Many of us are drawn towards remote working for the flexibility and freedom that it can afford us. The ability to work from home means less time commuting and more control over your daily life. Those with the necessary ambition and self-motivation can truly thrive in this working environment and might find their entire quality of life is improved as a result.
Starting a new business as a remote worker can be challenging but it can also be highly rewarding and gives even more control over your daily schedule and your workload.
Truck dispatching is an overlooked opportunity and one that can allow remote workers to earn a substantial amount of money. If you’re highly organized and are willing to do plenty of research, this might be a great new career path for you. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about home-based truck dispatching.
What Does a Truck Dispatcher Do?
As a truck dispatching business owner, you might choose to work as a contractor for a trucking company and simply provide your administrative services to manage the dispatches between their drivers and clients. Alternatively, you might choose to hire or buy your own trucking fleet and employ your own drivers. Either way, the role remains much the same and involves a wide range of responsibilities and daily tasks.
Truck or freight dispatchers are essentially responsible for managing the scheduling and logistics of all pick-ups and drop-offs to and from customers. They provide a vital service to trucking companies as they ensure customer satisfaction and the efficiency of all operations.
To give you a rough break down of the role, let’s take a look at some of the primary responsibilities a skilled dispatcher will undertake:
- Firstly, dispatchers will find suitable freight loads for trucking companies to take on. They do this by liaising with clients and negotiating prices. This means the trucking company maintains a steady workload and ensures a fair price for the client.
- Secondly, truck dispatchers will manage the schedule of the drivers. This means arranging pick-up and drop-off times and dealing with any delays or cancellations. To maximize efficiency, dispatchers will also often identify the optimal route for the drivers to take.
- Dispatchers are also likely to be responsible for a multitude of administrative tasks. These might include handling payments and processing invoices; updating records and collecting data from drivers, and carrying out meetings with potential clients.
When starting your own truck dispatching business from home, you’re likely to be solely responsible for most of these tasks and roles, however, as your business grows, you might choose to outsource elements of the job to contractors or employees.
Does a Truck Dispatcher Need Any Specific Skills or Experience?
This line of work calls on a whole host of skills and expertise. You’ll need to have excellent time management skills. Not only will you be managing your own schedule and workload, but you will also be handling the schedule of the drivers that you work with while striving to meet the time constraints or needs of clients.
You’ll need to be highly organized and have good administrative skills. Communication skills are also vital in this role, particularly because you will be working remotely. You’ll be required to maintain regular communication with trucking companies, drivers, and clients. Upholding effective communication with each of these groups is likely to present some challenges when doing so remotely, so you will need to be highly skilled in communicating effectively and handling any issues quickly and appropriately.
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What About Qualifications or Legal Permits?
As a truck dispatcher, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the relevant permits and training required of qualified trucking dispatchers in the United States.
In most states, you’ll be required to hold at least a high school diploma in order to obtain your dispatcher’s permit. It’s also a competitive and complex industry, so some professional experience is likely to be extremely helpful. Perhaps consider looking into training options with local businesses or associations before going ahead and starting your business straight off the bat. There are also a number of websites that offer courses or training on dispatching.
Truck dispatchers must also have adequate insurance. This is especially important if you’re going to be using your own trucks and drivers to move freight, but you should also make sure that you personally are insured for any liability if you’re working as a contracted dispatcher to an external trucking company.
Finally, be sure to check with your state’s laws regarding dispatching permits. The industry is generally regulated by local authorities and many ask that dispatchers hold the relevant permits to enable them to operate within the state.
How Much Could You Earn as a Home-Based Truck Dispatching Business Owner?
It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much you are likely to earn as a truck dispatcher. This will depend on your specific business plan and whether you have chosen to work as a self-employed contractor or as an independent dispatcher with your own trucks and drivers. It will also depend on how many trucks you’re managing on a regular basis and the type of freight these trucks are handling
Jobs that are considered high-risk, for example, those handling explosives or sensitive materials, are always likely to be the highest-paid. Other well-paid jobs include those with strict time constraints or those that handle medical or legal documents and equipment. If you’re able to secure contracts with a number of high-paying, consistent clients, this can be an extremely lucrative business.
