If you have your CDL license and are looking to branch out, be your own boss, and have higher earnings potential, then you might want be considering the option of working independently as an owner operator trucking company. As an owner operator, you'll be responsible for finding your own jobs and driving your own truck, but you'll also enjoy taking on the jobs you want and not paying any of your earnings to a "middle man."
Before you take the plunge and become an owner operator, though, there are some things you need to know:
Start-Up Costs are Substantial & You'll Need Good Credit
First of all, don't underestimate the costs involved with becoming an owner operator. Specifically, you'll need to either purchase or lease your own rig, which will require a substantial down payment and good credit history. After all, the minimum cost of a new truck is around $80,000, but it's not unheard of to spend $150,000 or more. And if you're not buying a new rig (many owner operators buy used to lower their up-front costs), you'll also need to have a solid stash of money set aside for maintenance and repairs.
Great Drivers Don't Always Make Great Business People
Surely, you're a great driver, but don't make the assumption that all great truck drivers will automatically do well as owner operators. In order to be successful as an owner operator, you'll not only have to be a competent driver, but you'll need to have some basic business and networking skills, as well. It can be helpful to read industry publications, such as Overdrive Magazine, talk to other drivers, put yourself out there, and work on your self-promotion skills if you want to have the best chances for success.
Your Health and Personal Relationships Will Be Tested
Finally, understand that many owner-operators find themselves on-the-road for many weeks at a time, whereas some truck companies often make promises to their drivers that they'll be home every weekend. As an owner-operator, you'll need to have strong relationships that can stand the test of being apart for extended periods of time. Furthermore, being on-the-road all day and having limited dining options during trucking excursions can be tough on the body, so it's also recommended that you be in good health if you want to work as an owner-operator.
Working as an owner-operator certainly has its perks, but it's important that you be aware of the above information before you make a final decision regarding your career.