The trucking industry is affected by many of the same things that impact the rest of the world, including unexpected global pandemics. While there’s still a strong need to get items delivered, there are some valid concerns in the trucking community about Covid-19. This is especially true when it comes to concerns about what the “new reality” of this health crisis could actually mean going forward – especially for truckers looking to be owner-operators.
Challenges for New Owner-Operators
There are nearly 400,000 owner-operators registered in the United States, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). Being an owner-operator is an appealing option since it allows for more flexibility with client arrangements and how operations are handled. However, many new truckers are waiting to get their businesses started because of Covid-19 uncertainties.
What Can Be Gained by Waiting?
As is the case with most new business plans these days, there are pros and cons associated with waiting and not waiting when it comes to the “elephant in the room” known as Covid-19. For this reason, some truckers may be inclined to wait to see if things calm down with this virus and the related issues associated with it in the fall.
To be fair, a compelling argument can be made to wait to see what happens during the traditionally busier months from September through November. By waiting, a soon-to-be owner-operator may benefit from:
• Improved economic stability
• Access to more clients as businesses get back to normal-like operations
• Clients more willing to give newer owner-operators a chance
• Fewer restrictions with travel between states, especially if “hot spots” cool down
What Might Be Lost by Waiting?
The hours of service restrictions were lifted when this health crisis started since a state of emergency was declared. This allows drivers to put in more hours. The reason for taking this step is because of the increased demand for various goods in many markets.
A boost in demand is certainly a compelling reason for new owner-operators not to wait with plans to get started. By waiting, new truckers looking to get their business started may lose out on an ability to reach out to potential clients looking for freight delivery options. Waiting may also result in:
• Even more waiting if a “return to normal” doesn’t happen until a vaccine is widely available
• A set of new Covid-19 restrictions that could further impede the ability to reach out to new clients if a second wave comes along
• A loss of incentive to fully invest time, money, and effort in a new business
There’s no way to know if Covid-19 will be less of a concern anytime soon. At the moment, there’s a surge in reported cases, but death rates are actually declining. Ultimately, owner-operators and others working in the trucking industry should be mindful of the current situation with regards to this new virus, economic conditions in target markets, and general industry trends but waiting might not serve you in the long run. Get started, get your ducks in a row, dive in and when 2021 comes around you will already know more than you do now.