How to become an owner operator truck driver

Home » 10 Steps to Becoming an Owner Operator

For the last year, our Becoming an Owner Operator series aimed to help those interested in becoming an owner operator navigate the ins and outs of the trucking industry. Here are our 10 steps to becoming an owner operator:

Step #1 Evaluate Your Personal Considerations

Whether you’re an individual considering a career that allows you to travel across the country, or you’ve been driving a motor carrier’s rig your whole life, there are many things to consider and tasks to accomplish before even considering tackling the road on your own. Our Becoming an Owner Operator series began by assessing four personal considerations: personality, family, health and career goals.

Step #2 Obtain Your CDL

Obtaining a CDL is not as easy as getting your driver’s license. You must pass a DOT physical, choose a license type, determine if you need any additional endorsements, take the knowledge test, obtain your permit, and take the CDL skills test.

Step #3 Consider Your Financial Situation

You’ve taken into account the personal considerations (family, health, etc.) of becoming an owner operator and have obtained—or are on the way to obtaining—your commercial driver’s license (CDL). That means it’s time to tackle your finances and form a business plan that will ideally prevent you from going bankrupt within your first year on the road. This means taking trucking equipment, business loans and licensing, owner operator insurance, and living expenses into consideration.

Step #4 Purchase Trucking Equipment

Purchasing trucking equipment is arguably one of the most frustrating and exciting aspects of becoming an owner operator. Not only does one need to consider his or her financials when it comes to purchasing a truck, but also the type of operation he or she hopes to run. This post aims to help those who are looking to purchase trucking equipment carefully consider what they need for their specific operation.

Step #5 Get Licensed and Registered

Driver’s are required to have certain licenses and endorsements just to drive a commercial vehicle. This post will build off of the foundation laid in Step 4 and discuss other registrations owner operators must attend to before hitting the road.

Step #6 Lease onto a Motor Carrier or Obtain Your Own Authority

There are two classifications of owner operators; those who are leased to a company and those who operate under their own authority. This post will discuss the differences between the two in an effort to help those of you just starting out determine what will work best for your lifestyle and financial situation.

Step #7 Purchase Trucking Insurance

The trucking insurance coverages you need depend on whether you’ve decided to lease onto a motor carrier or operate under your own authority. Take a read to make sure you’re properly covered in the case of an accident.

Step #8 Decide if a Master Insurance Policy is Right for You

Our previous step toward becoming an owner operator discussed the different trucking insurance coverages an owner operator needs. These differ depending on whether s/he decides to lease onto a motor carrier or operate under his or her own authority. This post is for those who have leased onto a motor carrier and are exploring their insurance options.

Step #9 Determine if Load Boards are Right for You

Today’s load boards are typically an online site where owner operators find loads posted by shippers and freight brokers. Sometimes, online load boards also have a Smartphone App option, enabling truck drivers to find loads without having to physically be seated at a computer with an Internet connection. The load boards of today can also be filtered by origin/destination, trailer type, and other determining criteria. Read more to learn the difference between public and private, as well as free and paid load boards.

Step #10 Explore Invoice Factoring as a Cash Flow Solution

Unfortunately, invoice factoring only pertains to those who have chosen to operate under their own authority. However, it never hurts to take a read, especially if obtaining your own authority may be in your future.

Becoming an owner operator is not a decision that should be taken lightly, especially if you wish to operate under your own authority. Truck Writers is here to provide you with the trucking insurance needed to succeed within the trucking industry. Contact Truck Writers today!

How to become an owner operator truck driver

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Introduction To TMC Transportation Paid CDL Training Review

At TruckingTruth, we’ve done a ton of research for you! We’ve contacted the company recruiters at TMC Transportation and put together a fantastic review of the TMC Transportation paid CDL training program.