If you’re working as a contractor for a trucking company, you’re likely to earn a commission for each of the clients or jobs you’re able to secure. This can also add a nice little boost to your regular income.
The average hourly rate for a dispatcher within the US tends to fall around the $20 mark. However, this could increase significantly if you’re able to handle multiple trucks and jobs at once and you have built up a consistent network of clients.
According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for a home-based truck dispatcher is $55,748 (or $27 per hour).
Tips for Getting Your Business Up and Running
Now that we’ve looked at what this type of job is likely to entail, we should take a look at how exactly you could get started as a home-based truck dispatching business owner. Here are some tips and tricks for getting your business up and running successfully:
1. Undergo Some Initial Training
Even if you feel that you already have all of the skills needed of a successful truck dispatcher, it’s never a bad idea to invest in some training and set yourself off on the best possible foot. Depending on your location, this might even be a requirement of local laws before starting up your dispatching business.
There are a number of online courses (like this one) available that will tell you all you need to know about dispatching and running your own business. Many of these are reasonably affordable and are likely to provide you with highly valuable information. Clients are also likely to look upon this favorably as it will prove to them that you are highly skilled and qualified to work with them.
2. Get Your Paperwork in Order
Whether this means obtaining the relevant licensing; making sure you are adequately insured, staying on top of all invoices, or just handling all of your administrative tasks effectively, this job requires high levels of organization and it also comes with plenty of responsibility. If challenges arise or issues occur, you will need to make sure that everything is in order to ensure these can be dealt with effectively.
As a dispatcher, you could be liable for the safety and security of the freight and the drivers. This means it is incredibly important that you have all of the necessary insurance and licensing in place.
3. Invest in Some Dispatching Software
Dispatching software could greatly improve the speed and ease with which you can complete daily tasks. This kind of software will enable you to manage multiple schedules and track the whereabouts of each of your trucks. This makes your job significantly easier, as you can easily update schedules and communicate with drivers, while also maintaining customer satisfaction and ensuring any delays or amendments are relayed to the relevant parties as soon as possible.
There is an abundance of software out there providing dispatchers with useful tools and features. It’s true that this kind of software can be pretty expensive, with some costing as much as $4,000, however, most offer free or discounted trial periods and then monthly plans after that, so perhaps consider trying some out before committing to one provider.
4. Do Your Research
As with any new business venture, you will need to carry out extensive market research to enable you to price your services competitively and also gain a clear scope of the local market.
Start by looking at other businesses providing similar services within your locality. How much are they charging? What kind of services are they offering? Do they appear to be successful? What can you offer that will enable you to compete with them? Each of these are important questions to ask.
This is also a great way of identifying potential clients or customers. By gaining an understanding of the needs of local businesses, you can tailor your pitches to fit in with their specific demands.
5. Market Your Business
Finally, arguably the most important aspect of any new business is to market yourself and your company effectively. This means investing in advertising to raise brand awareness and build a recognizable name for your business within this industry.
Network with potential clients and consider offering discounted rates on their first orders. This is a good way of proving your competence, and if they’re happy with the service they are much more likely to use your services in the future.
Reputation and word of mouth are a vital part of the success of any new business, so go above and beyond to ensure the satisfaction of your customers or clients to cement yourself and your business as a front runner in the truck dispatching industry.
Starting a home-based truck dispatching business is likely to be challenging and there will undeniably be multiple obstacles and issues to overcome throughout the process. However, once you have put the time and work in and have built a consistent workload and client-base, it is also extremely rewarding and can be highly profitable.
The truck dispatching industry is competitive and complex and the role of a dispatcher can be highly demanding. Because of this, it is vital that you carry out adequate research and undertake any necessary training to ensure that you are fully prepared for your new business venture and have every chance at success.