Trucking is an incredibly vast industry with a wide number of specializations. Those who are resourceful are those who will ultimately be able to survive.
Trucking is very competitive, and you have to use your imagination if you want to be able to stand out. There are many underserved niches out there where you could be able to make a lot of money without necessarily having to do tougher work. All you have to do is identify these opportunities and position yourself to capitalize on them. Here are a few tips for owner-operators looking for a great niche.
Avoid Dry Vans
We all know that a dry van can seem like the perfect choice for a new owner-operator. The reality is that this low barrier of entry also means that you’ll have to deal with a lot of competition. And we’re not talking about other owner-operators only. You have large conglomerates that love the model and have the resources to push you out of the market.
Not only that, but you’re much less likely to get regular contracts with direct shippers that way. This means that you’ll spend a lot of time working with brokers and on load boards where you’ll have to give them a large chunk of the profit.
Go for Specialized Loads
A much better strategy would be to go for the loads that others avoid. This is the best way to fill a demand in the market and avoid competition, not only now but in the future.
One of the great things about working with specialized loads is that large companies tend to avoid them because of their complexity. This leaves the market wide open for someone like you. Let’s take a look at a few specialized niches worth considering.
Hay, Grain, and Feed Transport
Feed transport is the backbone of the agricultural industry and there’s a great need for reliable services that can deliver on time. If you want to get in, you can be independent, but know that you could also join a franchise and get many of the benefits. Still, going alone is a great option, but you’ll have to invest in special equipment.
One of the challenges of transporting feed is that it can start to accumulate moisture and form a compact mass that is nearly impossible to unload. Here, you should look at some of the available. Pneumat’s helps make unloading trucks easier by blasting the feed with compressed air to fluidize it.
Flatbed loads are in very high demand, but large carriers tend to avoid them. The great thing here is that they don’t require that much experience, can be more forgiving than regular trucks, and have much simpler logistics for a small operation.
Liquid loads are another niche with great demand and lots of consistency. These, however, require some experience. Especially if you want to transport hazardous loads. The equipment will also cost you, so this one is not the easiest niche to enter.
There are tons of trucking niches to choose from, and many that would be perfect for you as a sole operator. Make sure that you research all of these and see where you could see yourself working for the next few years.