Start your own Pilot Car Business
Current as of 03/03/2021
Pilot car drivers make sure large trucks and wide loads can get safely down the highway to their destination. Utilizing amber warning lights and signs, they warn motorists of possible hazards associated with the transport of large materials on the roadway. They also warn the truck if there is anything up ahead that can interfere with its safe passage. The best way to make money as a pilot car driver is to start your own business. By learning some basic business skills, being patient, and working hard, you can make a living working for yourself being a pilot car driver.
Step 1: Upgrade your vehicle
With just a few items you will be ready to get started. Make sure to get an oversize or wideload sign that you can stretch across the front and back of your vehicle. Take the extra time to make sure that these signs are secure and air does not get under them, causing them to rip off in traffic.
Your vehicle will need an Amber or Amber/White Warning Light Bar for the roof of vehicle that is visible on all sides of your car or truck. Warningworx carries light bars specifically made for pilot cars. They meet all highway DOT and SAE requirments across the nation. They will also not cause any interference with CB radios, which is a major problem with many LED light bars purchased online.
It is recommended to buy several Battery Powered LED Amber Lights as well for use on low visiblity areas. Red flags are required in most states to be mounted facing upward at a 45 degree angle on both sides of your vehicle. Lastly don't forget to have a hard hat and reflective vest for every employee in case you need to enter a construction zone or direct traffic.
Step 2: Form your business
Suprisingly, forming your own business is very straightforward and usually starts with getting on your states ocrporation commission and paying a small fee to form a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. If you plan on working by yourself, a sole proprietor business may be the simplest solution. However, with a little help from a tax account, and LLC or S corporation can provide thousands in savings during tax season each year.
You'll also need to register your business with your locality, town, county, or city. Reach out to your commissioner of the revenue for more information.
Step 3: Insurance
Dont forget to shop and around and aquire a business owners insurance policy for Pilot Cars. This will be difficult if your driving record is not good so if that is the case, consider hiring employees with good driving records.
Step 4: Acquire a mentor
Although you could be up and running in a matter of days, this can be an overwhelming business for someone new to the trade. If you do not know any experienced people in the business, ask around at truck stops, rest areas, or even call up another local business. They should be able to point you in the right direction for drumming up some work with local trucking companies. Also, ask for general advice and do's and don'ts for your area.
Step 5: Licensing
Every jurisdiction is different, but your best bet will be to call your states highway patrol and DOT to find out what licensing you'll need to be a pilot car driver. If you are found to be operating without a license, the penalties could be expensive and severe. You'll need to do this for your state and any states that you may cross into.
Step 6: Find work
Once you're legal and equipped for Pilot Car driving you'll need to find your first customer. Make a website with one of many services which allow you to easily make your own website so that local businesses can find you. Get some business cards made so you can pass them out as you encounter truckers and trucking company owners on your travels. Word of mouth is the best advertisement, so charge fair prices and be reliable. Stop by trucking companies offices in your area and leave your business cards so if they are in a pinch and their normal pilor car driver is busy, they'll call you. Also look into running google ads to boost your website traffic.
Step 7: Book keeping
Make sure to keep track of all expenses and income for tax season. This is very important since the worst thing that can happen to a business is a visit from the IRS. If you don't keep accurate records then you won't have an accurate tax return. At a bare minimum keep a spreadsheet of all of your expenses and the dates, amounts, and reason. Keep another speadsheet that keeps track of your income. A very small business can keep track of their expenses in this way but as you grow it is imperative that you call a certified personal accountant.