How to Become an Owner Operator

June 10, 2021

Posted By: Nova Lines

Becoming an owner-operator is an incredibly difficult thing to do as a trucker; however, it is completely
worth it. The steps on how to become an owner-operator may differ depending on your experience.
Anyone who is already a truck driver, and wants to make the transition to owner-operator can do so
more easily than someone can with no experience in the trucking business.

You have to keep in mind that trucking is a competitive business and to be an owner-operator, you need
to have good business sense. You also have to realize the difficulty of buying a truck. Even though
initially it may seem like a fun prospect to do, it is similar to buying a house. It is a long and tedious
process, in which you need to be aware of your requirements.

Personal Assessment

Before you decide to be an owner-operator, you must make personal assessments of yourself and
question whether you have the qualities and attributes to a responsible and successful owner-operator.
You also will benefit from assessing your driving preferences. Check whether they align with your
owner-operator driving routine.

Another important thing that you should be looking at is your home time. How much of it do you want?
Moreover, is your goal of being an owner-operator to increase your time away from the wheels? The
answer to these questions is oftentimes a resounding “yes”.

Most of the truckers that want to be an owner-operator usually desire to be a boss and go home
whenever they want. Therefore, if you have family situations that require you to spend the maximum of
your time at home then you can benefit from shifting to an owner-operator.

Moreover, some considerations may even make it unfavorable to transition to owner-operator, one of
them being health insurance. Working for a trucking company comes with certain benefits that you may
not get if you become an owner-operator. In most cases, the company provides you health insurance,
which can save you a hefty amount, if you are someone that needs it.

On the other hand, if you do not require prescription medication or vulnerable to any illness, then it may
not play out as an important factor that keeps you from the transition.

Staying with the Carrier, or Switching?

If you are transitioning from a company to an owner-operator, then you have to decide whether you
want to stay with your current carrier or work for another carrier. Once you have your own truck, you
are an independent party, working solely on temporary contracts, thus, you have to figure out the best
options for you.

The first thing that you should be looking at is the owner-operator salary. Check whether you will be
making more money working for the same carrier as an owner-operator. Find the carrier that will pay
you a good price to work.

If you are new in the business, then you can start with a small carrier, on the other hand, if you are an
experienced trucker, then you can opt for a bigger carrier.

Speculating Your Truck for the Type of Work

Once you have a truck that is ready for work, you need to be looking at the routes that it will be covering
ultimately. This is because every route carries different damage and threat risk, and you need to modify,
maintain, or optimize your truck so that it is ready to take on the rough terrains and challenging risks of
the road.

This involves the equipment, the engine, the wheels, and every aspect of the machine that caters to its
performance. Preparing the truck for the specific type of work will allow you to get great performance,
and more importantly greater fuel mileage out of your truck.

To avoid problems, make sure to choose a truck that helps you get the most value out of your specific
job without burdening you with extra damage costs.

You Need to Have Solid Financing

You will eventually have to pay more if you do not have a good credit rating. Interest rates for trucks are
nothing similar to a car. For example, you can find 0.9 percent financing for a new car, which is an
impossible interest rate when purchasing a truck.

The interest rates are significantly higher for trucks due to the extreme risk factors and high turnovers.
Therefore, you must align your finances so that they are above par and sufficient to purchase a truck
before you can go further in-depth over how to become an owner operator.

Running your Business

You have to understand that as an owner operator, you are now self-employed, and therefore, you have
to learn the ways you will be leading your business.

Do you wish to run your business as a corporation, or as a sole proprietor?

Speculate both and other ways and determine which one is more profitable for you. The best way to
investigate the choice that will suit you is simply to talk to people that are in the business. Get in contact
with fellow owner operators and make decisions based on all the experiences that you gather.

Hire someone to do Your Taxes

As a trucking company, you have to make sure that you have your taxes in place. The best way to do
that is to hire taxing assistance from companies that specifically handle taxes for trucking companies.
Doing your taxes or hiring someone unfamiliar with the trucking industry can be detrimental.

Read Also: What is Per Diem for Truck Drivers?

Agencies that specialize in trucking keep track of the industries and are well versed in the different
policies of trucking. This helps them manage your taxes according to the ever-changing policies.

You Have to Take Responsibility

When you work as a sole provider or as an affiliate with owner operator trucking companies, either way,
you still have to deal with responsibility. Any damage to the truck or any problem that you face is going
to depend on you to solve.

Therefore, as an owner operator, you have to understand the risks of paying big bills and sorting
expenses in damages and repair. Some repairs can also cost a fortune, and so, before you take on the
decision to become an owner operator, you have to make sure that you have the funds to cover large
expenses.

Watching Out for Repair Expenses

One of the biggest pitfalls of being an owner operator is managing expenses. You have to consider the
rising prices of trucks and repairs, and compare that to the average owner operator salary. The biggest
problem that you face as an owner operator is repairs.

If you do not know what potential repairs can damage your pockets, then you will not know how to
handle the instance of a problem with the truck. You will end up calling the tow truck and once you pay
that hefty price just to tow your truck and that will be a huge blow that might make you regret your
decision.

Therefore, as an owner operator, you need to have sufficient knowledge over how much each repair
and replacement can cost. Once you find out, you need to build on funds that act as a safety net
whenever in case you come across anything like that.

Success Rate as an Owner Operator

You have to understand that 60 to 65 percent of truckers that make the transmission to owner
operators are likely to fail within the first three years of buying their truck. Therefore, a good way to
measure success would be to survive the first three years, and see if you are still standing strong. After
the initial three years, the failure rate begins to lower down.

Buy an Efficient Truck and How to Drive it

Initially, you should never invest in a truck that is too fancy, instead, you must look for a truck that is
efficient, reliable, and fulfills the job that your supplier wants you to do. Another important factor of
being an owner operator is learning how to drive the truck.

If you do not have at least three to five years behind the wheels, then you should reconsider your
decision in being an owner operator. Your experience of driving the truck will help you take care of your
truck in a better way. In other words, it will reduce the risks of damages.

To Conclude

There is so much to consider when breaking down the considerations on how to become an owner
operator. This decision can present you with plenty of tough times and breakthroughs, but if you have
the will and persistence to carry it through, then it will be completely worth it.

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