We’ll start you off with our opinion of their paid CDL training program and then we’ll take you through all of the key features and important information you’ll need to know. Some of what we’ll cover:

  • Student Hiring Requirements
  • Truck Driving School Locations
  • Driver Pay During Training
  • Advantages Of Working For TMC
  • Cost Structure Of CDL Training
  • CDL Training Itinerary
  • TMC Pay And Benefits
  • Vacation Pay And Home Time

TMC Transportation Has Top Of The Line Black Peterbilts!

Not only are TMC’s trucks the best looking trucks on the road, the interiors are designed to provide superior driver comfort. Here are just a few of the features offered on their trucks:

  • Leather seats and top-of-the-line interior package
  • Power heated mirrors
  • CB radios
  • Power steering & power windows
  • Wingman Collision Warning System
  • 13 and 9 speed transmission, automatic transmission
  • Cat C-15 475 horsepower engine and Cummins ISX15
  • Qualcomm System with electronic logs

TMC Transportation Review

How to become an owner operator truck driver

TMC Transportation is a larger company with a long history of success, over 40 years, and new drivers can expect their training to be thorough and top-notch. TMC Transportation boasts that their drivers are averaging $65,000 – $75,000 – and that includes first year drivers. They have a unique payscale that offers a choice between percentage and mileage pay.

Keep in mind that TMC’s training area is limited to students from Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Southern Wisconsin and Southern Minnesota, with limited opportunities for applicants residing in Western Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Texas, and New Jersey.

For qualified trainees from those areas who are interested in starting out in flatbedding, TMC Transportation would be an excellent choice. Additionally, most of their runs are less than 500 miles, and most drivers are home every weekend. As most drivers choose the ‘percentage pay’, there should be less concerned about the number of miles they actually drive.

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About TMC Transportation

TMC Transportation began in Des Moines, IA in 1972 with only 6 trucks. Today, TMC Transportation is the largest and most successful privately held flatbed trucking company in the United States, operating throughout North America. In addition to accepting experienced truck drivers, TMC Transportation offers their own CDL training program, and also hires inexperienced drivers who recently graduated from an approved truck driving school. TMC is still led by its founder, and is employee-owned, through shares gifted to the employees.

TMC Transportation – Specialized Division

We’re growing, so our gain is also yours! TMC is now hiring qualified flatbed drivers to join our Specialized Division. This coveted division was once only available to current TMC drivers, so contact us today before this unique opportunity ends!

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

You want to get on the road, but you want to be your own boss too. You see yourself as an entrepreneur, working hard to get your own business built from the ground up. Not only do you want to do well at your job, you want to excel and push yourself to be your very best.

If this sounds like you, you might have a future as an owner-operator. Owner-operators get to forge their own path, choosing what loads to take, when they want to take loads and which areas they would like to drive in. You will own or lease your truck and/or trailer and be responsible for finding and transporting loads from receivers across the country. Your pay will reflect the added responsibility too, with a larger portion of the freight bill going directly to your paycheck.

Keep reading to learn more about how to become an owner-operator and the benefits.

Steps to becoming an owner-operator

There are several steps that one must take before becoming an owner-operator from buying or leasing a truck to obtaining your own authority. We’ve broken down some of the steps for you below:

Lease/lease purchase

If you have limited start-up money or limited credit, leasing a truck might be your best option to start as an owner-operator. To lease, you will pay a set fee each month or week to continue using the truck for the duration of your lease. Depending on the kind of truck you want, this term can vary from three to four years. After the lease is up, you have a few options. In some cases, you can pay a portion of the cost of the truck as a balloon payment and purchase the truck outright. You might also decide to be finished with your lease and walk away without committing to a purchase.

Prime drivers are given the opportunity to lease a new or used truck with an option to walk away at any point during the lease. With no money down and no credit check required, anyone can follow through with their dreams of being their own boss. Once a lease is completed, drivers will receive a lease completion bonus that can be used toward their next truck or pocketed for their own use. The amount can vary, but to provide an example, the average payout for a 3-year lease on a reefer truck is around $18,000.

