Why do some owner-operators fail?

A big rig truck driving during sunset.
No business venture has a 100% success rate unfortunately. Owner-operators in the used truck industry are no exception to that face. The obstacles they face may be different than other industries, but they still incur the same risks most small business owners do. As a used truck sales company our goal is to help remove or assist with any barriers that may be in the way.

Fear of failure is something that is a big deal to our customers. The majority of our customers are drivers making the jump from being a company driver into ownership. There are unforeseen things that can get in the way of a new owner-operator’s pursuit of a better life.

There are three key things that often define the success or failure an owner operator:

Truck selection

Coming from a used truck dealer, this is important. You go to the dealer, test drive the unit and feel comfortable making the investment but the honeymoon is short lived. Issue after issues starts popping up with your truck. If you’re not properly protected with coverage it can be an absolute back breaker coming out of the gate. For company drivers becoming owner-operators who may not have that nest egg for these expenses it can create a significant setback. Asking for truck history reports and any documentation on the unit you’re purchasing upfront plus purchasing the proper coverage can help you make the right business decision.

Load Source

We hear this more than anything else. Even if a truck driver has the right work ethic and has picked the right truck, it doesn’t matter what they do if they don’t pick the right haul source or carrier. If they are continually shortening work and messing with loads or rate it doesn’t matter how disciplined you are to that point. One successful driver we spoke to said he wished he had been as diligent choosing a load sources as he was choosing a truck. Load source is critical to the success of drivers.

Learning curve

There is a big learning curve when you make the jump from being a company driver to an owner-operator. When you’re a company driver if there’s an issue with the truck it’s the company’s fault. When you become an owner-operator, there’s no one to call when trouble arises – it’s on the owner-operator. They’re now responsible for money management, time management and crisis management that they may not have been as actively involved in prior to making the jump to being their own boss.

The good news is the majority of owner-operators that go out on their own are able to adjust quickly and find success on the road. When you do a thorough search process to pick the right truck, align with a quality load source and prepare yourself for the new responsibilities it leads to success.