Research by the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that 4.4 million businesses were formed last year — 24% more than 2019’s numbers. Yet for many people this meant staying at home and working remotely. For those not suited to office work and with experience driving vehicles commercially now might be a good time to get into trucking. After all, an FTR Transportation Intelligence report states how truck loadings will increase by 5% next year which, while a small rise in number, is very promising given the 4% decline in 2020.
But despite the opportunities available, is now really a good time to get into trucking? Let’s find out.
Back to pre-pandemic levels
Between the massive increases in freight volume and strong customer spending this year, there are many opportunities for a startup to grow in the trucking industry. In fact, after the loss caused by the economic slowdown, the same report above notes how the freight market will be fully recovered late this year and will continue to grow in 2022.
By the time you have processed your papers, the trucking industry will be in a much better state to conduct business in.
Rise of tech add-ons
The adoption of trucking technology, such as camera systems and collision mitigation sensors, has increased because of the rising movement of the supply chain. Telematics provider Samsara recently reported an 80% year-over-year revenue increase last year. The same upward trend is experienced by other tech startups in the industry like Bendix, MiX Telematics, and Drivewyze. These companies provide a myriad of benefits, from Bendix’s built-in anti-collision technology to MiX Telematics’s GPS transponders. Another reason trucking technology has improved is because modern software has improved error checking to avoid disaster when designing the circuitry. For example, a violation is tagged when the race width and paste mask don’t meet the minimum distance. This has made it easier for manufacturers to streamline the creation of these products, ensuring that they’ll always be available on the market at affordable prices. This is good news for trucking businesses looking to gain an edge.
Truck driver shortage
But despite the customer demand for freight services and the proliferation of technologies in the trucking industry, there’s one huge problem it’s facing: truck driver shortage. The American Trucking Association even warned us that if we don’t have 100,000 new drivers every year, there’s not going to be enough manpower to keep up with the demand. A big reason is because of the fear of venturing out, but there are also other reasons like low average driver pay and the lack of benefits. The last two can be mitigated with competitive pay and other perks. You can also utilize online job boards like Truck Drivers R Us to advertise your openings to a broader audience.
If you’re interested to learn more, here’s a video we did on the topic:
Should you start a trucking business today?
While you may experience challenges because of the aftereffects of the pandemic (such as driver shortages), 2021 is a good year to get into trucking. After all, the market is looking up and there are plenty of affordable technologies to support your business. We have plenty of success stories in the industry, such as that of commercial trucking company Fleeting. Pierre Laguerre formed the company in 2019 before the first cases that would eventually lead to the pandemic and continued to experience growth despite the complications of last year. Very recently, Fleeting even received $500,000 worth of investments from various firms, such as New Fund Lockstep Ventures. Other trucking startups like Shipwell and HaulPROZ are also experiencing similar successes. And with proper planning, your venture, too, will become successful.
Kait Grant for aftdispatch.com