The Small Business Times

How To Make Money Owning A Semi-Truck

Did you know that you can make money owning a semi-truck? It’s probably not the first business or side-hustle idea that springs to mind. But it’s a lucrative one, and many people are making good money doing it.

You can make money owning a semi-truck with or without your own driver. And it’s not even essential for you to have your own trailer. The most crucial stage is finding a second-hand semi-truck in good condition at an affordable price. But there are many out there. Once you have your truck, you can start offering your services with or without a driver.

Numerous businesses and individuals need a semi-truck to assist them with specific tasks. Some tasks may be once-off, and others you may have to perform regularly. Either way, owning a semi-truck can be highly profitable if you know what to do.

This blog post will examine the various ways you can approach your semi-truck business. It will also discuss finding a great semi-truck and where to source clients. 

Tips to Make Money Owning a Semi-Truck

You could consider two primary business models when starting your semi-truck side-hustle. One approach does not require you to have your own driver. While the other involves you having to be more hands-on by hiring and managing a driver. But we discuss these two options in more detail below.

How to Make Money Owning a Semi-Truck with Third-Party Logistics

If you own a semi-truck that’s well-maintained and in good condition, you can rent it out to a third-party logistics (3PL) company. 3PL’s facilitate transportation and logistics needs for all sorts of clients. The industries they serve range from private to industrial, retail, commercial, and more.

These kinds of companies are always on the lookout for vehicles to hire. And because a semi-truck can transport large loads over long distances, it’s very much sought after. So, you’ll essentially be hiring your semi-truck to the 3PL on a full-time or part-time basis.

You might be able to rent your semi-truck to them as is, or they may require you to include a trailer. But it’s typically not necessary to buy your own trailer. You could easily hire one and include the expense as part of your rental price to the 3PL.

Therefore, there’s no need to concern yourself with hiring and managing a driver. Nor will you need to find additional clients and manage the logistics to make a living. Partnering with a third-party logistics company is a hassle-free way to go.

How to Make Money Owning a Semi-Truck with Your Own Driver

Perhaps you’d like to take more of a hands-on approach and make it more of a business than a passive income. In this case, you could hire your own driver and oversee operations. However, managing a transportation and logistics business can be a headache, even with one semi-truck.

In the world of transportation, incidents and issues crop up relatively often. Tire blowouts, mechanical problems, and a host of other issues are commonplace when you have vehicles on the road all the time. These problems then harm the service you deliver to your client. And it will be your job to find solutions to overcome these situations.

That aside, the US Department of Labor has indicated that the average churn rate for employed drivers is 90 days. In other words, drivers tend not to stay with a company for longer than 3 months, which is scary. So, there’s a chance you’ll need to source new drivers reasonably often.

Alternatively, you could offer your driver some form of an incentive package. One example is to award the driver with a bonus every 10,000 miles. Offering an incentive may encourage the driver to stay with you for an extended period. This way, you may be spared the need to recruit and train a new driver.

Bear in mind, though, that you’ll be responsible for providing the driver with a weekly or monthly wage. And you’ll need to register for insurance and workman’s compensation to cover expenses in the event of an accident.

Steps to Building Your Semi-Truck Business

Irrespective of the business model you choose, you’ll still need to purchase a semi-truck to get the business started. And the vehicle must be in the best possible condition if you’re going to make money owning a semi-truck.

And shortly after purchasing your semi-truck, you’ll need it to start generating an income. So, you’ll need to find some clients or a third-party logistics company to work with. But let’s take a closer look at these elements of the operation in more detail.

Buying the Semi-Truck

Let’s begin with purchasing your semi-truck. You can anticipate paying anywhere in the region of $32,000 to $40,000 for a great second-hand truck. But you mustn’t just go for the first truck you see in that price range. There are specific criteria your semi-truck needs to meet to ensure a successful purchase.

These are the key elements you should look out for when looking at second-hand semi-trucks:

  1. Year Model: Your semi-truck should not be more than 5 to 8 years old. Anything older might cost you a bit more to maintain.
  2. Mileage: The semi-truck should have traveled less than 500,000 miles. Most semi-trucks operate well for up to 1,2 million miles and sometimes more.
  3. Vehicle History: Make sure you have access to a report detailing the vehicle’s complete history. The objective is to ensure that it has been serviced regularly and hasn’t been in an accident.
  4. Brand: Freightliner, Kenworth, and Peterbilt are the best semi-truck brands to look out for. These are long-lasting vehicles that are inexpensive to maintain.

Approaching a dealership is one way to source a truck, but they tend to charge a bit more. The best places to look for second-hand semi-trucks are public listing sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace

Unless you’re an expert truck mechanic, you should find a qualified semi-truck mechanic to accompany you. You’ll probably have to compensate the mechanic for their time. But a mechanic will pick up on mechanical inconsistencies and potential issues that you may not. 

Remember that you’ll need someone to drive the truck from the place you purchased it to where you’re going to store it. You can’t park the truck at your home, so you’ll need a dedicated parking space for it.

Sourcing Clients

The next step is to find some clients so your semi-truck can start paying for itself. In fact, it’s a good idea to start connecting with potential clients before you purchase your truck. This will give you a clear idea of the demand for your services before you invest any money in the business.

If you’re planning to rent your vehicle to third-party logistics companies, you’ll find some of them listing their needs on Craigslist. But it’s probably best to begin with the logistics companies you’ve noticed in your area. 

Most logistics companies will have some sort of branding on their vehicles, whether they own or rent them. And they’ll typically source their own drivers, so all you need to concern yourself with is the truck. 

If you’re hiring your own drivers and managing the logistics yourself, you’ll need to find multiple clients to generate business. You can offer to haul, move, and provide supply chain delivery services, to name a few. But you’ll need to start advertising your services in as many places as possible. And you’ll have to start contacting companies who might need your help.

Remember that, in this instance, you’ll have to pay the driver’s wages and cover fuel. You’ll also be responsible for planning and managing each job, from start to finish. You’ll likely also need more than one semi-truck to make the business profitable.

Conclusion

It’s possible to make good money owning a semi-truck if you know how to go about it. If you choose to hire your own driver and manage operations yourself, you can expect a net profit of roughly $2,000 per week. However, should you decide to work with a 3PL company, your net income will be around $1,000 per week. 

You’ll have your operating costs to consider. And don’t forget that you’ll need to set aside cash for bi-annual vehicle services and potential parts replacement. But if you find the right semi-truck and build lasting relationships with your clients, your business will be off to a great start.