Make it as an independent lorry driver

How to make it as an independent lorry driver

Becoming an independent contractor is similar to starting your own company, and there are going to be potential pitfalls around every corner. You will need to think about quite a few different variables in the coming years including insurance options, your retirement, and the equipment you are going to be using. Here are some tips and tricks that will help you make it as an independent lorry driver while minimising your risks.

Boost your credit score

Many companies offer new drivers loans for expenses such as tires and trailers, but the rates can be astronomical. Before starting any type of business, entrepreneurs should spend some time trying to boost their personal credit score to keep their loan rates as low as possible. As time goes on and you build equity, you will then be able to use your business credit for those loans instead of your personal credit.

Don’t skimp on your insurance

You are going to be financially responsible for a wide variety of issues ranging from theft to auto accidents. In order to protect yourself, you must have comprehensive business insurance well before you are hired for your first job. It might be tempting to sign up for a cheap or basic policy, but that choice might end up haunting you in the long run. Some insurance providers specialise in creating policies specifically for independent contractors in the transportation industry.

Be wary of long-term contracts

Many large companies offer drivers seemingly great deals on leasing lorries from their private fleets, but their primary goal is to make money. As a general rule, any lease or loan that seems too good to be true should most likely be avoided. Independent drivers also need to be wary of signing any long-term contracts with a single company. Those contracts often contain clauses that require you to pay huge sums of money if you want to change your hours or switch to a different route.

Stay as healthy as possible

Private contractors don’t have guaranteed pay if they are sick or injured, and that is why you need to stay as healthy as possible. In addition to eating a healthy diet and exercising, you also need to schedule regular exams with your primary doctor, optometrist, and orthodontist. Catching and treating health issues early on could prevent serious complications down the road. Private contractors don’t have as many safety nets as those who are working for larger companies.

Keep up with maintenance

The worst thing that could happen to you as a contract lorry driver would be to have a vehicle that couldn’t operate. Not having a vehicle would mean that you couldn’t complete your runs. You’d build a reputation for not being reliable, costing you clients and income. To help with that, make sure that you have an inspection done on your lorry on a regular basis and replace your lorry parts as needed.

You will also need to think about how this career path is going to impact your family and personal relationships. Lorry drivers should understand that being on the road for long periods of time can be difficult for spouses and children, and you must strike a balance between your career and personal life.

Do you have any more advice on how to make it as an independent lorry driver? Tweet us some tips!

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys reading reading books out on the lake while kayaking.

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