Steps to becoming an owner operator include taking a personal assessment, examining finances, choosing between being independent and leasing to a company, purchasing equipment and seeking legal and accounting advice. Factors affecting the success of owner operators include economy, freight rates and fuel costs.
A personal assessment includes taking into account driving preferences, home time, family considerations and career goals. It is important to be absolutely sure that becoming an owner operator is the right career move before getting started.
Finances are an important part of becoming an owner operator so it is important to be realistic about current finances. This includes setting a personal budget, eliminating excessive debt, creating an emergency fund and taking out disability insurance. Having good credit makes it easier to obtain financing for equipment and other business related expenses.
Decide on whether to go independent or lease to a company. Advantages of being independent include not having to deal with unfavorable company policies and dispatched favoritism, selecting preferred loads and lanes and deciding when to do a run. Advantages of leasing to a company include company-provided trailers, access to company money transfer systems and fuel cards, and load and freight consistency.
Purchase equipment depending on the type of operation. Factors to consider when purchasing a truck include age of the truck, fuel economy and area of operation.
Lastly, get legal and accounting advice to plan for taxes and set up a business structure. Each business varies, which makes getting qualified and professional advice based on the specific situation a good idea.