The Real Trucking Expenses of an Owner Operator

The Real Trucking Expenses of an Owner Operator

  • Do you buy new or used tires?
  • Type of the tires;
  • Number of tires you have,
  • Miles run with one set of tires;
  • The weight of the load you are hauling;
  • Wear patterns of the truck, etc.

Insurance Expenses

One of the trucking expenses that are there month after month, and cannot be avoided is the insurance cost.  There are all sorts of insurances out there, from which you can choose.


You can have one or many insurance expenses, it all depends, but the most common are:

  • Truck Insurance;
  • Collision and/or comprehensive insurance;
  • Bobtail and/or deadhead insurance;
  • Accidental insurance;
  • Health insurance; (You can technically go without it, but that’s not a smart idea because there are penalties for that under the Affordable Care Act.)
  • Disability insurance;
  • Cargo insurance;
  • Workers compensation insurance…

The insurance cost for a single truck is anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 but there are really no upper limits. With other words, it will all depend on which insurance coverage you choose. Bigger coverage means bigger payment so it’s up to you which one you are going to use.

Some insurance are required and mandatory while others are more of a personal choice. Insurance premiums are good to have if you can afford them, of course. Even as a local delivery driver you should have them, and that is even more truth when you are a felon truck driver! Owner Operators should have them too of course!

One thing is sure thought.  If you want more extensive coverage then you will pay more. As simple as that!


The government agencies are working full speed on making lows and requirements on this particular matter. So besides the regular trucking expenses, you should also worry about and try to not upset the government agencies like:

Source: Youtube
Source: Youtube

An average individual health insurance cost is about $3,400 per year. This cost can be reduced if you have family plans. There are few states where workman’s comp is required for individual proprietors, but in most its up to you to decide whether you want it or not.

In case you decide to go with it, then you should add up additional about $ 180 per month on the existing insurance expenses and with that on the overall trucking expenses.

Food Expenses

You might be surprised but the food is also one of the biggest trucking expenses and its right after fuel and truck maintenance cost. As an owner operator you will be out of home a lot. Eating restaurant and diner meals on the road and in the truck stops can add up quick though!


Additionally, on the top of the main meals throughout the day you have the snacks and drinks along the way! So when you think about, at the end of a month / year those overpriced snacks eat up  straight out from your pocket too.

I know we all have that nasty habit of eating. But when you are an owner operator trying to cut trucking expenses and make profit, then this is one field to work on.


I am not saying that you should starve on the road or eat junk food at lower costs. But you should pay attention to your food and drink spending habits and set a budget. And try your best to stick to that amount!

Something that can help you lower trucking expenses related to food and drinks and save you money over the long term is putting a refrigerator and a microwave in your sleeper.

Permits and Special Licenses

This out of all the other trucking expenses will vary from state to state. It will depend on a lot of things and questions like:

  • Are there tolls in the regions you’ll be hauling that will impact your routes?
  • Does your state have recurring business license costs?
  • Are there certain permits or licenses and endorsements that you need in order to transport certain materials, (like hazardous cargo and such)?
  • Are there some private scales that you’ll have to pay to use?

There are many licenses, permits, emissions, tolls and extra trucking expenses that add up over time.

So, be sure to think through what kind of business you’ll be doing, what type of loads you will be hauling and all the costs you might run into.

Some states, like example California, have more stringent environmental requirements than other states. If you  are planning on hauling there, you will also have additional costs associated with emissions testing or new emissions laws.


Furthermore, you should consider and add to your final trucking expenses and the cost of finding loads or with other words finding work.

You may need to pay freight brokers or use free or paid load boards sites, but the expenses are there so make sure you add this to your list of trucking expenses.

Lodging Costs

Last but not least in my article with the real trucking expenses of an owner operator I will include the lodging costs.


Hey! I'm George J.Magoci and I will send you a FREE eBook where you can learn 12 secret steps how to make $950 more truck/month.

Free ebook

If you are traveling overnight and staying very often in places besides the cab of your truck, the lodging costs can be a significant expense towards your overall trucking expenses.


Now, things happen, and it’s all ok when you need to stay overnight at one of the many truck stops, but when it’s a regular lodging or at least two times per week, then you should definitely consider the lodging as one of the trucking expenses that eat up your hard earned dollars.



< Page 3 / 4 >