How to Tell If You Have the Inclination to be an Owner-Operator Trucker by Allen Crane
Posted: Jan 19, 2016
Not everyone is suited to be a trucker, let alone an owner operator, but for those who are, contracting with the right company can lead to a steady paycheck, incredible benefits and a bit more freedom than the typical job. Still, leaving your current job or even your current line of work can be a challenging undertaking, especially if you’re not sure if you’re making the right decision. Before you invest money in buying your own rig to make it as an owner-operator trucker for a transportation logistics company, ask yourself if you’re suited to the type of work.
Discuss your availability with a transportation logistics representative to learn more about what the kind of work offers you, even if you’ve yet to buy a truck since they can suggest what type of truck to purchase anyway. Ask about percentage pay, which means that as the company’s rates go up, your get a similar increase in your take home salary. Once you have a better idea of what the company offers you as a contractor, you’ll have a better idea of your suitability for the type of work. Since buying a truck of your own isn’t exactly a cheap investment, it’s important you commit to the job before you even purchase one.
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: Allen Crane 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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