Trucking Owner Operator Employment vs. Company Driver
Owner operator employment is where a contractor has a couple options in running their business. First, they can lease with a transport firm, so they pull that company’s loads. Or second, they can opt to arrange for their own “authority” where they carry loads for whomever they want or maybe they work in a chosen industry or they carry a certain type of load such as automobiles.
If you are a big-rig truck driver you know that the industry employs either company drivers or owner operators, usually called independent contractors. Some firms actually hire in both categories.
If a trucker wants a career in the transport industry there are pluses to the owner operator employment route and there are also pluses of being an actual company-paid employee. A company driver of course gets a paycheck every couple weeks and often they get benefits including such health insurance and maybe a company retirement plan. It’s nice to have paid vacation too. However, if you’re an owner operator you’ve committed to managing your own concern. This presents a lot of challenges, but you also have a certain amount of freedom to manage your own time and in many cases your own transport schedule. In essence, owner operator employment is the same as owning a business.
When you think about the freedom that is afforded an owner operator it’s like a double-edge sword. On the one hand you’re your own boss so you don’t report to anyone. Then again, there is the responsibility you have to yourself and to making a profit so you can keep on driving as an owner operator. And responsibility to your family as well.
Of course there is a certain security you get when you’re a company driver. You basically have someone to look after you. But you may not have a big say in terms of how that trucking firm runs its company. You also may not be able to choose what loads to carry, or when you’ll be home next. Sometimes you may be away from home for weeks.
In other words, working as a company driver is more organized maybe, as compared to being self employed as in owner operator employment.
Remember that owner operator employment takes a lot of discipline and if one does not have that discipline, she or he may actually falter. Running a business is not easy at all. You have to be a good manager of your time. Remember that to an owner operator, time is money, whereas with a company driver that’s not exactly the case. In owner operator self employment, managing your costs and your paycheck is important and you also have to keep solid credit.
Another aspect is health since driving over the road day in and day out is not easy. It’s important to eat the right foods. Some owner operators are good at stocking their rig up with healthier foods and sticking to a good diet. Regular exercise can also help an owner operator to feel better and do a better job, and of course live longer!
An owner operator’s life is always challenging. For example, you have to keep making those payments on your rig. Then there are maintenance costs. Plus you have to pay for insurance on your rig. Maybe you also have disability or life or health insurance.
A lot of owner operators talk about gross pay and others talk about take-home pay. Many trucking experts say there isn’t a huge difference between what an owner operator gets paid (self pay of course) and the pay that a company driver gets. Of course there are owner operators who do a superb job of not only driving but managing their business. These owner operators can actually make more than a company driver, and sometimes a lot more. They take the risk but get the rewards.
The bottom line is that a career as a trucker offers a lot of choices, and a driver can look at the pluses and minuses of each choice. Many big-rig truck drivers really enjoy the freedom and the self-pay owner operator employment.