As an owner operator you know how important it is to constantly keep growing your business. The only way to do this is to continue to get your name out there and expand your customer base. Without constant expansion your business is destined to start losing money as existing customers move, go out of business or try other trucking companies.
There are at least four easy to implement strategies that will help to continue to grow your trucking business that are low cost, very effective and highly visible. By using all four of these ideas you will increase your business profile in your community which will result in the best possible probability of bringing in new customers.
Strategy 1: Advertise
Advertising is critical, and how you choose to spend your time and money in advertising is even more important. If you don’t know the type of business you want to attract to your company then any advertising you are doing is sort of like shooting in the dark and hoping that your advertising will find its target.
You need to start by seriously thinking about the type of customer you want. This will then lead you to the type of advertising that is most effective and most likely to be seen by your new potential customers.
For example, if you are a livestock hauler you probably will find the best option for finding new customers is advertising at the cattle auction sales barn, farming and ranching publications and at agribusinesses and stock shows. Advertising in the local city paper is not likely to be cost effective and much less likely to catch your potential customer’s attention than advertising in an area that farmers and ranchers will access.
Strategy 2: Hire Professionals To Do What You Can’t
Sometimes owner operators try to do everything on their own. They may take on the bookkeeping, website management, advertising and marketing, invoicing, trucking and getting new business roles. This typically leads to the problem of just spreading yourself too thin and not really having the time or ability to be on top of the entire business.
A better option is to use freelance professionals that you can pay by the job or by the hour. With this option you get the benefit of having a certified accountant or bookkeeper, a website designer or social media expert, or even an assistant to handle all of the day to day tasks. By using a freelance professional you don’t have to hire someone full time, often they can work from a remote location so you don’t need to have an office or building, plus you can control the budget. You also won’t have to provide insurance and other types of coverage since they are not full or even part time employees, they are contract employees.
Strategy 3: Take A Business Course
If you are running a trucking business then you need to have a good understanding of how to create a sustainable business model for your company. Taking a business course is a must to get that theoretical knowledge so you can practically and strategically grow your business. A business course can be taken at a local community college, online or through reading a good book on the subject.
Taking a business course or learning more about business management will pay off in ways you have never imagined. You will learn more about cost effective business practices, tax breaks you may not have considered and even about marketing and sales opportunities that may not have been on the radar.
Strategy 4: Network With The Competition
For some truckers that own their own company the idea of networking and cooperating with other owner operators may sound counterintuitive. After all you many think it is best to be able to corner the market and develop your own unique niche and customer base. While this is somewhat true, having a good relationship with other owner operators and small or larger trucking companies in your area can also add to the calls that you get from new customers.
Often people call large trucking companies with small jobs, jobs that the larger companies are happy to pass off to someone else. In turn your small business may get a call about a large job that you can’t do on your own. Having the ability to provide a reference to the potential customer leaves a good imagine of your business in the customers mind; but there is another option to consider as well. While you may not be able to do the job on your own, networking and subcontracting with other owner operators in your area may open the door for you to take on those big jobs with confidence that you can supply the trucks and truckers required.
Another reason to network with other owner operators, especially if you are specializing in one type of freight or trucking service, is that they will refer customers to you if you do the same back for their specialization. The only way that you become aware of this is by having at information readily available.
Making it a habit to consciously engage in the four strategies listed above will help you to maximize your ability to grow your business. Of course top customer service is still essential, but that should be an ongoing practice with each and every load you haul.