Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Perks Of Being An Owner Operator

There are a few perks to being in control of your operation.  One of them is that you work when you want to.  You must provide a service to your customers, but only at a price which is beneficial to you business.  As I write this, I am off duty.  I am enjoying the sunny days and cool water of the local pools.  I am having a few beers and just kicking back.  I will be doing a little maintenance on my equipment and slowly getting ready for a few loads one day soon.  Just not today.

I have a few other friends in the trucking business who are also Owner Operators.  One of them is basically retired and only hauls maybe 3 or 4 loads a year.  He only hauls loads that pay very well or he doesn't leave the house.  This is my philosophy also.  "Don't Haul Cheap Freight" is one of the OOIDA's mantras.  I will get into that later.

In the days you have off as an Owner Operator, and they are many, you get to look into whatever you want.  Take the boat out, go on a mini vacation, see a play, go to a football game, or a baseball game.  As long as your equipment is in good order, you're good.  

It's real simple.  You work hard, you put your life on the line, and risk it all to get the customer's freight delivered safely and on time. You should have a life outside of trucking or the stress will shorten it; not only do you get to dictate when you will work, for how long, and for whom, but you get to choose your equipment.  This involves finding the ideal truck and trailer to suit your needs.

When you are driving for someone else, many times you don't have this option.  You are subject to what kind of truck they issue you and what kind of trailer the have you hook up to.  Who knows who had it last or what kind of condition it's in.  These days with the CSA scores, the CVSA, the FMCSA, and the DOT doing more and more inspections to drum up revenue and catch the bad guys, you're the one in the hot seat.

Owning your own truck allows you to control the costs associated with your business and also allows you to choose your own path. You can maintain your own equipment, make your own deals, find your own customers, and work to expand.


Scott said...

Do you see a big difference in what owner operators make based on equipment? Some people like flatbedding, some want to pull produce, some just want to pull a box. At the end of the day, does it just come down to what you like?

Ed said...

It does make a big difference, but there are a lot of variables. I am doing a series of posts about just that. There may more money in each type of trailer. There is no simple answer here. The rates depend on supply and demand. On average van trailers make up a majority of trucking, and those include refrigerated trailers, followed by flatbeds, tankers, log trucks, and specialty equipment. Produce can pay a lot of money, but its seasonal. Vans stay busy year round and on average tend to pay less. Flatbeds tend to pay more than vans, but less than refers and you can stay busy year round also. Freight lanes are involved, type of available equipment is involved, and lastly what you want to do is important. There are over 10 million CDL holders and 3 million over the road drivers. Depending on what you want to do (hometime, physical work, and type of equipment) there are many ways to go.