How to Tell If You Have the Inclination to be an Owner-Operator Trucker by Kevin Allis
Posted: Jan 19, 2016
What is success for a trucker? Is it steady income? Better work hours? Owning a trucking business? The answer is different for every individual, but a combination of more freedom, better hours and better income is likely to play a part in every driver’s reply. You can achieve all of these as an owner-operator working for a transportation logistics company. You own your own truck, and as a contractor, you choose how many loads you take on, which essentially allows you to set your own hours. You don’t own the business itself, but you have all the freedom or owning the business – without worrying about the financial or marketing hassles.
However, becoming an owner-operator is not for everyone – although for those suited to the profession, it’s one of the best jobs available. Before you buy your own truck or sign up for contract work, you have to ask yourself if you’re likely to succeed in this line of work. If you need help deciding, speak with a transportation logistics representative and learn more about what the company offers. They can even offer advice on what type of vehicle you should invest in before you spend the money. Rest assured you can continue to rely on support from the company to help you adapt to the new job even after you’ve signed up.
The more experience you have driving a truck, even if you’ve yet to own your own, the more likely you are to success as an owner-operator contractor. Although the freedom of contract work is one of its greatest appeals, it helps for you to get to know the ins and outs of the business that will help you succeed when you’re virtually your own boss. For example, you’ll get to know the best routes in the area as well as tips for loading and unloading your truck and handling the vehicle in inclement weather. You’ll also start to get an idea about what doesn’t work with your previous employer; for example, you might find you do your best work in eight-hour shifts instead of twelve-hour ones.
If you get to choose your own loads to work – as many or as few as you’re comfortable with, within reason – you won’t have anyone but yourself to blame if you become overworked or you don’t earn enough to live comfortably. When you become an owner-operator, the price of your added freedom is you have to be more disciplined with yourself. If you can tackle challenges some weeks when there’s a lot of work to be done and budget your income so you can afford to take fewer loads once in a while if you have other plans those weeks, you’re probably cut out for the job.
Part of the drive to be an entrepreneur includes experience and discipline, but it’s an important characteristic to have on its own as well. If you’ve always wanted to own your own business but don’t want to risk the investment or don’t have enough to build your own trucking company, it makes sense to become an owner-operator with a transportation logistics company. It takes a much smaller investment, and it lets you focus on what you love best about the job: the trucking itself, not tracking down new clients and always worrying about where the work’s going to come from.
If you’re even considering working as an owner-operator trucker under contract with a busy transportation logistics company, you already have the drive and follow-through that will make you suited to the task. However, it’s still worth taking the time to ask yourself if you’re truly ready to commit. Don’t hesitate to contact the company and ask for more information, too.
About the Author: Kevin Allis is an owner-operator trucker who recommends Landstar System, Inc. for every trucker who wants the freedom and income that go hand-in-hand with contract trucking work.
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