There is an interesting trend in the world of business in the last decade. More and more people are choosing to work for themselves instead of being employees. Truck drivers are following this trend too by figuring out how to become owner-operators.
Company truck drivers look at becoming an owner-operator as the next logical step to achieving personal and financial freedom in trucking. They want to be in control of their lives rather than have someone else dictate what they do.
Who is an Owner Operator?
An owner-operator is basically a self-employed individual who owns their own truck. They can choose to work under a trucking company’s authority (it's like being a subcontractor), or get their own authority and work just like any other trucking company.
Before we talk about the process of becoming an owner-operator, it is good to mention that there are a few tips that apply not only to owner-operators but to businesses in general.
1. Know the industry
To become a successful owner-operator, you must learn all you can about the trucking industry.
Keep in mind that trucking is a broad industry. It’s not just about driving trucks. To become successful, you want to make sure you are in the right area.
Do you want to work under another company’s authority or your own?
What kind of driving do you want to do, local, regional or long distance?
What Kind of freight do you want to haul? Dry, refrigerated, flatbed, expedited, hazmat, oversize, etc?
Figuring out these details before getting your truck is essential to your success.
2. Know Business Basics
The second tip is to pay attention to your business. Being an owner-operator is being a business owner. It is very different from being an employee. You have to shift your mentality from that of an employee to that of a business owner
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The reason some owner-operators are better than others is the fact that they are passionate about what they are doing. They offer better services, have better plans and focus on realistic goals.
Becoming an owner-operator is not difficult, but you have to have a good plan and know what to expect.
Don’t make the mistake many truck drivers make. They think that if they are skilled drivers, they can automatically become successful owner-operators.
Being a company driver comes with certain benefits. You don’t have to worry about accounting, marketing etc. but when you become an owner-operator, things change. You will not just be driving. You will need to take care of the other things related to running a business.
Of course, you can always hire someone to do the business part of your operation but, you must remember that that will be money out of your pocket. Yes, you can hire someone and still be profitable. All I’m saying is that you must think about everything as a business owner.
3. Know Your Financial Situation
Before you commit to becoming an owner-operator, it will be good for you to take your financial situation into consideration. You will need to put your finances in order.
Have a personal budget, get rid of excessive (all would even be better) debt, create an emergency fund, get disability, health and life insurance and be prepared for any financial loss. You must prepare for the worst while planning for success.
4. Personal life
One of the areas that is easy to neglect is your personal life.
Are you married? Do you have children? Are you single? Regardless of the answer, you should plan on how you are going to handle your personal life.
If you have a family, this may mean sitting down together as a family and talking through it. What are the expectations and sacrifices? Being an owner-operator is going to require a lot of sacrifices. What you don't want is to become an owner operator but lose your family in the process.
Becoming a successful owner-operator requires lots of patience, hard work, and determination. But, proper planning, setting realistic goals and making sound decisions right from the start will highly improve your chances of succeeding.
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Until next time,