Buying your truck & trailer

If you are committed to staying in the industry for a while, you can invest by buying your truck or trailer . Instead of making payments each month to use the truck, the payments you make will instead go toward you owning the truck. To provide a comparison, leasing a truck is like renting your house while financing a truck is like paying your mortgage. It also allows you to avoid a large balloon payment at the end of your lease term.

Those interested in buying a truck or trailer can browse the equipment on Pedigree Truck & Trailer Sales . You can spec your truck to have all of the amenities you want in whatever color you imagine across several brands like Peterbilt, Freightliner and International. They also offer a wide selection of quality used semi-trailers including reefers , flatbeds , and tankers . Pedigree’s trucks and trailers have been expertly fleet maintained, leaving you free from the worry of your truck breaking down in disrepair.

Use your own authority

Want to drive under your name and branding and own your own business? To do that, you will have to obtain your own authority from the FMCSA. Your authority essentially serves as permission to go straight to a receiver to haul a load for them without working through another company. Obtaining your own authority requires that you have a name for your LLC, insurance, correct tax information and all relevant FMCSA paperwork.

Prime’s Power Only Trucking program can help you get your start as an independent contractor by assisting you with broker negotiation and finding loads. Working through Prime’s network, you will also be eligible for a fuel card and EZ pass with Prime’s discount as well as access to new trailers and equipment. For the owner-operator just getting started, Power Only can get you on the road faster than ever.

Benefits of becoming an owner-operator

Owner-operators get to take advantage of a number of benefits. Some of these include:

  • Flexible time off. Do you want to stay on the road two months straight, maximizing your earnings? Go ahead. Want to take a week off to visit family? You can do that. Being an independent contractor means having total control when you work and what kind of work you do. You will need to be responsible enough to ensure your work schedule keeps the bills paid on time, but the actual specifics of your work schedule are up to you.
  • Larger profits. Owner-operators have increased opportunities to earn by receiving a percentage of the total freight bill rather than being paid by the mile. If you choose to seek out high paying loads and go as often as your ELD will allow, you have the potential to earn even more than you may have as a company driver.
  • More control over your career. Being an owner-operator gives you ultimate control over the trajectory of your career. If you’d rather focus on getting the loads you need so that you can spend more time with your family, you can. If you’d rather push yourself to become a top earner and eventually own your own fleet, you can. In the end, you get to decide what your career outlook will be, not anyone else.

Take your first steps toward becoming an independent contractor by enrolling in Prime’s Student Driver Training Program and get paid while you train. Still searching for more information about becoming an owner-operator? Reach out to us today and a recruiter will get back with you shortly.

How to become an owner operator truck driver

August 20, 2019

The United States has a tremendous shortage of truck drivers despite a strong economy and increasing demand for shipping services. More and more people are purchasing products and goods online, increasing the demand for the shipment of products. But with an aging demographic of retiring truck drivers and no new drivers to take their places, there is no end in sight to the shortage of truck drivers. The American Trucking Association estimates that there is already a shortage of at least 50,000 truck drivers and that number is expected to grow.

As the demand for new drivers increases, so do wages offered by carriers. In 2015, the median annual wage of a truck driver employed by a private trucking company was $73,000, which is much higher than the overall average salary for individuals in the United States. Despite high wages, the shortage remains and difficult lifestyle is likely a key factor.

Difficult lifestyle is a factor in the driver shortage

Truck drivers often face a difficult lifestyle, due to a lack of home time and the significant amount of time spent away from family and friends. The lifestyle of a truck driver can be unhealthy because it requires you to sit for extended periods of time, while eating meals on the go. Some say there is a serious lack of respect for truck drivers and that they often face harassment from other drivers, police, and enforcement agencies. There is also a lot of stress on truck drivers to keep up with the ever-changing technology and rules of compliance. Aside from the potentially challenging lifestyle truckers can face, there are a host of benefits of becoming an owner-operator truck driver.

