One day, every truck driver wonders if he should become an owner-operator. This is a good idea because, in the same way, you don’t work for someone, but get all the proceeds for yourself. However, in the case of a commercial driver and the owner-operator, there are pros and cons. We advise you to think carefully about each option.
If you still decided to become an owner-operator, then this article is for you. Here you will find a step-by-step plan on how to become a successful owner-operator and what to pay attention to.
Who is the owner-operator?
This is a self-employed truck driver who independently searches for and transports cargo. He isn’t listed in cargo transportation companies, but he can use the services of a dispatching company for the owner-operator, for example on this site.
This type of business truckers has one or more trucks (they can buy or rent them) and transport cargo together with hired drivers. Often the owner-operators are former commercial truckers who have learned the business from the inside. But, nothing prevents you from coming into the business from any other sphere.
How to become an owner-operator: a step-by-step plan
Like the creation of any other business, cargo transportation requires special knowledge and readiness for problems. Our plan will help you avoid the most common, but some subtleties will be revealed already in the process.
Step 1. Commercial driver’s license (CDL)
Obtaining these rights is mandatory to become the owner-operator. You will need to take a driving test, a theory test, and a CDL skills test. Only after that, you will be given a license. Is it possible to study independently and come to the exams? You can, but we still advise you to go to a special school and gain knowledge there.
Step 2. USDOT number
Before receiving it, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) checked the legality and compliance with the standards of your future business. Only after this procedure will you be able to get a USDOT number from the US Department of Transportation. It is required by the dispatching company for the owner-operator if you decide to work with them. But also this number is needed for your identification.
You should also get a cargo carrier number (MC), it is thanks to him that you become a cargo carrier for hire.
Step 3. Registration of business activity
You can do this on the website of the Secretary of State of your state by filling out an application. In it, you must specify the name of your company (it must be unique), the structure of the business (sole proprietor, limited liability company, etc.). After filling in, you need to pay the registration fee and send the document.
Step 4. Truck
You have two options — buy or rent a truck. Of course, it is much more profitable to buy a truck and drive it. But, this requires serious financial investments, which not every trucker has. There is an option with a loan, where you can beat off the cost of the truck while working. Or renting a vehicle is a simple and cheap option, but not in the long term. If you choose to rent a truck, then for a period of time until you save up for the purchase.
That’s it, you can get started! Next, you will only need insurance and an unloading board. Or you can use the services of the dispatching company for the owner-operator, which will greatly ease your life.