Truck Owner Operator Expenses Can Add Up

Becoming a truck owner-operator is not only a business decision, it’s a big financial investment. If you have an organized business plan and a reasonable budget, you can turn owning and operating your own truck into a long-term, rewarding career.

Some of the different owner operator expenses you will be responsible for include:

Soft Costs

Soft costs are out-of-pocket expenses during your route that include entertainment, meals and accommodations. These costs can easily go unnoticed and add up over time. An average day of expenses for a driver who spends 300 days away from home looks like the following:

  • Breakfast – $6.00
  • Lunch or Dinner – $15.00
  • Coffee and Energy Drinks – $8.00
  • Entertainment (Books, Music, etc.) – $5.00

Total Cost= $34.00 per day

These costs can add up to more than $10,000 a year, and can amount to even more if you drive in and out of the country. Make it a habit to track your soft costs every day or every week, in order to find ways to lower costs. Write down your daily or monthly soft costs, multiply them by the amount of driving time in days or months, and divide them by your annual mileage.

Maintenance & Repairs

One of the trickiest parts of being a truck owner-operator is budgeting. You can never know how reliable your truck is going to be, so it’s important to set aside a portion of your money to deal with repair costs. According to experts, a driver who covers about 100,000 miles a year should expect to spend $66,984 for repairs over five years.

Fuel Costs

Diesel fuel is not cheap. A driver who drives 100,000 miles a year will need about 16,667 gallons of fuel. At $3.99 a gallon, this means you will have spent almost $67,000 in gas. A good way to save money is to invest in a more aerodynamic truck. An aerodynamic design will help cut down on drag and in return increase your profit margin by $8,500 to $15,000 per year, depending on how many miles you cover annually.


These are just three of the owner operator expenses to consider before starting your business. Other expenses include the actual truck price, plates and permits, and insurance. However, if you have the right amount of savings to invest in the business, you could be earning over $100,000 as a successful truck owner operator!