Benefits of getting into truck driving

Becoming a successful owner-operator is not likely high on the list of many youth, but it should be. For one, becoming a truck driver does not require a college degree. Obtaining a commercial drivers license (CDL) is straightforward and can be a relatively quick process. For students out of high school who are uninterested or unable to attend college, or for those who did not obtain a diploma, going into trucking is reasonable way to make a high wage. The earning potential in trucking is high, especially if you get on a track to become an owner-operator.

How to become an owner-operator

Becoming an owner-operator is challenging but poses a good opportunity for young people looking to start their own business. Below is a sample procedure for what it takes to become an owner-operator in trucking:

  1. First and foremost, you must gain experience in trucking before working to establish your own business. Learning the rules of trucking, compliance, regulations, and getting driving experience, takes time. Gain experience working as a company driver for a private fleet while earning a respectable salary.
  2. Next, and this may be the most challenging part, is to determine where your funding will come from. Do you have capital of your own to put towards ownership? Or are you going to take out loans and financing? Do you have good credit? Research your credit score, interest rates and fees before taking any action. Either way, you should develop a business plan that outlines your projected costs and strategies.
  3. Familiarize yourself with all current and coming federal regulations; such as the FMCSA ELD mandate.
  4. Acquire the basics: Apply for a US DOT number and Motor Carrier (MC) number, and obtain health and truck insurance coverage. Determine your business structure, and register your business, filing all appropriate paperwork.
  5. Use telematics as part of your strategy to keep costs and risk low.
    1. Fuel tracking – Gain insights into fuel economy and lower your fuel costs.
    2. Compliance – Automatically track HOS and DVIR, reducing the likelihood for violations for long haul drivers
    3. Fleet dashcams – Mitigate risk and potential reduce false claims
  6. Understand how to calculate your profits
    1. Determine the total cost of ownership (TCO) for any assets you currently have and use this figure to estimate costs of purchases you are considering.
    2. Calculate your revenue per mile
    3. Calculate your cost per mile

Other types of ownership options

Becoming an independent owner-operator is probably the best route to profitably owning your own trucking business, but many drivers don’t have the equity upfront to make that dream a reality. There are other options for drivers to look into including:

  1. Lease operators
    These drivers lease a truck from a freight company and continue to haul freight for that company. Essentially, you pay to lease the truck from the freight company and they pay you to drive it. This is typically considered a less profitable option, but for drivers looking to gain experience in the short term, it’s a good way to get started.
  2. Leased owner-operators
    This option is best for drivers with experience who are looking for more control but don’t have the capital or credit to purchase their own truck outright. As a driver, you’ll lease a truck and then work hauling loads independently. Major considerations include health insurance and benefits provided by big companies. Profit is typically higher when you are a business owner, but if your lease rates are high and you have to pay high rates for insurance, you might consider sticking with a private fleet until you have enough equity to purchase a truck outright.

Why now is the perfect time to start your own trucking business

If you’ve been in trucking for some time and have been considering starting your own business, and being your own boss, now is a great time to take action.

If you have that business savvy, entrepreneurial spirit and experience in trucking, you may already know that the sky’s the limit when it comes to profitability. And now, more than ever, drivers are needed to fill the growing shortage of drivers. The right person, with the right plan, has an opportunity in front of them to transform the trucking industry and to make a lot of money while doing it.

How to become an owner operator truck driver

Kevin Aries

Kevin Aries leads Global Product Success for Verizon Connect, helping build software solutions that optimize the way people, vehicles and things move through the world.

Home » 10 Steps to Becoming an Owner Operator

For the last year, our Becoming an Owner Operator series aimed to help those interested in becoming an owner operator navigate the ins and outs of the trucking industry. Here are our 10 steps to becoming an owner operator:

Step #1 Evaluate Your Personal Considerations

Whether you’re an individual considering a career that allows you to travel across the country, or you’ve been driving a motor carrier’s rig your whole life, there are many things to consider and tasks to accomplish before even considering tackling the road on your own. Our Becoming an Owner Operator series began by assessing four personal considerations: personality, family, health and career goals.

