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How to Become an Owner Operator

by Olufisayo
How to Become an Owner Operator

When it comes to career opportunities, no matter what the economy is doing, there is always a hot and ripe demand for owner operator truck drivers.

The trucking industry literally runs America, from our groceries, to our fuel, to everything in between, chances are it came into your town on a truck.

If you have a valid trucking license and are the owner of a truck, all you need is some work! With plenty of carriers out there offering a variety of trucking opportunities, you can team up with them and become an owner operator.

Do you like the idea of hitting the open road? Is driving a passion of yours and something you’ve always been good at?

Being an owner operator is certainly a job, no doubt. But, it can also be a mechanism to change your life and get you on the path to a real income and entrepreneurship.

But how exactly do you go about becoming an owner operator?

Here, find out all the necessary requirements to become an owner operator.

Becoming An Owner Operator

An owner operator is defined specifically as someone that owns a trucking business. These trucking businesses often sign onto motor carriers working with owner operators.

In addition to leasing onto a carrier, they can also operate and work their own trucking business contracts. If you wish to operate on your own, you must obtain a Department of Transportation and Motor Carrier identification number to be a registered carrier.

Of the roughly 350,000 owner operators registered in America, the majority of them end up leasing onto another carrier and operate under their Department of Transportation number.

The best thing about being an owner operator is the fact that it is your truck and your equipment, meaning you are responsible for it, but can also personalize it to an extent.

Here, discover the steps involved to becoming your own owner operator.

1. Take Stock Of Your Life

When considering a career as an owner operator, you must consider the fact that you’re considering a career traveling cross country, taking many nights away from home, and being seated in a cabin for extreme stretches of time.

Do you have a family? If so, considerations for them must be at the forefront as well.

No matter what your situation, becoming an owner operator involves changing your lifestyle more so than your job. It is something that will affect you and the way you live your life from then on out.

Be certain it is what you are looking for before setting off on this path.

2. Get Your CDL License

Getting a CDL license, or your trucking license, is not as simple as your regular driver’s license. First you need to take a Department of Transportation physical, choose the licensure you would like to have, and then take the knowledge test.

At that point, you’ll receive your CDL permit, and take the CDL skills test.

Many prospective owner operators wind up going to a trucking school of some sort, many lasting somewhere between 4-8 weeks in order to train before taking their test.

3. Get Your Affairs In Order

In addition to taking into consideration the desires and emotions of your family, you must also consider other more tangible factors. You must ascertain that you are healthy enough to endure the rigors of being a trucker and an owner operator in general.

But moreover, you need to handle your finances and formulate a business plan. You need to be focused on work and the road during your first months and years as an owner operator, so you need to get all your finances in order to prevent you from going broke.

You may need to obtain business loans, get your truck and any equipment that goes with it, obtain owner operator insurance, and take your living expenses into account.

4. Purchase Your Truck And Get Registered

Possibly the most exciting and important parts of being an owner operator, purchasing your truck and equipment has many factors. You must consider how far you can reach in terms of pricing of the truck, but also factor in how well the truck will run.

Driver’s are also required to have certain driving endorsements in order to drive a specific commercial truck. Make sure you have all your ducks in a row before attempting to start operation or hitch onto a commercial carrier.

5. Lease Onto A Carrier Or Start Your Own Operation

There are two types of owner operators to be identified. First, there are owner operators who are leased to a company, a carrier, and operate under their authority. This makes up the majority of owner operators.

The other option is to operate under your own authority and run your trucking company like a standard business. You will need to forge relationships with prospective shippers and earn their business from the ground up. This can often be difficult because many functioning businesses with frequent shipping needs often already have sufficient contacts.

6. Get Trucking Insurance

Trucking insurance needs to be bought whether you lease onto a carrier or work independently to cover liability and damages to make sure your covered in case an accident ever occurs.

Learn More About Running Your Own Business

Being an owner operator can be the experience of a lifetime. With that said, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into when you sign up for the life of running a trucking business.

Whether you want to be leased to a carrier or run your own thing, you need to be business savvy in order to be successful. Check out some of our other articles and learn all there is to know about entrepreneurship.

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