Owner operators shoulder a lot of responsibility, on the road and off. If you're just getting started in the industry, it's in your best interest to focus on organization and functionality in the cab before hitting the road. After all, if you have to take your eyes off the road to get to something, you're risking the safety of yourself and others on the road. Organizing your cab not only makes it safer, but makes it more functional as well. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Keeping Your Documents in Order
As an owner operator, you're going to have a lot of paperwork. Not only will you have your orders and your log books, but you'll also have receipts, contracts and signed delivery slips. With so much paper, you're bound to have a mess on your hands.
Get control of your records by going digital. Invest in a high quality tablet that has a camera. With a document scanning application, you can take images of all of your paperwork and store them on a cloud server, which is a virtual storage drive. This gives you the record-keeping you'll need for tax time without the clutter that can come from receipts.
Stock the Essentials
Before you venture out for your first run, you should stock your cab and make sure you have everything you need. Create a list of necessities and another list of needs. Start with all of your must-have items, like pens, notebooks, clipboards for your log books, coffee, snacks and anything else you might have to keep at hand when you're on the road.
Keep Things Neat and Secure
Once you know exactly what you need to have in the cab of your truck, it's time to get things organized. The more you can keep off the dashboard, the safer your cab will be. Evaluate all of the things that you're going to have in the cab and determine how best to secure them all.
Clothing and Supplies
Use the storage compartments beneath the bunks to keep your clothes, assorted supplies and personal items. Keep a day or two's change of clothes and your toiletries in a duffel bag within easy reach for when you need to shower.
Add a rail or barrier along the upper sleeper bed if you plan to use it for storage. This will keep everything from falling off the bunk when you're on the road. A cargo net is a great way to do this, because it keeps everything in place, but is easy to take down when you need to.
Buy plastic baskets for your storage spaces so that you can keep snacks and smaller items organized. Place a pocket container beside your seat to store your log book in so that it is close at hand.
Food and Drinks
Since you'll be logging so many hours on the road, you'll want to have snacks and drinks accessible at all times. Invest in a small, travel-size refrigerator that you can plug in to a power outlet on the truck. Keep water and other drinks handy so that you don't have to stop at a truck stop and risk missing your deadlines or being tempted by truck stop foods.
You can also keep your canned goods and other foods organized in baskets and bins. Use the storage cupboards in the cabin to contain those baskets. Your containers will keep the cans, bins and packets together so that you don't lose anything.
To make the most of your organization and help control your budget, invest in a crock pot or other portable cooking tools so that you can prepare meals on the go. With the refrigerator and your optimized storage space, you can cut down on meals on the road, which helps to improve the bottom line.
As you can see, there are many details to address when you start taking on owner operator trucking jobs. If you are ready to hit the road, follow the tips here to make the most of your space and keep things organized.Share