The benefits and challenges of switching from a company driver to an owner-operator.

Making the jump from a company driver to an owner-operator is scary, and for good reason. It’s a big undertaking with plenty of obstacles and potential pitfalls that can be daunting for owner-operators-to-be. If you’re contemplating the switch, you may be wondering if the juice is worth the squeeze. According to Sonny Grillo, Finance & Insurance Manager at Arrow Truck Sales’ Chicago branch, it is.

With today’s economy, everyone is looking for ways to boost their income. Switching from a company driver to an owner-operator can be a surefire way to make this happen (if you do it right). Sonny has worked with several customers through this transition and has learned from them the top three benefits of switching from a company driver to an owner-operator.

  • Being your own boss: While it comes with its own difficulties and risks, being able to be your own boss in one of the main appeals of becoming an owner-operator. The flexibility and autonomy are two of the biggest attractors to making the transition from company driver.
  • Money: Simply put, becoming an OO opens a driver up to the potential of making more money without the worry of dealing with a middleman controlling their pay per mile. Sonny cited a statistic that stated the “average income for an owner-operator is $144,000 a year”.
  • Authority: Owner-operators are in control of their loads and of their cashflow, meaning they are much more able to say no to the loads that won’t work for them.

While the potential gains of switching to an OO are numerous, there’s no question that being successful as one isn’t easy. Like with any investment, success is a result of effort and hard work. Whether or not you see any return on your venture lies with you. Hard work aside, Sonny named three obstacles that are often top of mind for any company driver considering the switch to OO.

  • Overhead: It goes without saying that running a business isn’t cheap. No matter how successful you become as an owner-operator, you’ll have to pay to keep your business on the road.
  • Equity Upfront: It’s no secret that trucks aren’t cheap and having the money upfront to obtain your loan is a challenge all on its own. Arrow does what it can to help drivers and owner-operators get into a truck, including our current promotions aimed at cutting the cost of your down and monthly payments.
  • Repairs: It’s never a question of if your truck will need a repair, but when. While routine maintenance and safe driving can extend your truck’s overall health, there’s no avoiding the eventual repair cost. Planning for failures and breakdowns both big and small is the wisest course of action, you never know how pricey a repair will be (or how long it might keep you off the road).

Even with its obstacles considered, Sonny says that “time and time again” becoming an owner-operator has proven to be worth the work. For any considering the switch, Sonny offered two pieces of advice:

  • There are only two guarantees: If you have ambition, you will make money, and something will go wrong eventually. Setting realistic expectations for yourself is one of the best ways that you can help guarantee your own success.
  • Protect your investment: There’s no anticipating the cost and severity of any accident, breakdown, or equipment failure you will experience during your career. Protecting your investment with an extended warranty is the best and only way to ensure that you’re protected from a difficult to manage repair bill.

Catch our full discussion with Sonny on YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts!

If you have any questions about switching from a company driver to an owner-operator (or about anything else), reach out to Sonny at jgrillo@arrowtruck.com or 630-410-4503.

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