Step #2 Obtain Your CDL

Obtaining a CDL is not as easy as getting your driver’s license. You must pass a DOT physical, choose a license type, determine if you need any additional endorsements, take the knowledge test, obtain your permit, and take the CDL skills test.

Step #3 Consider Your Financial Situation

You’ve taken into account the personal considerations (family, health, etc.) of becoming an owner operator and have obtained—or are on the way to obtaining—your commercial driver’s license (CDL). That means it’s time to tackle your finances and form a business plan that will ideally prevent you from going bankrupt within your first year on the road. This means taking trucking equipment, business loans and licensing, owner operator insurance, and living expenses into consideration.

Step #4 Purchase Trucking Equipment

Purchasing trucking equipment is arguably one of the most frustrating and exciting aspects of becoming an owner operator. Not only does one need to consider his or her financials when it comes to purchasing a truck, but also the type of operation he or she hopes to run. This post aims to help those who are looking to purchase trucking equipment carefully consider what they need for their specific operation.

Step #5 Get Licensed and Registered

Driver’s are required to have certain licenses and endorsements just to drive a commercial vehicle. This post will build off of the foundation laid in Step 4 and discuss other registrations owner operators must attend to before hitting the road.

Step #6 Lease onto a Motor Carrier or Obtain Your Own Authority

There are two classifications of owner operators; those who are leased to a company and those who operate under their own authority. This post will discuss the differences between the two in an effort to help those of you just starting out determine what will work best for your lifestyle and financial situation.

Step #7 Purchase Trucking Insurance

The trucking insurance coverages you need depend on whether you’ve decided to lease onto a motor carrier or operate under your own authority. Take a read to make sure you’re properly covered in the case of an accident.

Step #8 Decide if a Master Insurance Policy is Right for You

Our previous step toward becoming an owner operator discussed the different trucking insurance coverages an owner operator needs. These differ depending on whether s/he decides to lease onto a motor carrier or operate under his or her own authority. This post is for those who have leased onto a motor carrier and are exploring their insurance options.

Step #9 Determine if Load Boards are Right for You

Today’s load boards are typically an online site where owner operators find loads posted by shippers and freight brokers. Sometimes, online load boards also have a Smartphone App option, enabling truck drivers to find loads without having to physically be seated at a computer with an Internet connection. The load boards of today can also be filtered by origin/destination, trailer type, and other determining criteria. Read more to learn the difference between public and private, as well as free and paid load boards.

Step #10 Explore Invoice Factoring as a Cash Flow Solution

Unfortunately, invoice factoring only pertains to those who have chosen to operate under their own authority. However, it never hurts to take a read, especially if obtaining your own authority may be in your future.

Becoming an owner operator is not a decision that should be taken lightly, especially if you wish to operate under your own authority. Truck Writers is here to provide you with the trucking insurance needed to succeed within the trucking industry. Contact Truck Writers today!

You want to get on the road, but you want to be your own boss too. You see yourself as an entrepreneur, working hard to get your own business built from the ground up. Not only do you want to do well at your job, you want to excel and push yourself to be your very best.

If this sounds like you, you might have a future as an owner-operator. Owner-operators get to forge their own path, choosing what loads to take, when they want to take loads and which areas they would like to drive in. You will own or lease your truck and/or trailer and be responsible for finding and transporting loads from receivers across the country. Your pay will reflect the added responsibility too, with a larger portion of the freight bill going directly to your paycheck.

Keep reading to learn more about how to become an owner-operator and the benefits.

Steps to becoming an owner-operator

There are several steps that one must take before becoming an owner-operator from buying or leasing a truck to obtaining your own authority. We’ve broken down some of the steps for you below:

Lease/lease purchase

If you have limited start-up money or limited credit, leasing a truck might be your best option to start as an owner-operator. To lease, you will pay a set fee each month or week to continue using the truck for the duration of your lease. Depending on the kind of truck you want, this term can vary from three to four years. After the lease is up, you have a few options. In some cases, you can pay a portion of the cost of the truck as a balloon payment and purchase the truck outright. You might also decide to be finished with your lease and walk away without committing to a purchase.

