Owner-Operator Truck Driving Jobs
With ever-increasing diesel fuel costs and clogged highways, there’s no question that driving a truck is a very tough job. Because of this, many drivers become independent truck drivers and become responsible for their own truck maintenance, insurance, fuel costs, bookkeeping and marketing. This may sound like a lot of work, but for those people with the entrepreneurial spirit – it’s the only way to go!
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has a membership of just over 150,000. A small portion (15,000) of these members work for trucking firms as outside truckers, but the balance of the members run their own businesses. Many owner-operators like the fact that they get to work closely with their customers, developing long-term transportation relationships with them that serve them all well. The truckers get a steady customer base, and the customers get more personal service and generally more precise and faster deliveries as well. Many owner-operators gain valuable trucking industry contacts while working for previous employers before going solo. It takes time and good, quality service to gain enough steady customers to allow an owner-operator to make a successful go of it. Many owner-operators say that by working for a trucking company first, you find out all the things you DON’T want to do in your own business. Some drivers find that they prefer to stay away from certain areas of the country such as large, metropolitan areas and keep their stress levels much lower. It’s not all about the money, though a good and steady paycheck is always a good thing to strive for. By networking with the people you make deliveries to, you can establish a good base of clients that will give you enough work to make a good living.
As an owner-operator starting out, it’s always a good idea to set aside some money for those dry periods when you may have to scramble to find work. Many owner-operators find it near to impossible to get good insurance rates until they’ve had at least three years of accident-free driving. Illustrating a focus on truck driver safety is critical! Also, by having a partner many owner-operators find that the many duties of running a business can be shared, such as bookkeeping, finding new work and maintenance. This can make all the difference between running your business yourself and burning out, or having a successful, long-term partnership.