Owner Operator jobs are rapidly increasing due to increased demand. Drivers often choose to become owner/operators because of their desire to be more independent by having more control over their careers. However, equally important is that by becoming an owner/operator, drivers have the ability to increase their earnings and eventually own their own truck. Owner/Operators often have a lot more flexibility in choosing the type of freight they haul, their routes, getting extra assignments, etc. They might choose to become dry van haulers, refrigerated carriers, flat bed carriers or even specialty carriers like auto haulers. Also, an owner/operator usually earns much more than a company driver. It is best to work first as a company driver before making the decision to become an owner/operator. This allows you to gain experience and become familiar with the trucking industry.
Owner/Operators are drivers who own or lease the truck that they use. They can use their own truck or lease a truck from a company usually through a lease purchase agreement. Owner-Operator drivers can lease to a trucking company and operate under that company’s operating authority. This is the choice of many drivers who become owner/operators. In fact the easiest way for drivers to become owner/operators is to lease on with a trucking company especially if they don’t already have a truck. This is especially true if drivers have credit issues which prevent them from being able to buy or lease a truck from other sources. Drivers who enjoy working for their current company may choose to stay and work as owner/operators. However, drivers often check to see if other companies might offer better opportunities for them before actually making a decision.
Becoming a Successful Owner/Operator: Part 1
“Is It The Right Choice”
The trucking company that employed you will allow you to lease one of their trucks often with no money down and no credit requirements. You agree to haul loads exclusively for that company. You agree to finance both the truck and the down payment over a set period of time through weekly payments which are taken out of your settlements. The purchase price of the truck will vary. It will depend upon the truck’s make, model, age and condition of the truck.
You should be sure to thoroughly inspect any truck you intend to purchase in this manner. Many drivers have been burned by making careless decisions. One instance involves a driver who was flown to a different city to put up a truck that he had never seen. Needless to say, he had purchased a lemon.
The company will hold a pre-determined amount of funds in an escrow account to be used for allowed repairs. The amount will vary depending on the company. For example, a company will deduct five cents per mile from your settlement to go into your escrow account for repairs. The escrow account will be funded to reach a balance of $3,000.00. When your escrow account balance reaches $3,000.00, the funding will stop, but the company might require that the balance never drop below $1,000.00. These funds can be used by buy maintenance items such as tires as well as pay for emergency repairs. You can drive with peace of mind knowing that you have funds to pay for repairs.
Becoming a Successful Owner/Operator Part 2:Record Keeping
There are advantages to leasing on with a company. Some of them are as follows:
- Company-provided trailer.
- Load and freight consistency.
- Practical mile pay with higher pay for shorter loads and minimum pay per dispatch
- Average 2500 miles and more per week
- Pre-planned dispatch
- Authorized tolls reimbursed
- Paid permits, base plates, reefer fuel, and lumper fees
- Company fleet rates for the insurance you need to operate your truck.
- Company provided fuel cards, advances and money transfer systems which allow drivers to be paid on the road.
- Weekly settlements with direct deposit option available
- Stop pay and detention pay
- Driver referral bonus
12Becoming a Successful Owner Operator
Part 3: Maximizing Revenue
Owner/Operators are able to choose from various employment opportunities. Operators can typically work as longhaul drivers. They can be nationwide drivers, regional drivers or local drivers.
They may choose the type of trailers they want to pull. This can be flatbed, dry van or refrigerated trailers. There are numerous career opportunities for those who possess a commercial drivers license (CDL).
Deciding to switch from being a company driver to becoming an owner/operator is a major decision which should not be taken lightly. To be a successful owner/operator, drivers must be willing to take on a higher level of responsibility. Owner/operators should have both good self- motivation as well as the ability to work with little supervision.
If you choose this route you must thoroughly research the company and carefully review any contract you sign. In choosing a carrier you should first do your research. Ask other drivers about their knowledge or experience with the company. Your future and success will depend upon the credibility and policies of the company you choose, so choose wisely.
There are many outstanding companies. However, other companies are not. Be sure to choose your company wisely. Carefully, review any contract that you sign. If you don’t understand all of the information in the contract, get help or even hire an attorney to help you. Take the time to be familiar with all of the fine details. The company will be your partner in helping you to achieve your goals.