Owner Operator

Topic 8690 | Page 1

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Hoss's Comment
member avatar

Broad question. How does being an owner operator work?

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Indy, what frustrates you is the fact that we aren't giving you the kind of strokes you're looking for - we are not giving you a "satisfying answer". The whole reason for that is that we want you to do well.

Now, if you'd just say that it's not a good idea for an inexperienced driver ... while acknowledging that many experienced drivers are making a good go of it... then that would be good and truthful advice.

You take offense and act like we are treating you as stupid, when the truth is that we think you are smart enough to listen to some good solid advice. Indy I owned six trucks at one time. I know what it takes. This past year has actually been fairly decent for some owner operators, but I'm shooting straight with you when I tell you that most of them are not doing very well. It is a difficult business, and there are cut throats around every bend.

When you get out here on the road, do what I do and take note of the owner operators you see. Most of them are driving worn out trucks with smoke pouring out of the blow-by pipe. There is really a small number who even look like they are making a go of it. And the data agrees with the sights I see out here in the truck stops.

You are fortunately in a country where you can make your own choices, and I'm thrilled about that. I'm doing very well as a company driver, and I know what it's like to be the business owner. For me, for now, I'm gonna let somebody else handle all the burdensome cares and worries of trying to stay afloat. I'll take my generous paychecks and keep on rolling care free. The risks are too high, and i say that as one who has been a risk taker all my life. I've made and lost several fortunes, and I can already see where this road is most likely to lead. I don't even think it is a wise choice for an experienced driver. If I ever do get a wild hair and decide to jump into the owner/operator game, I will definitely share with you guys the results.

When we try to help you, it's sincere. It's not simplistic. If you take offense at that, you've got a long road ahead of you.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Little Syster (a.k.a. Sun's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Mercy, mercy...This has gotten quite heated. But that's not always a bad thing. So this is my take on O/O:

Although I have never driven and I'm still in the preliminary stages of getting into this industry, I have spent the last 5 years as an o/o of two small businesses. While yes, there are some serious perks (you can set your own schedule, charge what you want if you're bidding a job, be picky about your clients, etc) without enough starting capital (which often is 3 times what you think it will be) and a solid business plan that you can actually stick to, you'll drown. I have busted my hump for all these years and to be perfectly honest, it wasn't financially worth it FOR ME. I fell for the perks of owning my own business hook, line, and sinker and FOUGHT like a bulldog anyone who tried to tell me different. So, Indy, I understand your frustration. But take it from someone who's been there and been frustrated with the neigh-sayers....I wish I had put my defensive ego aside and listened to what people were telling me. At the very least, if I had just slowed down and realized that so many people in this world are just trying to sell you on something that will put food on their table (which, how can you blame them, aren't we all), I would have made a more solid decision on how to start my businesses. I am now sitting on three college degrees and a business minor, a mortgage on a house that's falling apart, student loans up to my eyeballs, and one business (the other one I had to dissolve because I couldn't break below 95% overhead) that can't get enough traction to even cover my basic needs expenses. This may all sound like a story to gain sympathy, but they were MY choices that got me here so no sympathy needed. So if you take anything away from my story of o/o, DO YOUR RESEARCH, SIT ON THE INFO FOR AT LEAST TWO WEEKS, DON'T TAKE WHAT ANYONE SAYS AT FACE VALUE, AND THEN MAKE A DECISION THAT IS BEST FOR YOU. This whole thing has been an incredibly humbling experience and while I am thrilled about trucking, I am applying this extremely costly lesson to my current pursuits in the truck driving industry.

Dakota, I wish I could answer your question better but I think what I said above applies. O/O is not an awful idea for everyone, but it takes some serious leg work, dedication, and financial stability (that you aren't counting on getting back for at least the first 5 years of the venture) and that isn't all debt based.

Much appreciation, peace and feel-good things to you all. I love the truthful views and insight everyone gives on this site, even when it's hard to hear. I can only hope to help in the same way some day.

Jared McClure's Comment
member avatar

Broad question. How does being an owner operator work?

By you spending more money than you make and going bankrupt.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

The difference between owner/ operator and company driver is that as owner, you are responsible for the truck.

A company driver gets paid to drive someone else's - the company's - truck. The company takes care of the maintenance, fuel and other expenses.

