As you might be clever enough to figure out from the name, owner-operators own their own tractors. Instead of working directly for a freight company, they hire out their services and work on-demand for freight carriers. Some freight carriers only work with owner-operators, maintaining no fleet of their own. Other companies only hire company drivers, and many fall somewhere in the middle: maintaining a fleet of their own with regular drivers, and hiring owner-operators as needed.
Owner-operators work in every area of trucking, from dirt hauling to tow-truck driving and carrying construction equipment on flatbeds. In some cases, owner-operators have to make their equipment match the general look and feel of the fleet they’re driving for – in other cases they just have to meet basic standards of reliability and towing capacity. As an owner-operator, you might just own one tractor that you hook up to different types of trailers, or you could also invest in your own trailers. Some owner-operators are one-man shows and work entirely by themselves. When demand grows beyond what one person can handle, owner-operators may decide to invest in more equipment and hire their own drivers so they can serve more customers and make more money.
Owner-operators usually earn more than company drivers, but the job isn’t for everyone. There are a lot hairy issues around self-employment, and TruckingJobFinder can help you understand how to handle issues like business planning, paying income taxes, insurance and maintenance.
In order to drive your own equipment, you first have to get the equipment. You can either buy or lease a tractor trailer, and there is no single right answer for everyone. TruckDrivingJobs can point you in the right direction. We have valuable, timesaving tips about negotiating leases and where to turn if your credit is less than perfect.
Leasing can be a great deal for a lot of owner-operators, because you can usually get equipment for less money over the short-term, but it’s easy to get stuck in a bad leasing situation. TruckDrivingJobs shows you what to look for in a lease, but one arrangement you should really look into before you leap is a deal in which you lease equipment from the company for which you will be driving. If you want to drive as an owner-operator for Fred’s Trucking service, and Fred requires you to lease the equipment from them, TruckDrivingJobs will show you the right questions to ask to make sure that you don’t end up owing money to Fred, losing money on the deal, or having your hard-earned cash locked up in vehicle maintenance accounts.
If you know you’d prefer to own your equipment directly, TruckDrivingJobs gives you helpful hints about arranging financing. We even have suggestions to help you get a big loan with bad credit.
One challenge about working as an owner operator is that when times are tough, companies with full-time drivers usually give work to their staff drivers first, which can leave owner-operators idle. When you’re not rolling, you’re not making money. TruckingJobFinder provides you with tips for building successful relationships with your employers so that you can keep getting the freight you need.
Long-haul company drivers are usually paid by the mile, and local drivers are often paid by the hour. Some owner-operators are paid by the mile, and others get a percentage of the revenue from the load. That means the more expensive your cargo, the more money you will make. That creates a lot of competition for expensive loads. It a real challenge for a driver to have any idea how much a load is really worth, and companies that hire owner-operators have no legal obligation to disclose how much profit they are making on a load.
As an owner-operator, you have to work to find reputable companies who will pay you an honest revenue percentage, and who will also pay you on-time, without surprising fees deducted out of your check. You never want to have to harass your contracting firm just to get paid. TruckDrivingJobs shows you how to spot the companies that will end up causing you headaches down the road, and how to find good, reliable firms that will keep you rolling without worrying whether you’ll be paid fairly.
Although owner-operators have great earning potential, there are also a lot of too-good-to-be-true offers out there that you need to avoid if you want to keep your job, and your credit rating. Get started on the right foot by understanding the essential elements of equipment leasing. Make sure you know if the company you will be driving for uses forced dispatch, and what will happen if you are ever assigned a load you can’t take (or don’t want). TruckingJobFinder shows you the hazards so you can get to work building your future.