

Steady contracts provide recurring income, but the key to profitability is to minimize dead-heading, or operating empty as you return from delivering loads. Find out where to get loads for trucks on otherwise empty trips and get paid for as many miles as possible.

Maintain Your Business Like You Maintain Your Trucks

Many drivers fail to keep their eye on the road financially. It’s not enough to operate safely and efficiently; you’ve got to constantly look out for problems with accounting, finance, personnel, and marketing. Do a planning session at least monthly with your CPA or some other trusted advisor who can tell you if you’re staying on track.

Starting your own trucking business is a big decision, and one not to be taken lightly. But if you plan in advance and continue to stay ahead of the challenges of owning a business, it can put you on the road to financial success.