- Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance is kind of like brushing your teeth. Yes, it’s kind of annoying but if you brush and floss daily, you’re less likely to have to need major dental work, right? Preventative maintenance for your truck is exactly the same thing. If you stay on top of taking care of your truck, less major repairs will be necessary or at least needed less frequently. Spending a little bit more money on better fuel, oil, or small parts in the short term can save you a lot more money in the long term. Consult your maintenance manual often – it will probably have guidelines on the frequency with which you should get things checked out or changed. Additionally, take into consideration what you’re hauling and through which conditions. Trucks moving freight in the mid-west November through March will definitely need more PM than trucks hauling in the south. Staying on top of little issues before they become big issues will help your truck have a long and happy life.
- Start Saving NOW
Get a head start on financing pricey repairs by starting a ‘maintenance’ account. Think of it like your “rainy day fund” for your truck. In the case that you do need to have something fixed, you won’t be stressed out about how you’re going to afford it. We’ve provided this chart on their website in regards to how much owner-operators should be putting away:
Not only can the cost of parts be a setback, but you’ll also most likely have to pay for labor, which won’t be cheap either. Together, these costs can be well into the thousands of dollars. That’s more than a few quarters in the couch cushions.
If you plan on owning your own truck, or driving long-term, learning at least basic repairs will be a must. You never know what, when or where you might break down and have to attempt to fix on your own until you can get to a shop. Some courses are offered online, but hands-on experience is always best. Check with your local repair shop and see if they offer any type of training or if they can refer you to any type of vocational classes nearby. The more experienced and knowledgeable you are about your own truck, the more money you’ll save on outsourcing repairs.
- Know Your Options
Let’s just say you completely ignored the above advice and suddenly you need cash—and fast. Explore your options as far alternate funding so that you aren’t going to go bankrupt trying to fix your truck. Factoring, for example, is a viable option in which a truck factoring company will buy your open and eligible invoices for a discounted rate and advance you up to 98% of the total amount (usually within 24 hours, once you’re approved.) Using a truck factoring company can help owner-operators stabilize cash flow and protect against unexpected maintenance and repair costs that could ultimately hurt or even destroy your business.
Breakdowns and repairs are an inevitable part of trucking life. Making investments in your truck will mean less downtime and greater returns for your business in the long run. Anticipation and pro-activeness can save you a lot of headaches, heartbreaks and debt down the road.