Lately, the trucking industry has been doing incredibly well. Choosing to become a truck driver can be a great career decision, and no matter the jobs you’re doing, it can be especially lucrative. Perhaps you’re just beginning your career and need guidance on where you want your path to take you. Or maybe you’re an experienced truck driver looking for a little more freedom in your work life.
There are two main types of professional truck drivers. The first type is a company driver and the second is an owner operator driver. Both of these jobs have great benefits as well as some negatives. However we’re here to show you what pursuing a career as an owner operator or independent truck driver might look like.
What is an Owner Operator?
While we got into the difference between a driver who works for a company and an owner operator earlier, you might still be wondering: what exactly is an owner operator driver? As opposed to a company driver, which unsurprisingly means that you drive for a specific company, an owner operator driver is independent.
Owner operator drivers are what one might call self-employed. The idea of an owner operator is that they run their own small business and take care of the daily tasks and responsibilities of that business. The owner operator truck driver works independently, without a specific company that employs them. This means that they work with multiple regular shipping clients.
As an owner operator, you will likely have to own or lease your truck and other equipment. Additionally, once an owner operator begins to get regular clients and bulking up their business, they often employ a few other drivers and own multiple trucks.
Benefits of Being an Owner Operator
There are plenty of benefits to becoming an owner operator. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the things that you can do as an owner operator truck driver that you can’t do as a company driver. Given the limitations put on company drivers, becoming an owner operator might feel like a breath of fresh air to you.
Freedom and Flexibility of the Work
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but people underestimate how much freedom you get when you’re an independent driver. Because you act as your own boss while driving independently, you get to choose what loads you want to take. Having the choice of many clients seeking your assistance gives you the freedom to choose where you go and how much time you want to spend on a trip.
Tax and Wage Benefits
As an owner operator, or really, a small business owner, you are eligible to receive many tax deductions for your business. For a company driver, these benefits don’t apply. As for wages, you get to earn as much as you need. You’re the boss, so you get to decide your own salary. While there’s plenty of work involved in beginning your owner operator journey, independent drivers have the potential to make more than company drivers.
Choosing the People you Work With
When you go to work for a company, you don’t get a say in who your fellow workers will be. This can be frustrating for people who have different work ethics. So, if you find yourself butting heads with your co-workers a lot, that might be a sign to become an owner operator.
This also goes for the people you might employ down the line as your business grows. You’re the boss, so you get to choose the employees that you think best fit your work practice. Additionally, if you don’t like working with a specific client, you can simply choose not to haul for them again.
How to be an Owner Operator
So, if you’re interested in taking on the benefits of becoming an owner operator truck driver, you might be wondering where to start. It’s not an easy choice to make, and we recommend that you read on and take these points into consideration. Being an owner operator gives you more freedom, but with that freedom, comes responsibility.
1. Experience is a Plus
While people who are new to truck driving certainly have begun by starting an owner operator business, experience on the road as a company driver can help you tremendously. Not only do you have more experience driving, but you also know the structure of the logistics surrounding the shipping process.
2. Do Your Research
Do your research on all levels. You should assess your own personal situation regarding work and finances. If you don’t already have a commercial driver’s license, you’ll need to take all the necessary steps to get it.
Then, you’ll need to register your business with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). There are plenty of business structures you can apply for, so you’ll need to find out which one applies to you and your work the best.
3. Decide to Lease or Buy a Truck
This is a huge financial decision to make because this is a lot of money on the line. However, once you actually begin running your business, you can make enough money to buy or lease multiple if you want. You’ll also need to keep in mind the cost of truck insurance.
4. Outline a Business Plan and Get to Work!
In order to outline a business plan, you’ll first need to create an executive summary. Essentially, this is just a description of your business, the work you do, and who you provide services to. Then, you’ll need to develop a marketing plan to get clients. And of course, you should have solid goals and projected milestones for your business. Once you find your clients, all you need to do is get to work.
Should You Become an Owner Operator?
If you’re up for the work and the responsibility that comes with being an owner operator, you should take the leap. While it’s not an easy process to begin with, becoming an owner operator elevates your work status in the long run. Being able to call your own shots and be your own boss often pays off in the end.
If you’re interested in learning more about how to become an owner operator or how to become a truck driver in general, contact us at Heavy Weight Transport, Inc. We specialize in drayage, transloading, and warehousing.