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How to Become an Owner-Operator 
 
by Allen Butler August 24, 2005

Being an owner-operator has many advantages. It puts you in charge of your truck-driving career. Your truck, your choices of where to go, when to go and what to haul. But it is also more difficult: you have to keep your truck running, find jobs, pay for gas, cover all of your expenses yourself, there is no carrier to do it for you.

Being an Owner-Operator

You long for the life of the open road, sitting behind the wheel of your truck, driving across the country hauling loads far and wide. But you want more than to be just a driver for a carrier, you want to be your own boss, and make your own decisions.

Being an owner-operator can have many advantages over driving for a carrier. Owner-operators can make quite a bit more money than they would driving for a company. Many successful owner-operators even go on to buy more trucks and hire their own drivers as well, creating their own fleets.

But being an owner-operator is much more difficult that simply being a truck driver. When you own your own truck, you are in charge of all upkeep of your truck. You are in charge of buying gas. You are in charge of all payments to keep you on the road. This can prove to be quite expensive.

Because you don’t just have a job, you have your own business, you also have to pay for many things that normally a carrier would pay for: health coverage, dental coverage, truck insurance, life insurance, workman’s compensation, etc.

Being an owner-operator is a very involved business, far more so than driving a truck. If you want to become an owner-operator, the most important thing is: be prepared. Before you make the step into the world of owning and operating your own truck, make sure that you know what you’re doing. You might be a great driver, but in order to succeed you also have to be a good businessman.

Don’t Jump in Too Fast

A sad fact in the owner-operator world is that many owner-operators can fail or go bankrupt within the first year of running. One of the major reasons for this is truck breakdowns. When you own your own truck, there is no carrier to pay for major repairs, you have to pay for it yourself.

What happens if the truck you have bought has a major breakdown and you don’t have the money to pay for the repairs? You can’t make any more money because your truck is out of commission. What are you going to do?

Before deciding to become an owner-operator, it is best to make sure that you have a large amount of monetary resources to fall back on should something go wrong. Something doesn’t always go wrong, obviously that is the exception to the rule. But if something happens, you need to be prepared or you could see everything you’ve worked for be lost. There is no safety-net for the owner-operator besides the one you make yourself.

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