If you have decided to become an owner operator, then you probably have some experience as a company driver, as this isn’t the type of business where you simply dive in. Being your own boss sounds very appealing: you make your own business decisions, your payload directly reflects how much you work, and you can take time-off whenever you need it. Nevertheless, things are not as simple as they sound. There are a couple of things that you must to in order to be successful in this business, as well as a couple of things that you should consider before getting started, as this industry is not meant for everybody.
Consider whether or not you can really do this
In order to be a successful owner operator, you must have certain qualities. You must be hard working, disciplined and financially responsible. If you are the type of person who likes the security of a constant payroll and a normal working schedule, you may not be fit for this job. Moreover, if your spouse has a similarly difficult work schedule or you have a shared custody or an other type of familial responsibility which restricts your time schedule, you may not make it in this industry.
Write a business plan
In order to make smart business choices in the future, it would be wise to write down a business plan. This will prevent you from making rookie mistakes such as assuming that your won’t have any maintenance costs on a new truck. Consider what kind of truck you want to buy and whether or not you have real chances of having your credit approved. Moreover, consider how long it will take your investment to pay for itself. When making the plan, you should always underestimate your earnings in order to be prepared for everything.
Should you be independent or should you lease to a company?
This is a tricky question and it mainly depends on your previous experience. Do you have any idea how to get contracts? Do you think you can build long lasting business relationships? As an independent driver, you will get more money for each load, yet the work may not be constant. Reliable carriers such as Landstar have numerous loads available and they provide their owner operators with constant work. Moreover, when you lease to a big company, you also get some benefits such as discounts on fuel and tires, and returns on fuel surcharges. Nevertheless, do some research before choosing a certain company. Ideally, you should find a company where you are not forcefully dispatched and where you can select the loads that you find to be the most convenient. Moreover, you should also try to understand the economy and look for companies who work with growth industries.
Be financially responsible
In order to be a successful owner operator, you should have realistic financial expectations. Moreover, you should always put money aside. You should save consistently until you have enough money to be covered for a few months, should something bad ever happen. Keep in mind that in order to make more money, you will always have to work more. Moreover, if you have any dependents, you should consider a life insurance.