Anyone who’s ever worked for someone else has dreamt about becoming their own boss – setting their own schedule, being in control of their own income and not answering to anyone but themselves. It’s an alluring concept but one that requires careful consideration, significant investment and being comfortable with less stability.
When deciding to make the transition from company driver to being a truck owner operator, be sure to consider the following factors.
1. What are you really looking for in your career?
Take a really hard look at what you want to get out of your career. Are you more interested in a long-term, consistent work schedule where you always know when and how much money you’ll take home?
It’s easy to say you want to be your own boss. But, it’s a lot harder buckling down month after month and ensuring you’re getting yourself enough miles to provide a decent living on top of the added expenses that come with being a truck owner operator.
This position requires you to be constantly bouncing back and forth from completing jobs to pulling new work into your pipeline. As long as that’s what you’re looking for, that can make truck driving, and your life, even more fulfilling!
2. How much risk are you willing to take?
As mentioned, there’s a lot more risk associated with becoming a truck owner operator than there is with a company driver (who can expect a regular paycheck as long as they do their time). In addition to earning your miles, being a truck owner operator may include covering the cost of your medical insurance, which can be expensive if you also have a family to cover.
Take time to consider whether or not you or anyone in your family is at high risk of a medical emergency or living with a chronic medical condition. While these aren’t necessarily barriers to you becoming a truck owner operator, they’re important risks to plan for from the very beginning. As the old saying goes, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.”
Beyond medical insurance, as a truck owner operator, your entire livelihood will now depend on the wellbeing, longevity and reliability of your own truck. We’ll address this later on. But, becoming an owner operator will move the burden of maintenance and major repairs from your employer to your own pocket.
3. Are you ready for the financial investment?
Ensuring that you’re not just stable now, but also have the spending and budgeting habits to remain stable when your income might not be, is one of the first things you should do before making the transition from company driver to truck owner operator.
First, is the obvious expense of acquiring your own commercial truck. Though it’s exciting, it will also be one of the biggest and most important considerations you’ll make in your journey to becoming an owner operator.
This looks a little bit different for every owner operator so you’ll want to make sure you hit the right mix of comfort, fuel economy and age of vehicle to match what you’re looking for. It’s also helpful thinking about amenities you’d be willing to live without in order to keep your owner operator business profitable.
4. Do you have to dive into the risks of being a truck owner operator right away?
The answer here is quite simply, no. If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely considered the possibility of becoming a leased truck owner operator through lease purchase trucking.
Reading the items above, if you’re worried about taking the leap into becoming a truck owner operator, this might be the right first step. This allows you to work your way towards becoming a full-fledged truck owner operator but allows you to dip your feet into the risk a little before taking the full plunge.
In case you aren’t sure what it means to become a leased owner operator versus a lease purchase trucking, we’ll give a brief run down. Simply put, you’ll be making payments on a truck that’s leased to a trucking company. This can limit some of the upfront costs, as lease payments can vary quite a bit based on the truck you choose and the company you sign on with.
That being said, initial cost savings is just one of the many benefits. Depending on what trucking company you sign on with as a driver, there can be various opportunities available to you like:
- Discounted gas cards
- Company provided trailers
- Reimbursement for permits or tolls
Another perk is you won’t need to worry about obtaining your own operating authority, as you’ll be operating under the authority of the company. In many cases, you also have access to fleet rates on insurance, which can provide huge cost savings from day one as well as reduce the stress of potential unexpected repairs on your truck.
What are your next steps?
After reviewing the information above, take some time to identify what you’re really looking for in your trucking career. Becoming a truck owner operator can be incredibly rewarding and lead to a long and fulfilling career.
Every person’s situation is different, so take the path forward that’s most appropriate for you, even if that means spending another year or two as a company truck driver. Doing this will allow you to get your finances in order and gain the experience you need to become a successful independent truck owner operator.
To learn more about our HAZMAT trucking careers and opportunities, click here to apply with us today.