Skip to content
  • There are no suggestions because the search field is empty.
nav-feature_csa-monitor

Check Out Our Latest Product Release

CSA Monitor tracks your driver and risk data in real time.

Learn More
nav-feature_dash

Reach Your Business Goals with Dash

Foley's customizable platform for your unique initiatives.

Learn More
nav-feature_resources

New Resources Waiting for You & Your Team

Expert, always-free resources at your fingertips.

Learn More
Top Pros & Cons of Being an Owner-Operator Truck Driver
Mariah Barr
9 mins read

The decision to leave behind your role as a company driver and start a trucking company isn't an easy one.

If becoming an owner-operator was easy, everyone would do it. But even though getting your business started, complying with federal regulations, and putting in the long hours can be tough, there are many perks to starting a trucking company of your own.

Below, we lay out the most common pros and cons of being an owner-operator truck driver to help you make one of the biggest decisions of your trucking career.

Becoming an Owner-Operator — Pros

Here are the top pros of becoming an owner-operator.

You can build a business you're proud of. 

Being an owner-operator gives you the opportunity to build a business with a great reputation that will act as a financial asset for you in the future that you can sell at the end of your working life, or set it up to run without you so it can outlive you and you can leave a legacy. Who thought simply working for yourself could leave such an impact?

You can use your preferred equipment and vehicles. 

Everything you use to run your business is your choice — there’s no settling for equipment that has strange ticks or waiting for your company to upgrade. It also means you can make your rig feel like a home away from home in ways you may not have been able to do while working for an employer.

You have control over how much money you make. 

If you are a good negotiator (or just a strong advocate for yourself and your work) then being an owner-operator truck driver can be a lucrative move for you. If you get a good reputation, you may be able to scale your business with additional drivers and make even more.

Freedom. 

As an owner-operator, you are your own boss. What could be better, right? There’s really no better feeling than waking up every morning knowing you have no one to report to. Of course, this does come with some downsides (which we’ll cover below), but the freedom of being completely independent is the biggest reason why people become (and stay) self-employed.

You can bring a buddy. 

You won’t have to ask permission to bring your partner, a friend, or a furry friend along for the ride. While the long drives alone are one of the things that attract us to this career, a little bit of company from time to time is certainly welcome and can make journeys much more pleasurable.

You can take time off when you want it. 

Your time will be dictated more by your finances than the hours someone else says you should be working. If you have savings, you can take time off when you need it and when you want to, and ensure you’re always around for big family events. No more asking for permission or saving up vacation time.

You can only do the work you enjoy. 

A lot of trucking companies take on a wide range of work, which means you may spend one week doing work you enjoy, and the next three doing work you hate. That’s not how it is when you work for yourself — you have the choice to decide if you want to narrow your focus to only serve one type of customer. This is also a great opportunity to become a sought-after specialist in your area.

You can form your business around your lifestyle. 

When you own your own business, it’s yours, and that means you can do with it as you please. Want to stay closer to home? You can decide to cut back and only do intrastate work instead of the long, interstate work you used to do. Want to only work two weeks of the month? Provided that’s financially viable for you, you can. You make the rules and can say no to things you don’t want to do.

Becoming an Owner-Operator — Cons

Here are the most prevalent cons of becoming an owner-operator.

It’s all down to you. 

The biggest factor employed people fail to think about when they consider what it would be like to be their own boss is the additional responsibility that rests on your shoulders. Suddenly, you need to do the work, be the DOT compliance admin, and figure out where your next job is going to come from. Unless you have a financial buffer or make enough from each job, you will have to juggle all this while driving (though not literally!) around the state or country.

We can be our own worst bosses. 

Think your boss is bad? Wait until they’re with you 24/7 inside your head. Early in your business, you’ll hear your inner boss telling you what you have to do, should do, shouldn’t be doing, are failing at, and so on. Ironically, many of us who are most suited to life as an entrepreneur are also the most difficult to make happy, even when you’re your own employee! Learning to cut yourself some slack is essential if you don’t want to find yourself overworked and burned out.

No backup plan. 

We’re human, and that means that sometimes we get tired, sick, or have something come up in our lives that needs our immediate attention. When you’re the only operator in your business, it all comes down to you. That means that if you have a family emergency, you don’t have anyone to call to come and help you continue serving your customers while you go and help. If you can, have a few trusted contacts you can call for help if something happens.

Making the Tough Decision to Become an Owner-Operator

The biggest benefits of being an owner-operator are by far the freedom with time, work location, and finances. Provided your business is successful, you can be in full control of your time, where you spend that time, and how much you make when you work.

There are also ample opportunities to grow your business into a much bigger organization that takes you out of the driver's seat and puts you in charge of your very own fleet of drivers. For many, being able to decide when, how, and who you work with is often enough to outweigh the cons.

If you're ready to set forth on the journey toward becoming an owner-operator, you're not alone. Foley has reliable resources for starting a trucking company and being your own boss.

You can start with this Foley article on how to become an owner-operator. But if you still have questions, give us a call or request a free demo of our DOT compliance software. Our experts have over 30 years of experience helping drivers with starting a trucking business. Call us today to start working for yourself!

×
Fill out this form and a member of our team will reach out shorty.

Schedule a demo to see Dash in action.
A Foley expert is ready to help your company create a streamlined hiring, screening, and onboarding process that's easier for your candidate and team, while keeping you compliant with DOT and FMCSA requirements. Fill out this form, and we'll schedule a time for a personalized online demo of Dash.

FORM IMAGE (1)
Whether you’re looking for a quick background check, or a comprehensive DOT compliance solution, Foley can help.