Are you a truck driver who is thinking about becoming an owner-operator? If so, you’re in good company. According to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, there are 350,000 owner-operators in the United States. In 2013, those owner-operators drove about 110,000 miles.
There are many benefits to becoming an owner operator. Besides owning their own truck, owner-operators also make their own profit and control their own schedule. One downside of being an owner operator is that they must also pay their own expenses. To increase profits, they must reduce these expenses as much as possible.
Here are three major expenses and money-saving tips for owner operators.
1. Cost of the Truck
One of the best ways for an owner-operator to save money is for them to buy a used truck rather than new one. A brand new semi-truck easily costs between $100,000 and $150,000. If you want several custom features, the price tag for a brand new truck can reach up to $200,000.
A used semi-truck costs anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000. A used medium-duty truck ranges in price from $20,000 to $40,000. Used heavy-duty semi-trucks cost between $30,000 and $80,000. These prices vary and are dependent upon a number of factors including:
Buying your truck used is a great way to save money, but you want to make sure you still get a good truck. You don’t want to buy something that you will have to spend a lot of money on for repairs. For this reason, when buying a used truck, make sure it is in good condition. You will also want to buy a used truck that has low mileage.
Be sure to take the truck for a test drive. You will most likely have to take out a loan for your truck. When you take out the loan, shop around for the best interest rate.
2. Fuel Costs
Fuel is expensive, especially for owner-operators who drive thousands of miles each year. For drivers who expect to drive 100,000 miles a year, they could easily spend nearly $70,000 for diesel fuel. Thankfully, there are some effective ways for owner operators to cut down on fuel costs.
Drive More Slowly
As an owner-operator, you’ll be tempted to get to your destination as quickly as possible. However, simply by slowing down, you can save money on fuel. If you cut your speed from 75 mph to 65 mph, you’ll improve your fuel consumption by up to 27%.
Besides saving money on fuel by driving more slowly, you’ll also reduce your chances of getting pulled over for speeding. This means you’ll spend less on tickets as well.
Cut Idling Times
You probably know that an idling engine consumes fuel, but do you know how much fuel it consumes? Just one hour of idling can burn up to 1.5 gallons of fuel. If fuel costs $2.50 a gallon, and your truck is idling for 8 hours, you’re paying more than $20 just to let your engine idle. If you do this five times a week, that’s over $100.
Many drivers let their engine idle when the weather outside is cold so that they can sleep in their trucks and stay warm. If you need to idle your engine in cases like this, an auxiliary power unit can help you save fuel and money.
3. Maintenance and Repairs
If you want to be successful as an owner-operator, you’ll need to take good care of your truck. This means properly maintaining it and making repairs when necessary. Unfortunately, maintenance and repairs cost a lot of money. According to Truckers Report, most truckers can expect to pay about $15,000 a year to maintain their trucks and make various repairs.
When a semi-truck is in need of repair, the repair is usually due to one of these issues:
- Brake wear or damage
- Electrical malfunctions
- Tire wear or damage
- Engine troubles
- Air line and hose problems
Having to make repairs often means that you won’t be able to use your truck for a period of time. The best way to avoid truck repairs is to properly maintain it. This means changing the oil on a regular basis, inspecting your radiator, checking your fuel vent, inspecting your brakes, and greasing your moving parts.
While maintaining your truck costs money, it can help save money, too. The better you maintain your truck, the less repairs you’ll be making in the future.
Are you an owner operator who is ready to buy a used truck? If so, contact
Arrow Truck Sales. We have many used trucks available and would love to help you find the truck that suits all of your needs. Our financing options makes it easy and affordable to buy a truck from us. To help you save even more money, we offer extended warranties, 24/7 roadside assistance, and gap protection.