If you are thinking about becoming an owner operator in the trucking business, there are several things you ought to consider. It’s a major decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Almost every truck driver, whether a newbie to the trucking scene or a seasoned vet, has at one time or another, dreamed of owning their own big rig, and hitting the road to make the big bucks.
But, there are many factors to consider and things you should know, before becoming owner operator and jumping into the money pit, with both feet.
Do you have a good solid understanding of how things work in the industry? How many years have you spent as a company driver? Have you adapted to life on the road? Does it work for you? Be certain a trucking career is for you. Don’t take for granted life on the road and the other challenges of being a trucker are for you, unless you have been a driver for several years. You may learn it’s not what you thought AFTER you’ve bought your first truck!
Your biggest investment is your truck. It’s best to pay a healthy down stroke toward the financing or lease of your rig. If you don’t have the bucks for a down payment, the whole thing might be over before it starts. You’ll also need a big fistful of cash for working capital, when you’re first starting out: cash for out of pocket expenses, insurance (if you’re an independent trucker), meals, oil changes, unexpected repairs.
Think about what’s important to YOU. You have people in your life that you love and respect. You need their support too. Being a long haul trucker is tough on a family. Don’t just assume ‘everyone’ is on board with you. This is one of the most important difficult decisions of becoming an owner operator. Being away from a spouse, partner and family can cause an endless multitude of issues and problems. Long periods of separation can be destructive for even the most stable relationships. Long absences can be devastating for families, too.
If you have serious health issues now, being a successful owner operator may not be within your reach. Being on the road for long periods of time can be an issue for truckers with health issues. Getting medical attention promptly if you have serious medical issues can be a big problem. Even when you’re ill, your equipment payments are still due. Be sure you have enough cash set aside to get you through any unexpected downtime due to illness. Decent health coverage is necessary too, particularly for American truckers. Travel coverage is also an owner operator expense which can be quite pricey.
An owner operator job requires patience, determination, time and hard work. But, it can be done, with proper planning and smart decision making. An owner operator career can be both profitable and satisfying, even in this volatile economy. Connect with industry leaders and learn from them. Those connections can help grow your business in the future, too. Don’t ever become complacent with your knowledge. You’ll also need to continue your professional training. If you plan properly, you can do this while on the road without taking hours away from your home time.
You will be the creator of your success in business. Be sure to give some serious consideration to the five Be’s before making the important decision of buying your own truck. For owner operators, what was your biggest mistake as a new Owner Operator? Share in the comments so we can all learn.
If you are a driver with at least two years experience and no violations, and you are looking for new job opportunities, feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org!