It’s finally time to take the next step in your trucking career. So far, you’ve put in hard work in your CDL Training, and now its your chance to begin a rewarding career!
Previously, in this blog series, we have covered OTR, Local, Specialized and Team Truck Driving. The last stop on our Truck Driving Jobs journey is Owner Operators. Whether you’re a beginner or have been in the driver’s seat for years, Owner Operator could be the right path for you! Having the freedom of being your own boss seems great, doesn’t it?
According to OOIDA Foundation on motor carrier research, there are nearly 350,000 owner operators in the United States, some drive independently while others lease on a larger carrier. Typically, most owner operators have extensive experience, and begin their owner operator career around 37-years-old. However, success is still attainable for those younger (or older) owner operators with any level of driving experience.
Before leaping into an Owner Operator career, it is vital to evaluate your personal desires and aspirations as well as your financial situation. Assess the 4 following areas before beginning your new career.
First, take a hard look in the mirror, and ask yourself what you want from your trucking career. If you desire to create your own work schedule, be your own boss, and plan to build your life on truck driving, you may be cut out for the job. However, you must further assess your personality, current/potential health condition, family and career aspirations to see if being an owner operator is the correct fit.
For further personal assessment, check out The 6 Steps to Becoming an Owner Operator.
Finances Play a Major Role
One of the most important factors in becoming an owner operator is financial stability. How will you come up with the funds to start this new business venture? Some of the costs to consider, on top of purchasing the truck itself, include fuel, truck maintenance and insurance, taxes, and health insurance. In addition to understanding the costs associated with being an owner operator, you must possess basic accounting and booking keeping skills (or hire someone who can help!)
To further understand the costs associated with owner operators, take a look at OOIDA’s Figuring Cost Per Mile article!
Leased Owner Operator or Independent?
Next, you will need to decide if you want to work independently or alongside another carrier. Working independently ensures your freedom as a driver, to pick loads that suit your lifestyle and to drive your truck when you feel like it and on your own terms. However, leasing your truck with another carrier, allows you to have more consistent loads, some driver reimbursements, and trailers provided by the company. It is up to you to weigh the pros and cons between the two options. Ultimately, it comes down to what you value more…having total independence or having load security.
Selecting Your Equipment
Finally, you need to consider what trucks you want, where you will get them from and how much you are willing to pay. Although fancy trucks look great on the road, they cost a pretty penny and may create more expenses for you in the long run. Generally, used trucks are more affordable and will still get the job done. However, before purchasing a truck, be sure to consider its mileage, warranty and fuel economy. Additionally, choose a truck that fits your area of operation. The truck you choose will directly affect the amount of money you can bring in at the end of the day.
Before you begin your new journey as an owner operator, make sure you fully understand the ins and outs of the business operation.
Warren Buffet once said, “Never invest in a business you cannot understand.”
Interested in taking the first step to becoming an Owner Operator? Advanced Career Institute is a California Truck Driving School that offers CDL Training courses in Class A CDL, Class B CDL and Ag Transportation. ACI offers Truck Driving Training Programs at 3 California campuses: Merced, Visalia and Fresno. To learn more about our CDL Training, head over to Our Programs!
Have you read our other 3 articles from this Truck Driving Professions series? Check out our previous articles comparing OTR and Local Truck Driving, Specialized Truck Driving and Team Driving!