Regardless of whether you’re a starry-eyed rookie driver or a grizzled veteran with a million safe miles under your belt, you’ve at least considered the possibility of giving up the security of a guaranteed weekly paycheck for the chance to live the entrepreneurial lifestyle as an owner operator jobs. This is an achievable goal, but before you pick out a new truck and kick your current employer to the curb, you need to ensure that your ducks are in a row and you have set yourself up for success in what is a highly-competitive business environment.
In order to put yourself firmly on the road to success, there are a number of critical decisions and self-assessments that need to be made. While failing to take all of these steps doesn’t guarantee that your new venture is destined for the trash heap, following this roadmap does dramatically increase the chances that you will look back on this time with fond memories. So use this guide as a general framework around which to build a profitable, self-sustaining business.
Taking a good, hard look at your work ethic, habits, and other factors can yield solid answers about the likelihood you have of succeeding as an owner/operator. Do you like to spend weekends holed up in truckstops watching races or ballgames, shooting the breeze with other drivers for hours on end, or trolling around on the Internet? If so, you may not be cut out for the rigors of truck ownership. Some of the personal factors you will need to examine include:
How hard do you like to run? Do you prefer to maximize your available hours so that you can run as many hours as possible or is it more important to you that get a choice parking spot and a place in the buffet line while the food is still fresh?
If you prefer weekends at home regardless of what that time off might mean to your take-home pay, you might be better off remaining on the company payroll. Do you have special family considerations – such as a spouse with a strange work schedule or shared child custody – that heavily restricts when you’re available to drive? While it’s possible to successfully manage these issues, there may be times when hometime may have to be sacrificed in order to remain profitable.
Is your health generally good? While you may have a current medical card, do you have health conditions that will get progressively worse over time? If so, you might want to remain on the company payroll as an employee because serious health problems can strike a death blow to your business if you’re not financially prepared.
Do you need employer-sponsored health insurance or do you have a spouse that has an employer plan that covers you? If not, in most cases, you’ll discover that insurance can be a costly expense that might be beyond your reach (depending upon your health, age, weight, and other factors). Pending health legislation might change that, but until all the details are worked out there’s simply no good way of knowing how it could impact you. Short and long-term career goals – What are your goals? Are you a “lifer” or do you plan on eventually moving into a non-driving position? If you’re planning on making a move within 3 to 5 years, you probably shouldn’t plan on becoming an owner operator. However, if your long-term plan is to stay on the road as long as possible, your plans could very well include becoming an owner operator.
These are just a few of the practical considerations that you need to think about before making the decision to become an owner operator. By honestly assessing your personal wants, needs, and goals you can ensure that becoming an owner operator passes the compatibility test and is in your best interest. Your finances impact every part of your life – and will be a critical component in your eventual success or failure as an owner operator. To help ensure that you’re realistically ready to make the leap into full-fledged truck ownership, it’s important that you examine your financial house to ensure that everything is in order.