Benefits of Becoming an Independent Owner Operator
Driving a truck offers many freedoms not found in any other job. However, you might find the hours, or distances don’t suit your lifestyle. An excellent option for truck drivers is considering becoming an independent owner-operator. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) answers the question, “who is an owner-operator” with this definition: “An owner-operator is a business owner who owns a tractor and, on other occasions, a trailer or fleet of trailers.”
Owner-operators have businesses attached to their names and can operate under their authority. This means they can lawfully deliver cargo on their own without being hired by a company. You drive and own your truck and operate as an independent contractor. It allows you to choose the type of work that suits your lifestyle but isn’t necessarily for everyone. Here are the benefits of becoming an independent owner-operator to help you decide.
You Own Your Truck
Owning your own truck allows you to shop for the truck with the features that suit your needs. You don’t drive a hand-me-down passed from driver to driver, and instead are free to make upgrades, or choose the basics depending on your preferences. You can paint it in your own style, and travel with your partner or dog in tow without anyone having any say in the matter. The truck is an asset you own and can be sold if you choose to change careers.
Be Your Own Boss
This is a big draw for the independent owner-operator. Most have chosen this option because they are self-employed and can set their own rules. Although you do have to answer to your clients, you still manage your own hours, set your own rules, and pick and choose the routes and types of truck loads you wish to carry. You are the one building the reputation for dependability, and you take pride in the services you offer your clients.
As your reputation grows, you have more and more options available to you. This means your income can grow, instead of being stuck in a job working for a trucking or delivery company that doesn’t provide incentives of any kind or offer regular rewards for all your hard work.
More Per Mile and Load
As mentioned above, you aren’t tied down to a low-paying job that limits your earning power. As an independent, you can charge a fair price per mile or load that remains competitive but that also helps pay your bills. You also get tax benefits to offset your costs such as fuel, repairs, and maintenance. The trick is becoming a savvy business owner who knows their worth but also doesn’t try to gouge their customers.
Do it Your Way
Nothing is worse than driving routes you hate, having hours that interfere with your family life or even carrying loads you would prefer not to carry. As your own boss, you can decide which routes are right for you. You might love being out on the open road with no ties to hold you back, or you could be a homebody who wants more free time to spend with loved ones. You call the shots and can decline jobs that don’t suit you.
Truck Drivers Wanted
There is a widespread shortage of truck drivers across North America, which means opportunities are wide open. Owner-operators often help fill the gap of trucking companies with driver shortages. This can mean more regular work for you without the feeling of being tied down as a full-time salaried trucker. The work is there if you want it, and you can build up your client base as you prove yourself.
If this sounds good to you, it’s time to consider the option to become an owner-operator.
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