As owner operator , the company actually paid you more, but you need to take care of the truck expenses yourself: fuel, oil change, tires, insurance - just like you do your own car.

The Trucking Truth position is that an owner operator will not make much more take-home pay than a company driver. But the owner will get tax benefits of owning a business. The bottom line for you is the benefits don't come close to passing for the headaches and hassles of running your own business.

Just drive and be happy.

smile.gif

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

The bottom line for you is the benefits don't come close to passing for the headaches and hassles of running your own business.

So I guess all of those apparently happy Schneider IC Choice drivers I've encountered are just pretending to be happy...

It's a little hard to believe that being an O/O is such a bad deal, as portrayed here, when there are so many drivers doing it....

You like being a company driver... great! ... But no need to denigrate the alternatives.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Snappy's Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

The bottom line for you is the benefits don't come close to passing for the headaches and hassles of running your own business.

double-quotes-end.png

So I guess all of those apparently happy Schneider IC Choice drivers I've encountered are just pretending to be happy...

It's a little hard to believe that being an O/O is such a bad deal, as portrayed here, when there are so many drivers doing it....

You like being a company driver... great! ... But no need to denigrate the alternatives.

I think the important thing to mention here is this site is for new drivers. Nobody gets to know the ins and outs of this industry overnight. There's a lot to learn when you're new: backing, floating gears , how to run hard, efficiently, safely, and legally. It takes a while before someone is going to be comfortable with how things work, to get to the point that they want to go the O/O route. If they even want to.

Floating Gears:

An expression used to describe someone who is shifting gears without using the clutch at all. Drivers are taught to "Double Clutch" or press and release the clutch twice for each gear shift. If you're floating gears it means you're simply shifting without using the clutch at all.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

Indy, I don't think anyone here is completely opposed to O/O. The main issue is that most of the people asking about it are relatively new to the industry and are looking at lease options through their companies with rose colored glasses. Yes, there are tons of O/O out there who do well but they've been around for a while and they know the ins and outs of the industry. A lot of them turn their own wrenches to save money on labor and repair costs and many own their trucks outright which saves from making a huge payment every month. I've talked with company guys, several running those shiny black Lone Stars running flatbed for Celadon and all of them had at least7-10 years under their belt.

I think the biggest reason for the anti lease stance around here is to protect someone with no experience from digging a hole they'll never get out of right off the bat. With an individual lease, it isn't like many businesses which have multiple investment partners to help offset initial costs.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Bleemus's Comment
member avatar
double-quotes-start.png

The bottom line for you is the benefits don't come close to passing for the headaches and hassles of running your own business.

double-quotes-end.png

So I guess all of those apparently happy Schneider IC Choice drivers I've encountered are just pretending to be happy...

It's a little hard to believe that being an O/O is such a bad deal, as portrayed here, when there are so many drivers doing it....

You like being a company driver... great! ... But no need to denigrate the alternatives.

I don't believe he was denigrating anyone. As a site for new drivers it is in the best interest of all to promote the idea that noobs learn to drive a truck first then, after a year or so of experience, to investigate all the options this career has to offer. I doubt many noobs can deal with $30,000 engine replacement after you suck a valve in your first month. Personally one $500 towing bill would keep me from going down this path but your situation may be different.

If you decide to ignore the advice of the experienced truckers here after you complete school please start a Diary on this site so we can follow along on your lease adventure!

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar

You wouldn't open a restaurant if you never been in a kitchen.

Likewise, you wouldn't start your own trucking business when you don't even know how many tires are on an 18-wheeler.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Many drivers own their own truck. They are happy and make good money. That's the ideal, it's possible, and it works. But it's not the best for many people.

Like Robert B. said, TT is a site for new truck drivers. There's enough to learn about the business to keep a new driver busy for a few years before they can be distracted by business things like self employment taxes, depreciation, maintenance expenses and such.

Get out, learn the road, let someone else (your company) take care of the truck and get you loads for a few years before you go into business for yourself.

Indy's Comment
member avatar

Agree with the last few posts here... but some at this site treat owning/leasing as a dead in the water proposition. .... Just say that "it's not for inexperienced drivers... wait a few years and learn the industry." Some here treat us noobs like we're idiots that can't understand anything but black or white

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