Is Being an Owner-Operator Worth It?

Is Being an Owner-Operator Worth It?

If you’re a company driver or have been in the trucking industry, you probably have wondered if being an owner-operator is worth it. This article will share important details about being an owner-operator and if it is worth it.

What is an Owner-Operator?

An owner-operator is a self-employed commercial truck driver who owns their own trucking company and unit. Essentially, an owner-operator is in control of the success of their own business rather than a company driver who works for a trucking company.

Most owner-operators start out as company drivers until they have gained experience and an understanding of the trucking industry.

How Much Do Owner-Operators Make?

Owner-operators make around $100 – $175k (USD) per year gross, with an average salary of $167,288.

How to Become an Owner-Operator?

Here are a few things you will need to obtain in order to become an owner-operator:

  • Get a USDOT number. Once you form your business entity, you can apply for a DOT number which identifies your company.
  • File for a Motor Carrier (MC) number. If you are operating across state lines, you will need to obtain a MC number. However, depending on your business type and cargo hauled, it is important to contact the FMCSA.
  • Obtain commercial trucking insurance. The FMCSA requires trucking authorities to have proper liability coverage. Using a commercial trucking insurance agency can provide you with solutions tailored to your business and understand the nuances of your business.

Once owner-operators have obtained the above requirements, they will need to obtain a truck and find out what cargo commodities they will haul. Most new owner-operators will obtain loads through a load board. Once a truck driver has built relationships and their reputation, it eventually becomes easier to find direct contracts and dedicated routes.

Owner-Operator vs. Company Driver

An owner-operator operates every aspect of the trucking company rather than being employed by a trucking company. Each type has their own pros and cons including the following:


  • Responsible for operating the trucking company, obtaining loads through load boards, and managing expenses.
  • Purchasing trucks or lease purchase units.
  • Maintaining the safety and efficiency of your trucking operation by completing pre-trip inspections and driver safety.

Company drivers:

  • Deliver loads in a vehicle provided by the trucking company their employed by.
  • Expenses are paid by the employer including maintenance, fuel, insurance, and more.