How to Become a Driver Operator
Many new and veteran truck drivers consider becoming owner operators. They either want to drive their own trucks on the road or live an entrepreneurial life. During a recession, truck drivers may find a hard time looking for a job due to the increased competition in the labor market. With their own trucks, the owner can go about business as usual. Being an OO means having the freedom to find customers and choose the ones they want to work with.
The most important aspect of being an OO is perhaps the freedom to spend your time how you'd like without having to worry about income. This is something that employed truck drivers may not be able to achieve unless their employers are considerate enough to provide them with flexible working schedules. Moreover, OOs earn even more if they employ truck drivers.
However, there are many things that an aspiring owner operator has to do to get on the road to success. They should make comprehensive plans. The following are some points that may serve as a guide for truck drivers who want to move on and become OOs.
1. Assess personal capacity.
It is important that aspiring OOs know their wants, needs, goals and preferences before making the big decision. They should make an honest assessment of their personal capacities to make sure that becoming an OO fits them best.
• General Health Condition
Truck drivers who are healthy can pursue becoming an OO. However, those who have a serious medical condition that can progress overtime may need to stay on the payroll as a company truck driver to get better access to insurance. This is especially true for aspiring OOs who are not financially secure.
• Family and Hometime
Start-up OOs may need to work even at times when they would much rather be at home. Although they may be able to manage some family matters, there will come a time when they need to sacrifice being at home to run the business.
Insurance can have a serious impact on being an OO. Truck drivers may have their employers provide coverage. However, OOs have to pay for their own. Aspiring OOs should consider this important factor and how it can affect the business.
Setting goals in the trucking business is no different from those in other types of investments. Potential OOs have to set both their short and long term goals firmly. Doing so allows them to determine how long they want to stay on the road. This can help people who want to move into a non-driving position in a few years.
2. Financial Considerations
Becoming an OO requires sufficient resources. Owner operators must examine their finances carefully as it is crucial in the business' success.
Personal budgeting is not just about making smart decisions on how to spend the last few dollars every week. Aspiring OOs should start within themselves. They should first learn how to allocate their money equitably so that everything gets paid and still leave some portion for their savings. They should assess their financial capacity and how they can handle their income and expenses.
Furthermore, potential OOs should include disability and life insurance in their financial plans. Disability insurance is essential in order to protect the business from everyday expenses if they get sick or injured. With this, they can pay for their trucks while they are unable to work. On the other hand, life insurance will save loved ones and dependents from the financial obligations that may be passed on to them if the OO dies.
3. To Lease or Go Independent
Aspiring OOs have two options. They can either operate independently or lease from another company. Both choices may work well. What to choose is always dependent on how they weigh the pros and the cons of each option. No two drivers are the same. With this, it is important that potential OOs are able to assess themselves and other factors accurately.
The kind of trucks driven, the operation and the person behind the wheel are among the most important factors that determine the business' success. Before buying the equipment, OOs have to consider things like operation area, the truck's age including its warranty, mileage, amenities and fuel economy.
5. Accounting and Legal Matters
Starting the business involves a lot of complicated matters that aspiring OOs have to deal with. With this, they need to work with the professionals in other fields such as business attorneys and accountants. Doing so allows them to get accurate advice on what course of steps to take. With this, they will be able to come up with a firm business structure and plan for taxes ahead of time.
The Bottom Line
At present, there are many profitable owner operators who started as regular truck drivers. The best thing about this business is that it remains up and running despite the sloppy economy, high fuel cost and the low freight rates. Truckers remain to be in-demand.
People who work in the trucking industry can make great money. However, there are no shortcuts to success. Aspiring OOs have to come up with sound business decisions in order to achieve their goals. Millions of truck drivers wish to become an owner operator. Unfortunately, not all of them succeed. With proper planning and a bit of luck, transportation professionals can become successful owner operators.