Deciding to become an owner operator in the trucking industry can be a tough choice. There are many pros to going out on your own; having the freedom to make your own schedule and the benefits of controlling your profits & managing your own finances are factors that make the owner operator life very attractive. You also don’t have to deal with dispatcher favoritism, and big company policies with which you might not always agree with.

However, it takes a lot to get there and many factors must be considered. 

So, let’s review the 9 considerations that will make the transition to owner-operator life achievable and ensure long-term success.

  1. A substantial amount of savings and the understanding that this is a long-term financial commitment. It may take years to save for the transition, so make sure you are in it for the long haul!
  2. A good credit rating. Check with your financial institution; they will be able to tell you what your rating is and what measures you can take to improve it, if needed.
  3. Business experience. Business management experience along with some legal and accounting knowledge is key. Many local educational institutions offer courses (both in-class and online) to help you get educated in these fields.
  4. Technological savvy. With so much of the trucking industry becoming digitized (think: ELDs, document management, etc.), it’s important to have the right tech equipment and knowledge to ensure success and competitiveness.
  5. Good relationships with third party logistics companies. This can give you access to markets you might otherwise not be able to. And, working with a solid set of 3PLs/brokers will let you be able to select the fright, timelines, and lanes that best suit you.
  6. A good understanding of the regulatory mandates that are related to the trucking industry. Regulatory compliance is necessary – check out the FMCSA’s website to ensure you know what regulations you must comply with for the type of business you are doing and the equipment you are operating.
  7. Benefits. Health insurance and retirement are two key areas that cannot be forgotten if you start up your own business. They may have been previously covered for whatever company you drove for or your previous job. Talk to an advisor to ensure you get the best plan for your age and needs.  
  8. The right operating equipment and a routine maintenance schedule. Trucks and trailers are expensive, so shop around and look out for deals. Make sure you have a good match between the equipment you select and the types of loads you will most often be going after. Also, don’t forget maintenance! Keeping to your equipment’s routine maintenance schedule will often save you from the significant costs that are associated with breakdowns and repairs.
  9. Fully independent contractor vs. leasing out to a company. An owner operator who goes the independent route does not have to worry about office politics, keeps all the profits, and makes more per mile. But leasing to a company also has its benefits, including: access to advances, various payment options and methods, load and freight consistency, and access to fleet rates for things such as insurance, tires, and services, covered costs such as tolls, permits, and gate fees.

Becoming an owner operator is a decision that must be made by the individual, who has carefully weighed all the pros and cons. There is a long list of decision factors and variables that can vary from driver to driver. Make sure you have considered everything, and discuss with those who have experience with the transition to O/O to ensure the decision is the right one for you.

The 9 Things You Need if You Want to Become An Owner Operator was last modified: by