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It’s Been a Record Year for Owner-Operators

Led by independents and flatbed drivers, owner-operators are had a record year for net income in 2014, according to the largest owner-operator financial services provider.

With the industry currently suffering from an employment squeeze, this news couldn’t come at a better time. Let’s take a look at the details and answer why becoming an owner-operator might be the right move for you.

The Raw Numbers

For calendar year 2014, leased operators and independents cleared $56,167 on average. That represents a 7 percent increase over the 2013 average, which was $52,406.  The primary factors behind these increases are the driver shortage and plunging diesel prices.

Net income for independents eclipsed that of flatbed truck drivers, rising an additional 8.7 percent above the yearly average in 2013. Most of the contractors operating in the independent and flat markets are on percent of load type programs, which allows them greater flexibility in pay adjustments.

Today’s Owner-Operator

Independents are also operating in more of a spot market right now. This is why these two segments are doing so well. They have higher highs when the economy is doing well and lower lows when it isn’t. It’s a reflection of how good the freight market has been, going into 2015.

Being an owner-operator may not be for everyone. One of the biggest complaints heard from those making the transition is the sudden appearance of mounds of paperwork. The driver never leaves the cab, but suddenly finds he or she is now running office operations as well.

If handling administrative duties is a small price to pay for job freedom, then perhaps becoming an owner-operator is the right decision. There are several benefits to becoming an owner-operator in today’s trucking industry. Let’s examine each of them one-by-one.

The Money

Many view truck driving as a blue collar endeavor that doesn’t offer much in the way of financial reward. Contrary to popular belief, truck driving can be quite a lucrative field, especially for an owner-operator.

With a shortage of truck drivers across the country, many companies have significantly increased what they are willing to pay. Expect to come across some pretty significant bonuses and incentives. Many of the excellent jobs available are high paying ones that handsomely reward divers as they gain more experience.

The Flexible Schedule

As an owner-operator you can choose to stay local or go national. The ability to decide what work you take and mold your runs around your desired schedule is a huge benefit.

Being able to decide where you go provides the added bonus of being able to be home with your family when you choose to be, rather than having to work at the whims of a carrier regardless of any familial constraints.

Job Security

Let’s face it, the trucking squeeze isn’t likely to let up anytime soon. As the economy continues to improve, overland transit needs are only going to increase. Gone are the days when finding a load was few and far between.

Any industry in need will likely end up rewarding those who choose to throw their hat into the ring. Provided the economy continues to improve, even just marginally, trucking jobs will be plentiful, waiting for those who are looking to dip their toe into an industry awash with work.

Team Up

If the idea of traveling alone doesn’t appeal to you, many owner-operators choose to work in teams. This allows them to travel with someone and take longer hauls. This is not only an excellent way to make extra money, but it also helps to relieve the doldrums of traveling for long stretches on those nationwide hauls.

While becoming an owner-operator may not be for everyone, there certainly are benefits to finding your independent streak and putting the proverbial rubber to the road. If you’re looking for greater pay, increased flexibility, and innovative work options, perhaps you should look into becoming an owner-operator today.

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Tiffany Locke
Tiffany Locke
7 years ago

The ability to choose whether you want to stay local or go national is a great idea. If you have more options as an owner operator on when and where to work it would probably help you be able to stay home when you need to. As an independent owner operator, you’d probably want to find a trucking company that will ensure you have jobs when you need them and still gives you the freedom you’re looking for.

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