Do You want to become owner operator? Well, first you need to know a certain thing before you jump in the middle of that action.
In these days, enough difficult is to keep a business that you managed and developed for a while, difficult because you need to be liquid all the time to keep it going.
If the existing business is hard to keep it alive how difficult would be to start a fresh business and develop it to the point where you will be satisfied with the financial outcome.
Is the trucking business profitable? It is profitable and it is not that scary but you need to have all the information’s before you jump. Being prepared will force you to choose the right things at the right time.
What is owner operator?
We will start step by step to get the full picture of the business and to learn what it is required to be successful in this field.
Owner operator is a commercial truck driver that is transporting goods for its own customers and in that way he or she is not depending on a trucking company when it comes to loads or must do tasks.
There is another option: trucking companies can hire a freelance owner operator to cover some of the loads of course with previously arranged terms of payment for the transport.
The job of being owner operator has positive and negative sides. Maybe having a freedom to make your own schedule is your choice but did you know the rules of playing your own game?
You have freedom to decide your routes, your resting time or your working hours. That is a big deal, but are you ready to have this total burden on your own shoulders. Do you have enough strength to do all this by yourself?
If you are up to this challenge we can start with the first steps.
What are the differences compared to company drivers
When you are part of a company you will do what they need you to do. You do not have to make a schedule to pull the maximum of the task or of the load; there is a special team to do that for you.
As a company truck driver, you simply get your task and you doing your best to cross the finished line at the required time.
It is different when you need to plan the route, the time, and miles. Your budget is not wide enough to afford mistakes, so you need to make the right choice and to make it right every single time.
The idea of getting the full earnings of your labor, sound very attractive right? When you are owner operator satisfaction of working under your own conditions is the best thing in the world, you just spread your wing and enjoy.
But on which scale your satisfaction will be when you need to cover your truck repairs on your own? Not very pleasant, right? Do you spot the difference?
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When you are company driver you
- Need to obey the company rules – these rules are there to prevent reckless driving and with that to protect the safety of the load. Reckless driving can be a reason for penalties against you as a truck driver which will affect the company safety rating too. The rules also exist to prevent unnecessary idling or downtime of the truck.
- Cannot decide when you will drive or when you don’t – your driving behavior is regulated by the trucking company and you cannot make unnecessary stops or delays
- Have to drive the given route – this can be a reason for you to be away from your family for a very long time. You do not have a vote when it comes to the mileage spent on the road because customer is always in the first place and however you are not the only driver at that company who wants to be at home more often.
- Don’t have to worry about the health or dental insurance because the company is covering that – you are having coverage but someone else is taking care of that
- Don’t need to worry about the fuel cost – company will cover that too
- Don’t need to worry about the IFTA taxes
- Don’t have to worry about the cost of the truck repairs in case something goes wrong – trucking company has an annual contract with repair shop for its own vehicles and since the truck is not yours, you do not have obligations for the expense
When you are on your own you
- As an owner operator, you need to be on track with every information that can potentially affect the trucking business
- Need to keep track of your expenses and your incomes
- Keep your eyes on the expenses that can kill your profit
- Do not have health insurance or dental insurance for you or your family members if you are owner operator
- Have to understand the economy really well to take advantage of the moment situations to increase your profit or to prevent unnecessary cost, for example if the fuel cost increase, you have to make sure that the load is profitable for you, if you don’t calculate this cost and you stay on the first load rate you won’t get a cent for your work or in the worst cases you will be forced to spend additional money from your pocket to cover the transport. When you are owner operator driving is not your only concern
- You do not need to deal with dispatchers favoritism or their mistakes
- Need to have good connections with the shippers to get enough loads – you do not have dispatcher to do this work for you remember?
- Maintain good customer relationship – you know that being owner operator you need to ensure friendly relationship with your customers. If they are happy with your service the chances to build long term relationship are huge. Happy customer – steady loads – chances for recommendation – happy owner operator
- Can take time off, without being hassled – you have all the time in the world and it is up to you to make a schedule
- Cover all the expenses for your truck on your own like:
2. Truck Maintenance
3. Truck Repairs
4. Possible penalties
6. IFTA Taxes