Being an owner-operator truck driver can be better than working as a company driver. However, it does come with more risks since you’re running your own business. Check out these five things to ask before becoming an owner-operator.
1. Do I Have Savings?
One thing that people don’t realize about becoming an owner-operator is that you don’t get paid immediately. NET 30 payment plans mean that you don’t get your paycheck for a completed job until after 30 business days, which is six weeks in total. If you don’t have any savings to fall back on, you’re going to struggle with keeping the business afloat.
2. Am I Prepared To Track Everything?
Keeping documentation is crucial for running a successful owner-operator business. For one thing, you’ll need that documentation when you fill out your tax deductions for truck drivers. These deductions are vital because they take into account all the things you have to pay for as a business owner, including:
- Truck maintenance
- Licenses and fees
3. Do I Know How To Dispatch?
When you work as a company driver, your employer is responsible for assigning you a dispatcher. This is the person who assigns your jobs and makes sure you arrive on time. As an owner-operator, you’ll have to know how to do your own dispatching, or you’ll have to hire a dispatching company. Some of these companies won’t sign you unless you can prove you’ve dispatched yourself before.
4. Do I Mind Being OTR?
OTR means “over the road” in the world of trucking, and it refers to making long-haul trips. If you’re just getting into trucking and you think being an owner-operator will let you be home every night, you are mistaken. Unless you have other sources of income, you probably won’t make enough money doing only local jobs as a contractor.
5. How Well Do I Handle Stress?
Trucking is not a job for the anxiety-prone. It involves a lot of driving, waiting, and navigating highway systems in places you’ve never been to before. If you tend to get angry at other drivers, or you hate sitting around waiting, trucking isn’t the job for you.
Asking yourself these five things before becoming an owner-operator can save you from making the wrong decision. If you’re new to trucking, it’s probably best to work for a larger company first, then see if you want to be a contract driver.