2001 Kenworth T600
Becoming an Owner Operator
1) Welcome to Owner-Operator 411
See my other posts:
Definitions and Industry Terms
Blackrock Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)
Interactive Cost per Mile (CPM) Calculator Spreadsheet
2) Income and Expenses
3) Financing and Credit
4) Operating Authority or Leasing?
6) How To Do Bookkeeping and Other Necessary Paperwork
7) What You Need to Know About Loadboards
8) Companies That Lease Beginning Owner Operators
9) What You Actually Need to Get Started - Licenses, Permits, Insurance, and Taxes
10) Truck Driving Schools
This is the place for owner operators to gain information and tips about starting a business. It probably will be most useful for the beginner owner operator, but old-timers should find it useful, too. This is not the place to be (or the job to choose) if you want to get rich quick. If you want to do that, you need to learn how to hit the lottery, make money online, or have a rich relative die and leave you a lot of money – or anything as long as you don't have to work, because as a small business owner you will have to work - hard.
Driving a truck and being an owner operator can be rewarding and satisfying in a lot of ways and you will learn about that in future blogs. So check back often and see what you can learn about being an owner operator and about the trucking industry.
I often get asked, "Is it hard to become an owner operator?" The short answer is "No." Just buy a truck and start driving. The real question should be, "Is it hard to become a successful owner operator?" The answer to that questions is "Yes." These is so much a person needs to learn and it is a lot of hard work - both mentally and physically. So read on and see if you still think this is what you what you want to do!
Some of the things I will be writing about are:
Income and Expenses; This will cover the difference between gross and net, and an overview of what can and can not be deducted.
Financing and Credit; I will explain the basics of getting a loan, and what to do if you have debt problems. I will be telling what you need money for in addition to the truck itself. I will talk about business plans, and the importance of credit reports and FICO scores.
Operating Authority or Leasing?; There are two kinds of owner operators – those with their own authority and those leased to a company. This will explain the difference and advantages and disadvantages of each.
Equipment; This section will cover the equipment an owner operator needs in addition to the tractor and/or the trailer. It will explain necessary and optional equipment. Equipment can be something as expensive as an auxiliary power unit (APU) or as inexpensive as a screwdriver.
Miscellaneous; I will be listing resources, definitions, and anything else I think might be helpful or informative. I will try to do all this in a simple, easy to understand way, with a little experience, and (I hope) humor thrown in to make a boring subject a little less so I hope to give you enough information so you can make an informed decision about starting your own business, for that is what you are doing when you become an owner operator. You aren't just becoming a truck driver, but a businessperson. Maybe after reading this, you will decide to not to become an owner operator, but a company driver instead-- or maybe even find another profession.
Two of the main reasons a lot of people say they want to become an owner operator is: to make a lot of money, and to be their own boss. As I stated earlier, you will not make a lot of money, and very few people are their own boss. Sure, you have more freedom to make decisions when you are a tractor trailer owner operator, but everyone has a "boss", of one sort or another. Mainly, those in long haul trucking has the shipper as their "boss". The shipper tells you when they expect a load to be picked up, when it is to be delivered, under what conditions it is to be shipped (tarped, refrigerated, on an air ride trailer, etc.). If you don't follow through in a professional manner, you may get a second load, but you probably won't get a third. You may be thinking, "Well I am going to lease to a company, I don't have to worry about that." You would be wrong. Your company may be the one giving you the information, but it is the shipper who has the ultimate say. My next post will be: Income and Expenses
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