If you are buying a used semi truck and starting an owner-operator business, it's a good idea to develop a repeat business client base. At first, many owner-operators take whatever loads they can find just to keep up with their financial demands.
While that is great to meet your needs at the moment, it may not be helpful for the future of your business. To start your owner-operator business at full speed, here are a few ways you can find long-term clients and contracts.
Scour newspaper articles for expanding businesses
Look through newspaper articles available in the region you want to service. You'll want to search for information about businesses that are expanding or may expand in the future. Here are several examples of what to look for in business-related articles:
Businesses that are expanding may require additional delivery services by owner-operators such as yourself. Call the businesses and ask to speak with the freight manager.
Join industry trade groups that need your services
Join industry trade groups that require transportation of goods. For example, the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association has members that require freight services. By becoming a member, you can offer your services to the automotive aftermarket suppliers.
Join area Chamber of Commerce organizations
Many cities and communities have their own Chamber of Commerce. These are organizations of business owners that meet to network and promote businesses within the organization. You may find that many of the business owners in these groups are intent on supporting other local business owners, such as yourself.
Most Chambers have websites that list all the members in the Chamber and the services and goods they each provide. By having your business listed, other members can easily find your contact information. Also, the same listing of businesses within the communities you service gives you a list of potential clients for your owner-operator trucking business.
Sign up to be a postal service supplier
The United States Postal Service often seeks transportation services from trucking businesses, including owner-operators. Register with the USPS to become a transportation service supplier by submitting an application for approval. Once approved, you can then submit an unsolicited proposal or look through their availability listings.
Find freight companies that contract with owner operators
Some freight companies contract with owner operators so they can continue to meet their fulfillment demands during critical times. For example, one nationwide freight shipping company has intense demands during the end-of-year gift giving season. Therefore, they contract with owner-operators on what they call a custom critical basis. Look for other shipping companies and order-fulfillment processing centers that may be overwhelmed seasonally.
Get approved by the GSA for government contracting
Become a transportation service provider for the federal government. The U.S. General Services Administration is the entity that accepts applications for trucking businesses to be considered for contracts with various agencies within the federal government. You cannot be considered for a contract unless you have gotten approved to contract with the federal government.
You'll want to be sure you meet the requirements in order for your application to be approved, of course. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that the jobs will start rolling in. This application process is to allow you to participate in the freight program upon approval.
You will still need to browse through vendor listings of available contracts with the Federal Business Opportunities and submit your proposals. It's important to fulfill any and all contracts that you obtain. As in any industry, word does get around when a service provider doesn't meet expectations.
Check out sites like http://www.arrowtruck.com/ for more trucking info.
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