Prime drivers are given the opportunity to lease a new or used truck with an option to walk away at any point during the lease. With no money down and no credit check required, anyone can follow through with their dreams of being their own boss. Once a lease is completed, drivers will receive a lease completion bonus that can be used toward their next truck or pocketed for their own use. The amount can vary, but to provide an example, the average payout for a 3-year lease on a reefer truck is around $18,000.

Buying your truck & trailer

If you are committed to staying in the industry for a while, you can invest by buying your truck or trailer . Instead of making payments each month to use the truck, the payments you make will instead go toward you owning the truck. To provide a comparison, leasing a truck is like renting your house while financing a truck is like paying your mortgage. It also allows you to avoid a large balloon payment at the end of your lease term.

Those interested in buying a truck or trailer can browse the equipment on Pedigree Truck & Trailer Sales . You can spec your truck to have all of the amenities you want in whatever color you imagine across several brands like Peterbilt, Freightliner and International. They also offer a wide selection of quality used semi-trailers including reefers , flatbeds , and tankers . Pedigree’s trucks and trailers have been expertly fleet maintained, leaving you free from the worry of your truck breaking down in disrepair.

Use your own authority

Want to drive under your name and branding and own your own business? To do that, you will have to obtain your own authority from the FMCSA. Your authority essentially serves as permission to go straight to a receiver to haul a load for them without working through another company. Obtaining your own authority requires that you have a name for your LLC, insurance, correct tax information and all relevant FMCSA paperwork.

Prime’s Power Only Trucking program can help you get your start as an independent contractor by assisting you with broker negotiation and finding loads. Working through Prime’s network, you will also be eligible for a fuel card and EZ pass with Prime’s discount as well as access to new trailers and equipment. For the owner-operator just getting started, Power Only can get you on the road faster than ever.

Benefits of becoming an owner-operator

Owner-operators get to take advantage of a number of benefits. Some of these include:

  • Flexible time off. Do you want to stay on the road two months straight, maximizing your earnings? Go ahead. Want to take a week off to visit family? You can do that. Being an independent contractor means having total control when you work and what kind of work you do. You will need to be responsible enough to ensure your work schedule keeps the bills paid on time, but the actual specifics of your work schedule are up to you.
  • Larger profits. Owner-operators have increased opportunities to earn by receiving a percentage of the total freight bill rather than being paid by the mile. If you choose to seek out high paying loads and go as often as your ELD will allow, you have the potential to earn even more than you may have as a company driver.
  • More control over your career. Being an owner-operator gives you ultimate control over the trajectory of your career. If you’d rather focus on getting the loads you need so that you can spend more time with your family, you can. If you’d rather push yourself to become a top earner and eventually own your own fleet, you can. In the end, you get to decide what your career outlook will be, not anyone else.

Take your first steps toward becoming an independent contractor by enrolling in Prime’s Student Driver Training Program and get paid while you train. Still searching for more information about becoming an owner-operator? Reach out to us today and a recruiter will get back with you shortly.

Table of Contents

  • What Does an Owner Operator Truck Driver Do?
  • How to Become an Owner Operator Truck Driver
  • What Is the Difference Between an Owner Operator Truck Driver and a Company Truck Driver?

What Does an Owner Operator Truck Driver Do?

How to Become an Owner Operator Truck Driver

What Is the Difference Between an Owner Operator Truck Driver and a Company Truck Driver?

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Becoming an owner operator is considered a bit of a holy grail in the trucking industry. Everyone has considered it, and some eventually become successful owner operators. Essentially it’s like running your own business, and comes with more independence and flexibility. Be careful though, as being an owner operator involves a great deal more responsibility and management tasks. Generally you’ll want to consider being an owner operator only after years of experience on the road as a company driver. Once you’re there though, here’s what you need to do to become an owner operator.

