The idea of starting a new venture that would increase income and opportunities for you and your family would be enticing for anyone. Any trucker that has been on the road for a considerable amount of time has toyed with the idea of leaving the employed life and facing the open road as an owner operator. However, becoming an owner operator could be potentially detrimental to your finances, time, and well-belling. As a diligent driver, take time to review the most important aspects.
If you are serious about becoming an owner operator, it is important to understand that you may lose the freedom you have with an employed driver position. These are:
- Many owner operator drivers expect to spend 100 to 200+ days on the road. This time away from family and friends can be expected to increase as you are building the business and taking on new expenses. While being an owner operator gives you more power over your flexibility, you may be forced to operate during times when the work is plentiful but not necessarily convenient.
- If you what the freedom to jump from career to career every 5 years, it may wise to stick with an employed position.
- Owning your own business requires more commitment with the tradeoff being freedom of choice. If you have a poor work ethic or an aversion to challenges, you may be headed for disaster.
Upon the transition to entrepreneur, it is not uncommon to underestimate the expenses or financial circumstances you may incur. For owner operators these include:
- Toll amounts, full priced fuel, regular vehicle maintenance, truck parts, taxes, food, insurance, etc. These items can quickly siphon off any of your gross payment leaving you with less take-home income than expected.
- During the beginning of your business, you'll make much less income as you try to find freight that will pay enough for your business to flourish. Large established trucking companies have the advantage of offering low prices through bulk discounts. This can prove difficult for a budding company to contend with.
- Another factor to remember with any new entrepreneurial venture is that the work will not always be there. You will need to learn to budget and save to get through slow business times.
The most important resource anyone has is time. For self-employed trucking you will need to consider:
- There is a significant learning curve when transitioning to an owner operator. This includes, learning the best routes to take, which mechanics to trust, how to fix your own truck, maintaining operating permits, amongst other things.
- As mentioned before, many truck drivers expect to spend 100 to 200+ nights away from home. Driving your own fleet may require more time on the road and still extra time for maintaining your files and accounting.
- Many successful drivers have the experience of several years and hundreds of thousands of miles under their belt. It will take time to build trust with companies in an industry full of so much experience from others.
If you are considering the self-made lane, remember that it will take a commitment of long nights and years to see your vision come to life. Evaluate yourself to know if you truly have what it takes to meet each challenge that business ownership can bring. Further, do not hesitate to learn the financial ins and outs to ensure success.