Apr 07 2016

6 Steps to Becoming an Owner Operator

No matter how long you’ve been driving, the thought of working for yourself and becoming an owner-operator has probably crossed your mind at least once. Up until now, it may have seemed like an unachievable goal, but it’s your time. Before you pick out a new truck and kick your current employer out of your life, you need to ensure that everything is in a row and you have set yourself up for success in what is a highly competitive business environment.

To really put you on the road to success, there are a number of decisions and self-assessments that need to be made. While failing to take all of these steps doesn’t guarantee that your new venture is destined for the trash heap, following these steps will dramatically increase the chances that you will look back on these times with fond memories. So use this guide as a general framework to help you build a profitable, self-sustaining business.


6 Steps to Becoming an Owner Operator 

  1. Personal Assessment.
    Take a good, hard look at your work ethic, habits, and other factors that can yield solid answers about the likelihood you have of succeeding as an owner operator. Do you like to spend weekends holed up in truck stops talking to other drivers for hours on end or trolling the internet all night? If so, you may not be cut out for the rigors of truck ownership. Some personal factors you will need to examine include driving preferences, home time, insurance, and your over all end career goal.
  2. Financial Considerations.
    From your personal budget to your possible debt, your finance impact every part of your life. They’re also a critical component in your eventual success or failure as an owner operator. To help ensure that you’re realistically ready to make the leap into full-fledged truck ownership, it’s important that you examine your financial house to ensure that everything is in order.
  3. Go Independent or Lease to a Company?
    One of the most important questions that you need to answer is do you truly want to be independent or do you want to lease on to a carrier? While the answer to this question is neither easy nor short, there is a right answer. Unfortunately, you have to make this decision on your own. You will need to weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision for you and your trucking business.

    The only way to know for sure which way is best for you is to crunch the numbers and see how things turn out for you. Because no two drivers are the same, this is your decision to make, based upon a massive list of factors and variables that can vary from company to company, driver to driver, and even day to day.

  4. Equipment.
    There are no set rules when it comes to being an owner operator and selecting the equipment that you will operate. Horsepower, torque, transmissions, engines, and driving style can all contribute to your bottom line, but the habits and driving style of the man or woman behind the wheel can also play a huge role in profitability.

    The type of equipment you choose to run, the type of operation you may have, and the way you drive will be a determining factor in your profitability. What can your business afford to look good at the expense of profitability and fuel economy?

    Other factors to consider include:

    • Age of the truck
    • Your area of operation
    • How long you’ll be out
    • Fuel economy
  1. Legal and Accounting.
    In order to become an owner operator you will have to choose a business structure for your trucking business and plan for taxes. You will need to find a qualified professional that can provide you with sound advice and help to ensure your success.
  2. Before You Buy a Truck.
    This article was made to guide you through many of the decisions that you will need to make in order to succeed as an owner operator. Carefully consider each item and make the decision that you feel is right.

There is a lot of money to be made in the trucking industry if you make sound business decisions and with common sense, sound planning, and a little luck, you might be one of the thousands of truck drivers living your life’s dream as a profitable owner operator.

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