After years of driving for a company, many truckers begin to dream about the freedom and independence that driving their own truck would give them. Beyond freedom, the benefits are just as attractive. If you’re in the right financial position, becoming a truck owner operator may be the perfect fit.
Questions to Ask Yourself
The decision to become a trucking owner-operator in a highly competitive industry is not always easy. There are many factors to consider before jumping into such a big investment. To help you figure out if the truck owner operator lifestyle is for you, we’ve broken down the most important questions to ask yourself before getting started:
1. Do you know how to run a business? There are many benefits to driving for a company. Everything is laid out and ready for you when you begin driving. However as an owner operator, you will be in charge of every piece of the puzzle. From sales to customer service, and of course – the actual delivery
2. Are you prepared to give up a good portion of free time? Sometimes being your own boss means spending the week AND weekend on the road. If you aren’t willing to sacrifice some significant home time, your take-home pay will suffer.
3. Can you trust yourself to save money for possible future expenses? Even the best truck on the market will break down eventually. And when it does, you will need to have money saved away for these repairs. If you can’t pay for repairs, your truck and your business will take a screeching halt.
4. Are you ready to deal with the long schedule that comes with being your only employee? Driving your truck will take even more endurance than company driving. The more you drive, the more money you put in your pocket. Sometimes this means using every available hour in your schedule to cover hundreds of miles.
5. What are your goals for the future? Your career as a trucking owner-operator will not be a short one. If you have plans to go in a different direction within the next five years, the job may not be for you. But if you see yourself eating up the miles for years to come, you may be an ideal candidate for a truck owner-operator industry.
Steps to Get Started
The questions above are just a fraction of the personal areas you need to consider before deciding to own and operate your own truck. If you answered yes to these questions, becoming a truck owner-operator may be for you. Follow this short list of steps to get started on your way to a long, profitable career.
Step 1: Licenses
A commercial drivers license is required to operate a semi-truck. It’s also worth your time to earn additional endorsements that let you carry different types of cargo. A good example of this is the hazardous material endorsement. Being able to transport different types of cargo will give you more driving opportunities.
Step 2: Buy a Truck
This is the biggest decision you will make as a new truck owner operator. Make sure you have spent time looking at the different financing options. You can also look into high-quality used trucks to save money up front.
Step 3: Find a Mechanic
As we mentioned above – even if you buy the best truck on the market, it will likely need repairs down the road. You’ll want to find a trustworthy mechanic to keep your truck (and your business) rolling.
Step 4: Make a Budget
There will be a long list of things to pay for as a truck owner-operator. Keep track of where your money goes to determine how much you spend each month. You should have enough money in your savings account for a down payment on the truck and at least three months worth of expenses.
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Now start your engine and get on your way to becoming a truck owner operator! The opportunities for truck owner-operators are everywhere. Find what type of companies you want to work with and stay loyal to them. With commitment, patience, and a little bit of business sense, you will soon start to see the high-paying rewards of the truck owner operator career.