Evaluate and Decide

So you’ve spent nearly a decade as a company driver on all sorts of hauls and trucks across the country, and you feel you’re ready to become your own boss. Now is the time, right? Not so fast!

There are many things you need to take into consideration before being sure that you’re ready to be an owner operator. The first set of factors is professional and financial. Are you financially ready to run your own business? Do you have enough in savings if things don’t pan out for 6-8 months? Where and how will you find a place for closing deals with transportation companies?

If you’re successful, you could be making over $100,000, but many more owner operators will be struggling before they start making a profit.

Perhaps more important than the financial considerations are the personal factors. Are you and your family ready to make such a large commitment? How will this decision impact your family and home life? How will your health be impacted by being on the road for so long? Will your family be able to help you with the business-side? Take all these questions into account before making a decision.

Authorization

The first step is to acquire the proper authorization. You’ll need to acquire the US DOT (Department of Transportation) and MC (motor carrier) numbers. There is a one-time $300 filing fee to request an MC number with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can learn more and acquire the MC number here.

As an independent truck operator, you’ll also need to be covered by the mandatory health and truck insurances.

Aside from being enforced by the federal law, truck insurance will protect you as an owner operator in the event of unpredictable situations.

There are different types of coverage depending on the goods you plan to haul. Learn more about insurance coverage and requirements here.

In general, the trucking industry is heavily regulated. As a company driver you probably didn’t have to worry about this too much besides making sure you follow the regulations the company made you aware of. As an owner operator, you’ll need to be aware of all the regulations ahead of time, and make sure you are in compliance. For example, you’ll need to find out everything you can about the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate and find the right ELD solution for you.

Get a Truck

The next step is to find your own truck. This can be the most exciting and the most frustrating parts of becoming an owner operator. You’ll need to decide what type of operation you want to run to determine what type of equipment to obtain. Having experience with certain kinds of trucks and hauls will give you the edge in making this decision.

You could choose to aim for very general and generic hauls or pick a niche that suits you best. Or you could aim to strike a balance between the two.

For getting the truck itself, you generally have two options. Either buy your truck and trailer entirely or acquire them through financing with the bank. As you can see, this depends heavily on the state of your finances. Most people choose to go through the bank to acquire a truck.

Since this is one of the most cost-intensive steps, remember these two tips: find the best truck deal for yourself and find the bank with the lowest interest rates.

Keep in mind that the bigger your down payment on the truck, the lower your monthly payments will be. Banks will consider a number of factors for the loan including your credit score and history, whether you’ve had a permanent address, and if you’ve had a stable job. This is where your years of experience and preparation will count.

Become Business-Savvy

Being your own boss in the trucking industry isn’t easy. All of a sudden you’ll have to master all sorts of concepts you didn’t think of too much while a company driver. Regulations, compliance, cost per mile, gross revenue, maintenance costs, tax filing, and accounting are only a few of the various aspects of a job. Hopefully you’ve been exposed to all of these for years as a company driver and feel ready to master them.

Most importantly, you need to start being more cost conscious. Your profit is going to depend on two factors: how much revenue you bring in and how much you can cut costs. In fact, you should familiarize yourself with the “golden equation”, which simplifies your finances.

The golden equation is:

  • Revenue per mile – Cost per mile = Gross revenue
  • Gross revenue – Taxes = Net Profit

Once you’ve processed this, you’ll find new ways to cut costs like finding the quickest and shortest routes, avoiding maintenance issues, and reducing vehicle idling. You’ll also need to develop a system for finding loads. Using load boards is a popular method to find freight. These are online sites where owner operators can find loads posted by shippers and brokers. Many of these will have mobile apps for your convenience. Take to your owner operator buddies as contacts to get recommendations of who to work with and who to avoid.

Becoming an owner operator is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a truck driver. Ideally you’ve prepared for it for years, and you feel comfortable and ready for the impact it will have on your life. While you stand to profit more, and enjoy more independence, it comes with many challenges. While this covers the basics of how to become an owner operator, you should also research and talk to many other drivers before making the decision to become an owner operator.

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