One of the most frequently asked questions in the trucking industry is whether to be an owner-operator or a company driver. While the driving and knowledge for either are the same, there are a few things to concerned before making a decision. Here is what you need to know about choosing between these two types of careers.
Owner-Operator vs. Company Driver: What You Need to Know
If you are currently a company driver considering a career as an owner-operator or an owner-operator thinking about driving a company truck and selling your rig, you need to weigh the pros and cons and choose which fits you.
Taking the leap of faith and becoming an owner-operator is never something that should be rushed. There is a high demand for drivers in the US currently, so time is on your side. If you want to buy your own truck be sure to think about your financial circumstances and everything that will be required.
While you might think a career as an owner-operator will mean more money this, however, is simply untrue. There are several company drivers (depending on their company) that make as much as an owner-operator.
Perks of Becoming an Owner-Operator
While there is no guarantee that you will have more money in your pocket as an owner-operator, you will have the potential if you are running your trucking business efficiently. Typically you will get paid for the extras where a company driver does not, because of the contractual agreement. There are also lower rates, especially when incorporated.
Another advance of being an owner-operator is, of course, owning your truck. You don’t have to deal with switching vehicles each run or other drivers messing with the equipment. You can choose the gear that works best for your needs and comfort. You can get your preferred brand of seating or any other equipment to personalize your convenience while on the road. However, it does sometimes come at a steep price.
As an owner-operator, you are your own boss, so you don’t have to worry about dispatching forcing you onto the road. You have freedom choosing loads and when you work. You will generally have more control over your job as a whole.
Cons of Becoming an Owner-Operator
Now that you know the perks or pros of becoming an owner-operator, let’s look at some of the disadvantages. To start off as an owner-operator, you will need a good chunk of cash to start off with. Buying your rig
will take a sizable down payment, and there is always a financial risk when it comes to the monthly payments. Also, you will need money left over after buying your rig to stay on the road and to cover any possible repairs that are required.
Compared to a company driver you will have more time off, however, this time will be mostly spent on repairs and maintenance. If you plan to have a repair shop do the work you will still need to take time to drop off and pick up, plus there will be a substantial expense. There is also business bookkeeping that must be completed to keep your business afloat. With all of this, there is typically not much time left over for quality family time.
Due to the risk of failure and the lack of downtime, you will endure a great deal of stress when it comes to being an owner-operator. Even when you are doing everything right, you are always at risk from the unexpected. Unexpected illness, repairs, truck payments, and everything else that comes with being an owner-operator will cause some stress.
So What is the Better Option?
Some are completely satisfied with driving for a company because of the lower stress, while others love the independence and freedom that comes with being an owner-operator. It’s essential that you do your research to understand your options and what will be required. However, the bottom line is that you should not rush into a decision and this choice should be made for yourself and what you want from your career.