Start Driving with a Sprinter Van
Updated: Dec 17, 2021
A lot of people are interested in getting into the transportation industry as an owner-operator but lack the money needed to buy a semi-truck. Semi-trucks are a very expensive investment, not just the truck itself, but you also have to buy a trailer, pay for storing your truck when you are not driving it, and pay for the insurance on it which is very high compared to other vehicles. If you haven't already, you may want to consider starting off with a sprinter van. A sprinter van is a great way to start driving and gaining experience as an owner-operator but is by no means an easy thing to do. Here are some points to keep in mind if you are considering beginning your owner-operator career with a sprinter van.
Sprinter vans carry much less financial risk while still allowing you to get into the industry and make money. Not only are sprinter vans less expensive to purchase, but the insurance is also less expensive and maintenance is less expensive, making it a very appealing option to those who want to become an owner-operator. So if you have your heart set on becoming an owner-operator but lack the capital you need to purchase a semi and a trailer, a sprinter van may be a more realistic option for you.
Here is where things get a little messy with sprinter vans. If you are just starting out with a brand new authority you are going to find your biggest challenge when it comes to booking loads. Loads for sprinter vans on popular load boards are few, and the few that are available are usually posted by companies that are unwilling to work with new authority holders.
It is very important that you do your research beforehand! Research what load boards cater to smaller loads like Hotshots and vans. Search for expedite load boards: these are load boards that only post small loads for box trucks, vans, and hotshots. Most importantly, research which companies work with new authorities. You can accomplish this by simply going on different load boards, checking out the loads and calling the companies that post the loads, and simply inquiring. It is a lot of leg work but it will set you up for success in the long run.
Once you have had your motor carrier authority for around 3-6 months you will notice a significant uptick in the number of loads that become available to you and things will progressively start to get better and easier for you. This is simply because companies want to work with owner-operators who have some experience, even if it’s just a few months. When you hit 9 months to a year with your authority you should begin reaching out to companies to get contracts with them. This is when you will really start to see a rapid return on your investment.
Starting off your owner-operator career with a sprinter van has its pros and cons and just like anything else you will have to put time and energy into it in order to be successful. Don’t jump into it without doing all the necessary research first and don’t expect instant success. Sprinter Vans are a niche market and you will need experience and patience in order to dominate it.