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:
- Obtain your commercial driver’s license (CDL). In order to operate a commercial vehicle, you must obtain a commercial driver’s license.
- 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.
- 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.