Trucks don’t have the best reputation in the Philippines. They remind road-users of freak accidents, mostly involving trucks losing their brakes. For a trucker or an aspiring one, this can be an obstacle to doing business.
But venturing into the transport industry can lead to a bright future. With Filipinos shopping online more than ever, you can secure a market for your services. Popular e-commerce platforms Lazada and Shopee rely on truckers for their imported products. Small businesses are the same. So even if malls and department stores, which are the primary market of truckers, suffer a decline in customers, you won’t lose a market. E-commerce platforms need you this time.
Trucking in the Philippines
Trucking is a competitive industry in the Philippines. To succeed, you need a solid business plan and a big picture of your way forward. You may target e-commerce platforms at this time, but as the years go by, not to mention the pandemic’s effect receding, what would be in store for you? Should you keep focusing on e-commerce platforms by then?
While determining your exact niche is important, you shouldn’t forget to consider how the future will affect your trucking business. That means being open to other sectors, like corporate or residential moving, garbage transporting, etc.
Other common sectors include delivery services, courier services, and truck leasing. Those three are profitable at this time. Before the pandemic, scaffolding transport and event equipment transport are also profitable. You may consider those sectors today, but until we end this pandemic, they remain risky markets.
As with any other country, you need investors to kickstart your trucking business. It’s not a strict requirement, but it will give you greater momentum for launching into the industry. Filipino investors seek a market analysis, in which your target market, direct and direct competitors, and type of services are described in detail.
You should also outline the major trends and the key players in your business. Then elaborate your strategies to show your potential investors that your trucking business will be essential in the market and the economy. Remember, it’s already a competitive industry, so you need to prove that you can make a difference.
If you impress your investors, they could endorse or refer you to high-end truck dealers. With the top high-performance fleet, you can attract big corporations as your first clients.
Truck Drivers in the Philippines
This is where you might face your first major obstacle. Finding a qualified and trustworthy truck driver can be challenging, with many truck drivers involved in fatal road accidents in the Philippines. While many of these incidents aren’t the truck drivers’ fault, they still get the brunt of it. The fleet operators also get the blame.
That said, you should find a driver with a talent for sensing and avoiding tricky situations. They must be experienced drivers with a keen eye for detail. And as with the requirements for getting a professional driver’s license, driver candidates must be physically and mentally fit to operate a motor vehicle. Considering that truck drivers work at ungodly hours, they should be healthy enough to stay alert while driving.
That means resisting the temptation to overspeed or beat the red light. They should also inspect their surroundings thoroughly before reversing or swerving. Installing blind spot mirrors will help them see bikers or pedestrians who might be in their way.
This is yet another challenge; fleet maintenance is the responsibility of the owner-operator. Drivers have their share of responsibilities too, but ultimately, it’s the owner-operator’s fault if the truck causes an accident because of a poorly maintained engine.
Proper maintenance will allow you to save fuel costs and minimize your carbon footprint. These are highly crucial, given the traffic situation in the Philippines. Fortunately, big trucks are only allowed to use the road late at night and at dawn, when the roads are de-congested. Still, there would be times when you need to join in the rush hour.
Truck maintenance isn’t that different from car maintenance. It also requires regular oil changes, servicing, and washing. The old, rattling trucks you see on the road aren’t good examples of a well-maintained truck, despite their normalcy on Philippine highways. To keep your clients’ and other motorists’ trust in truckers, you should prove that owner-operators are capable of keeping their fleet good as new.
Investing in trucking technology will help you stay on top of your maintenance responsibilities. And of course, your drivers should be aware of potential signs of wear or malfunction. “Dragging brakes”, for example, is something they should recognize as a safety hazard. They must report that to you at once.
Trucking is a profitable business in the Philippines, but it has its fair share of risks, like any other business venture. That said, you need to be extremely meticulous and responsible to operate this business. When your drivers are on the road, the lives of other road-users might be in their hands, so stress safety in your business plan.