The pros and cons of being an owner-operator May20

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The pros and cons of being an owner-operator

Being an owner-operator in an industry full of carrier companies is a point of pride for many drivers. The banter at the truck stops buzzes with business strategies and inside advice on what lanes are best.

Most company drivers don’t have to deal with things that owner-operators do, but there are pros and cons to every driver employment scenario. Because Ship-well loves working with informed and hard workers, we support every carrier on the road.

Through our relationships with carriers, we have learned about the challenges and opportunities of being an owner-operator. Here’s what we’ve learned from carriers on the road.

Want to join the Ship well community as a carrier? Sign up with us to book more freight, get better matching loads, and use the smartest tech in freight.

Start-up costs

Getting the equipment to start your company requires a huge upfront cost. From buying or renting rigs, establishing your authority, to obtaining a CDL, prospective owners need to come in with some money to put down. For some, it could mean taking out loans or putting a balance on a credit card that could follow you for years. New carriers need to come in with a game plan to hit the ground running.

Booking your own loads

While company drivers get called by the dispatcher to get loads, the owner-operator is entirely in control of booking loads. This means extra time spent researching industry trends to know what rates are fair. Additionally, it means time on the phone and online trying to schedule loads at reasonable rates. If you aren’t smart about it, your vacation time could be eaten up by managing your business.

Responsibility for expenses and salary

If the wheels aren’t moving, you aren’t making any money. Setting financial goals is imperative for owning your own business so your costs are covered. Think about taxes, insurance, maintenance, business fees, and of course, your salary. Being wise about what loads you book, who you work with, and how long you are on the road all factor into how well you succeed in this industry.

Stress

Ideally, you want to be home long enough to recharge, see your family and friends, and take occasional vacations throughout the year. Being an owner-operator means you often take work home with you because the next load could be a phone call away. Keep in mind that if your truck needs repairs, you may have to take time off to get it fixed, which could chop away at your reserved vacation time.

Be your own boss

The best part of being an owner operator is getting to be your own boss. No more having to ask permission for ride along (including pets), arguing over pay increases, or insurance. Plus, if you meet your target income goals as scheduled, you can take vacation how you choose. For folks who have a family to get home to every week, this has more value than gold.

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