I can’t argue with how easy it is to use a load board.  You’ll find customers there, sure.

But is it the best way?

Depending on who you ask, we either have too many trucks on the road for the amount of shipping needed, or we don’t have nearly enough.  I can understand people who want to go out on their own as an owner operator truck driver and ending up confused.

Whether there are too few or two many truckers on the road, there’s always room for a good trucker who wants to provide the best service in an honest, fair manner.  If that’s your goal, you’ll succeed in the trucking industry.

Build Up Your Customers List

The key to success in trucking is to build a good customer base that will keep you hauling – even when things are going poorly in the economy.  You’ve got to sell you- your services, your equipment and frankly, yourself.  I could be the best trucker and never miss a pickup or shipment deadline – but if I have a personality of a grouchy hedgehog, I’m not likely to get called back for another load.

How do owner operators build up that base?

  1. Find the people you want to haul for.  I had a flatbed, so I wasn’t going to haul a lot of goods.  But I could and did manage a lot of extra-big loads of steel.  I was always on the lookout for businesses that would need me.  I found plenty of customers through the Thomas Register and later, Linked In.  The trick was getting to the shipping manager – I wrote about this here.  There’s no substitute for doing the research – but sometimes you can find someone else to do it for you.  Got a family member in another area who might do some scouting?  That’s good.  But you might find a sales rep is worth the money.
  2. Keep track of your previous customers.  (TruckingOffice trucking management software can help you with that.)  Keep in touch, especially when you’re going to be in their area.
  3. Make a great first impression.  And second one. And third one.  Being professional at all times makes other people treat you professionally – and respect goes a long way.  Respect the people you meet at the dock.  It’s not always a matter of bringing donuts (although that may not be the worst reputation to have!) but treating people well.
  4. You’re always on the clock when you’re an owner operator.  You need to have a regular, scheduled plan to market yourself to new customers.  There are lots of ways  to build relationships that will produce loads.  It may have to start with some emails or some phone calls, but you can do those things while you’re waiting for a dock to empty to deliver a load.  That’s why we have the internet, right?

Invest in your customer list like you would any other piece of equipment for your trucking business.  It’s the best way to keep your business thriving.

Selling Your Customers on You

TruckingOffice trucking managment software isn’t just about managing the business of being a trucker.  It’s about making your trucking business the most successful it can be.

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