Trucking is the backbone of the American industry, as they often say, but small owner-operators may find it difficult to stay afloat. Many markets are being dominated by the certain few massive carriers and one of the best ways of dealing with that challenge is finding a niche.
What is a niche? It’s the work that big carriers can’t do or won’t do for some reason.
Working in a niche gives you as an owner-operator the opportunity to profile your customers and customize your services and offer accordingly. What else could be in it for you?
The benefits of niches
It seems that some economic crisis always looms large on the horizon. One of the best things with niche markets is that they tend to survive economic downturns. Some think this is because niche hauls are based on a tight relationship between the customer and the carrier. It is not surprising that you can have the same shipper for 10 or 15 years – this consistency is a rarity in the trucking industry.
When you have niche hauls, you are a master of your trade. Not only is it easier to keep customers, but it is frequently easier to get new ones as well. Many specialized truck drivers and owner-operators report that they get a lot of work through word of mouth.
Obviously, if you specialize in something, you can charge more for your expertise. If you look at Internet load boards, you’ll see that the haul calls that last longest are the niche ones, with special requirements – however, they also often pay more, as much as 25%.
Some niches don’t pay more, but they bring other benefits. A trucker who hauls food-grade byproduct from a paper mill every day between northern Wisconsin and northern Illinois says that he likes the reliability of the work and the fact that he is at home every weekend. Some other owner-operators who work locally say they are at home every night, which is a huge plus for them.
What can you expect from niches?
Very often a niche means that hauls are less than truckload, aka LTL. This is not appetizing for big guys, but a small owner-operator may enjoy great profit from this. On the flip side, though, this could include a lot of physical labor and tight schedules.
Part of the service is being in constant touch with the shipper and the receiver and meeting deadlines.
The time sensitivity and the specificity of freight generally require the niche owner-operator to have specialized or newer equipment. For those owner-operators who don’t have the funds to get a new or specialized trailer or truck, Go Capital offers funding options for those who are looking for bad credit semi-truck financing.
Working in niches is not a piece of cake, certainly, otherwise everyone would do it, but it does hold many advantages if you can find the type of work that fits your business. If you talk to the drivers who are old hands at niche freight transport, you’ll hear that they wouldn’t do anything else because of the financial rewards and other appealing trappings.
How to go about it?
If you need some ideas, transporting agricultural equipment is quite profitable and pretty stable throughout the seasons. Especially if you are in California, Arizona or Texas, there are hauls for seasonal produce and in the height of summer season there is a huge demand for carriers.
To find a niche consider the work that requires specialized trailers or tankers. Also, ask yourself these questions:
- Does that niche plug a gap in the market?
- Is there a problem in the niche that I can solve?
- Who are the players already out there – can I learn something from them or can I provide something they can’t?
- Is this niche something that has good prospects for the future?
If you need help…
Go Capital is an established funding company that can help you if you are searching for customized bad credit semi-truck financing and no credit semi-truck funding. With our help, you can get the equipment you need to enhance your business. Go Capital is a niche business as well. With our resources and expertise we can assist you in building a business which is profitable and stable. Call us today to find our more!