Bobtails are tractors without the trailers. In many instances, companies use trailers for storage, so they need more trailers than bobtail trucks. Owning multiple trailers helps deliver goods faster. A frozen-foods distribution company, for instance, will use a refrigerated trailer to deliver perishables for long hauls. While drivers are busy making deliveries, warehouse staff load empty trailers. If a company needs a delivery made before their perishables go bad, they will outsource the work to someone who has their own tractor.
Identify potential load customers. Note the companies in your state that make big hauls, such as grocery stores, restaurants, distribution companies and most retail wholesalers.
Set up a website as a lead generator. Hire a web-design specialist to build the site. Web design specialist may charge by the project or by the hour anywhere from $50 to $5000. Review the designer’s samples before making a choice.
Buy a laptop and a portable wireless device. Check your emails and inquiries on the portable device while you’re on the road.
Build a contact list. Use software to organize your contacts. Whenever you meet someone, collect her business card and store her information in your database. Contact storage warehouses in the state and let them know that you're available.
Add as many brokers as possible to your list. In the book “Careers in Trucking,” Donald D. Schauer writes, “A visit to almost any truck stop will find a bulletin board covered with calls for owner-operators. These are usually offered by brokers who sit in a small office and use a telephone or computer to find loads of freight through their contacts with shippers searching for owner-operators to haul goods.”
Review online load boards. If joining is free, sign up and apply for any loads that you are qualified to carry. Send an email to introduce yourself to the employer. If sign-up is not free, get recommendations from other bobtail drivers who use the board before you pay the fee to join. Make note of any companies that regularly post on the boards. Add their contact information to your database.
Follow up with a phone call. Reintroduce yourself and let the prospect know that you are available to take his load and give him a possible timeline for delivery.
Advertise in classified ads. Keep it short and simple and don’t forget to include a contact telephone number. Tell customers what you do in as few words as possible. Let them hear the details when they call you for more information.
Respond to any inquiries that you receive from your website. Respond by email within 24 hours of receiving their information. Follow up with a phone call within the next 24 hours.
Lease your truck to a fleet that has more work than they can handle. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, around 8 percent of all truck drivers and driver/sales workers are self-employed. Of these, a significant number are owner-operators who either serve a variety of businesses independently or lease their services and trucks to a trucking company. Get to know fleet owners in your area. Add them to your database. Keep in contact with them regularly. Shoot them a quick email when your schedule is empty.
- derelict tractor trailers in a row image by Bo Widerberg from Fotolia.com