The economy relies heavily on truck drivers and shipping companies. Truckers keep the supply chain moving on both a global and local level, and as the last few years have shown us, consumers are directly impacted when truckers are in short supply. There are two truckers on the road: drivers who work for a company and drive a truck supplied by that company, and owner-operators who purchase their own truck (or trucks) and also fulfill the shipments. Whether you’re new to trucking as a whole or you’re an experienced driver looking to become your own boss, there are many advantages to being an owner-operator; but there are also a few drawbacks. Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of being an owner-operator. And if you think you’re ready to dive into operating your own shipping company, search our inventory to find great deals on used semi-trucks.
Pro: Step Away from the Cubicle
The vast majority of jobs in today’s labor market are desk-based jobs that put you at a computer in a tiny cubicle for 8 hours a day. It’s a restrictive, somewhat mind-numbing experience and can quickly leave you dreaming of a better option. Being an owner-operator of your own shipping company could be exactly that. You can trade that cubicle for a truck cab, and an open road spread out in front of you. While there will still be paperwork and a lot of office-based tasks involved in running your own business, you’ll get to experience a more hands-on way to work that offers new experiences every day.
Pro: Flexibility in Your Workload
When you work for someone else, your schedule is generally set for you, and many businesses don’t offer much flexibility. You work your assigned shift, or you risk losing your job. An owner-operator doesn’t answer to anyone but their clients—and you get to choose which clients you work with. You decide what loads you’re going to haul, what routes you want to drive, and when you want to work. So long as you’re upholding your contracts, you have all the flexibility in the world regarding your workload and schedule.
Con: Long Hours
Even though you have flexibility in choosing your contracts and routes, you will be taking on a lot of responsibility as an owner-operator. This means putting in a lot of hours to fulfill those contracts and deliver those shipments on time. However, those long hours can often become a bit shorter as you employ other drivers and have to fulfill fewer orders yourself. As an owner-operator, you’re the sole party responsible for any mistakes.
Pro: Higher Profits
As a truck driver for a company, you make a flat salary, perhaps with some bonuses and incentives along the way. But as an owner-operator, all the profits from your contracts are your income. This career move sets you up to make a lot more money than a salaried trucker, making it a smart financial choice for many truckers who aren’t satisfied with their current income levels.
Con: Startup Costs
Of course, higher profits don’t come right away. As the saying goes, you need to spend money to make money, which means shouldering your trucking company’s startup costs. The biggest startup expense is typically purchasing your own semi-truck, which can cost over $100,000 in most cases. You’ll also need to consider costs for licensing and registering your company, purchasing business insurance, and potential marketing expenses. Most owner-operators need a loan to get their trucking business off the ground; at the very least, you’ll need a loan on your semi-truck.
At Arrow Truck Sales, we specialize in selling used semi-trucks in excellent condition so that you can get a quality semi for your trucking company at a lower cost. We also offer in-house financing options if you need a loan to help pay for your truck—whether it’s your first one or an addition to your existing fleet.
Pro: Opportunities to Grow
As a trucker for someone else’s company, there aren’t many opportunities for growth or advancement. Yes, you can get raises and perhaps be given some advantages regarding better routes and schedules. However, it’s not common for a trucker to have opportunities for advancement in the traditional sense. As an owner-operator, you have the chance to grow in your career truly. You can work on expanding your fleet, finding more lucrative contracts, expanding your shipping routes and capabilities, and so on. If you’re someone who’s ambitious and driven, you might feel stagnated in a job as a trucker. But as an owner-operator, you’ll have the opportunity to grow and thrive in your career as you expand your trucking business.
Pro: Choose Who You Work With
Generally speaking, trucking is a relatively solo job. You’ll spend most of your time driving alone. However, there will still be times when you’re forced to work alongside others, and it can be frustrating when you have no choice but to work with an unpleasant person. Whether it’s another trucker, office personnel at the trucking company, or a client receiving a shipment, a trucker has no control over who they work with.
On the other hand, owner-operators choose their clients and employees. You can select your truckers and office staff to surround yourself with people you enjoy working with. If a client you work for turns out to be unpleasant to work with, you can opt to end your relationship as soon as your contract is fulfilled and never be forced to work with them again. Owning your trucking company puts all of that control straight into your own hands.
Pro: Choose Your Truck
Additionally, as an owner-operator, you’ll be able to choose your own truck rather than being given one by the company you’re driving for. This means you can select one with the space, power, and amenities you prefer and find the ideal semi-truck for your long hauls and weeks on the road. If you’re looking for a semi to grow your own trucking company, check out our exceptional selection of used semi-trucks to find one that fits your needs. Then, use our down payment estimator to get an idea of how much you’ll have to put down on the truck with our in-house financing plans.