When you first start out your trucking career, you’ll probably be hired by a company to be a part of a fleet. For a lot of truckers, this path is just fine. Some, however, want to be their own boss. When you purchase a truck and operate independently, you become what’s known as an owner operator. Here are some of the things you should consider if you’re thinking about becoming an owner operator.
The first thing you should do if you’re considering becoming an owner operator is to start tracking all of your expenses. Tracking time, fuel costs, maintenance costs, and all expenses associated with the jobs you do. Track all of these things until you feel like you have a reasonable sample of what you should expect to spend as an owner operator.
When you choose to become an owner operator, you’re starting a business. Even if it’s just you and your truck, it’s your very own small business. Starting a business requires an investment. Careful budgeting can help you save up enough to get your business started off right.
Choosing Your Vehicle
The largest expense of starting your owner operator business will be purchasing the truck. You will want to be absolutely certain that you’re choosing quality equipment because without a good truck, your business won’t get very far. A popular option among owner operators, especially when they’re first starting out, is to purchase a used truck. This way, you can pay off your initial investment and save more to turn around and sell that truck and invest in a better one. However, this plan only works if you keep all of the trucks you own well-maintained while you have them. No one will want to purchase an old, worn out truck.
Trucking is a largely solitary lifestyle. When you become an owner-operator, it can be even more isolating. When you work for a larger company, you have coworkers and dispatchers that you will need to communicate with. As an owner operator, you are your own dispatcher. There is also a lot of personal accountability and discipline involved. You have to be able to hold yourself accountable for staying on schedule and getting your jobs done.
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