Owner Operators 101: The Complete Guide

January 5, 2021

Did you know? Owner operators are the lifeline of many businesses. From trucking companies to restaurant chains, owner operators play huge roles in successful industries.

But what exactly are owner operators? Are they employees? Are they being paid well?

If you’ve asked any questions above (or any related question), you’re at the right place. This guide will enlighten you about owner operators in the trucking industry.

First, we’re going to answer the most common questions about owner operators. Then, we’re going to explain the benefits of being an owner operator and how you can become one.

Most Common Questions About Owner Operators Answered


What is an owner operator?

As its name suggests, an owner operator is someone who owns and operates trucks. Contrary to popular belief, owner operators are not employees.

Owner operators are independent contractors. They usually transact with trucking companies for support and contracts.

If being your own boss is something you like, being an owner operator is great for you.

What are the responsibilities of an owner operator?

Since owner operators work independently, they have to file taxes by themselves. They are also responsible for insurance, truck maintenance, fuel expenses, and other operational costs.

In a gist, an owner operator has responsibilities like any other business owner.

Please use the Q&A schema for the following.

How much does an owner operator make?

Owner operator salary in the United States is around $75,000 to $150,000 per year. It can go higher depending on how many trucks an owner operator deploys and how much the trucking company takes.

Here at CargoX, we make sure to maximize the earning potential of owner operators in our team. For starters, we don’t pay owner operators by mileage. We give them a percentage of the revenue.

We also cover expenses such as insurance and fuel. Thus, you don’t have to worry about where to get the money to operate your truck.

Benefits of Being an Owner Operator

Here’s a rundown of the benefits of being a truck owner operator.

●      You control your time.

●      You have unlimited earning potential.

●      You are your own boss.

●      You decide who you work with.

●      You work in an extremely profitable industry.

You control your time.

Time is the most valuable resource we have. It’s something we can’t take back or make. Hence, you must spend your time wisely.  

Being an owner operator allows you to do just that. You have the freedom to set how many hours you want to work per day. You can spend more time with your loved ones. You can go on vacation whenever you want.

You have unlimited earning potential.

Unlike most jobs with fixed salaries, owner operator jobs have unlimited earning potential. There is no limit to how much you can earn, given the vast trucking industry.

This earning potential heavily depends on the number of trucks you operate. It also depends on the trucking company you’re partnering with. Thus, you must work with a freight company that understands your needs.  

You are your own boss.

We get it, some people just don’t like being under someone else’s belt. The solution? Being an owner operator.

As an owner operator, you are your own boss. You call the shots. No one else will nag and constantly tell you what to do. Sounds great, right?

You decide who you work with.

Being a regular employee means that you can’t choose who you’re going to work with. You have to socialize with your co-workers, hoping that none of them are annoying.

As an owner operator, you don’t have to go through all of that. You can decide who you work with, including truck companies and colleagues.

You work in an industry with high demand.

In the US alone, the trucking industry generated791.7 billionin 20 It is also responsible for moving 11.84 billion tons of freight.

By being an owner operator, you are taking advantage of this huge industry. Plus, the trucking industry just keeps getting better, thanks to online shopping.

Becoming an Owner Operator

Set specific goals.

Before you become an owner operator, you must set your business goals. Just like any successful entrepreneur, you should set specific and clear goals.

Is it generating a certain amount of profit? if yes, how much? Is it acquiring more trucks? If yes, how many?

Whatever your goals are, make sure to constantly work on achieving them. Remember, you cannot control the challenges coming your way. However, you can control the effort you put into your business.

Gather the necessary documents.

You need to get your USDOT (US Department of Transportation) and MC (Motor Carrier) numbers to operate. Without these documents, you cannot legally operate.

You also have to get insurance that covers liabilities like cargo and truck damage. At CargoX, you don’t have to worry about dealing with insurance agents. Our compensation package includes cargo, auto, and general liability insurance.

Choose the right truck.

After securing all legal documents, your next step is to choose the right truck. If you have a tight budget, you can consider getting secondhand trucks. If not, it’s best to get a brand new truck.

The best people to buy secondhand trucks from are former owner operators. It’s because their trucks are usually well-maintained.

If you’re getting a brand new truck, do your research, compare prices, and talk to a reliable agent.

Partner with a reliable freight company.

Now that you’re ready to operate, it’s time to partner with a reputable freight company.

Remember, the right freight company takes care of its fleet, offers fair compensation, and has an excellent reputation.

Once you find these characteristics in a truck company, you’re good to go.

Final Thoughts

Being an owner operator is rewarding. It gives you financial freedom, flexibility, and more time to spend with your loved ones. However, with great reward comes great effort.

Before embarking on this journey, make sure that you’re in it for the long haul (pun intended). Happy operating!

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