Owner-Operator – How Is It Different From Being A Truck Driver?
AndrewAugust 8, 2022Trucking

Owner-Operator – How Is It Different From Being A Truck Driver?

For an outsider, anyone in the transportation industry is a truck driver. But like all other lines of commerce, the trucking business is much more than only truck drivers. Based on the kind and size of the business, a truck driver can also be the owner, employee, or owner-operator. Most truck drivers strive to be the latter, as it gives them autonomy over their work hours and productivity. The freedom to choose how and when they work, agents or people they work with, and financial control are some of the motivating factors behind this preference. 

In the trucking industry, an owner-operator is a class of truck drivers that own their vehicles and drive them, along with other employees. 

What Is An Owner-Operator

In simple words, owner-operators are freight transportation drivers who work independently. They use their trucks and vehicles to carry out deliveries for companies. These drivers are essentially their bosses and are responsible for their actions. 

In most cases, owner-operators are former company drivers who establish themselves as a small business after gaining experience, knowledge, and practice. As they use their vehicle and equipment, they can also lease their services to companies. Some large fleets also form partnerships with owner-operators. As a result, these owner-operators become free agents with the support of a large fleet. It is a very profitable line of business. The fleet facilitates requests for load and insurance for the trucks. The driver makes a lot more money and takes a large chunk of the gross pay per load. This way, they get the best of both sides of being a truck driver. 

As self-employed individuals, owner-operators act as the employee and the employer. They carry out their duties as drivers, manage their business, and take care of the profits. They have to do everything on their own. 

What Do Owner-Operators Do?

Owner-operators are responsible for delivering the cargo by themselves, planning travel routes, planning emergency backup plans, taking care of the loading and unloading process, and managing the finances of their business. They do everything on their own. 

Some of their regular tasks also include:

How Can You Become An Owner-Operator?  

The first thing you need to be a successful owner-operator is- experience. You should have experience in the field. Your driving abilities should be good, and you should be familiar with the shipment, loading, and unloading process. At the same time, administrative and managerial capabilities are a must. 

Having experience in the industry is the key to running a successful and profit-making business. Of course, managing a whole business by yourself can be difficult. As we have discussed above, the duties of an owner-operator greatly exceed the ones of a commercial driver. But, this is also precisely why having experience is very important. With experience, managing all these tasks by yourself will become easier. You will also feel more confident about your work. You will also hone your skill set for your business.  

Apart from your skill set and experience, there are some legal connotations that you need to adhere to. 

You need to obtain the following licenses and documents. 

How Are Owner-Operators Different From Company Truck Drivers? 

As we have covered, owner-operators have more responsibility than truck drivers do. Of course, both jobs have their own set of pros and cons. 

If you are an aspiring truck driver or wondering how you can increase your income, then read this article in which we discussed the highest paying trucking jobs in 2022

What does the job of a company truck driver entail? 

On the other hand, owner-operators have a slightly different way of working. 

We have covered all you need to know about an owner-operator, what the job entails and how it is unique to company drivers. Statistics prove that owner-operators make more money than company truck drivers. At the same time, your working expenses will also be more than a traditional driver. Of course, that comes at the cost of a lot of responsibility. If you are considering starting your business as an owner-operator, ensure that you are ready to put in extra hours of effort and work at the beginning. Establishing the name and reputation of your company is the most important thing for you to do. It is a priority. You also need to ensure that working capital is enough to cover all your costs lest you sink into substantial debt. If you want to keep it safe and opt for a consistent income, being a company truck driver is a better-suited job for you. 

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