How to Become a Successful Owner Operator?
As of December 2021, there are 3.5 million truck drivers in the U.S., out of which 90% are owner-operators. With such a high demand for truck drivers, many citizens opt for this as a full-time career option. So, if you are also planning to be a successful owner-operator, you must comply with the following 9 points.
1.Get the Trucking Authorities
You must have a U.S. Department of Transportation number (USDOT number) and MC number to avail all the opportunities as a successful owner-operator. The USDOT number is assigned by FMCSA, which stands for Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
2.Have a Commercial Driving License
Needless to say, you are required to have a valid commercial driving license. You have to pass a physical exam and knowledge test to get this. There are special classes at the trucking school that one can avail to pass the tests.
3.Know the Right Sources to Get Freights
Once you have the license and other required documents, you can check the load boards. You must know how to negotiate, find routes, and assess the paperwork.
4.Use Electronic Logging Device
The truck owner-operators should get an FMCSA compliant electronic logging device as per the regulations. This helps maintain a fair record of hours of services offered to each company.
5.Evaluate your Personal and Financial conditions
Assess your family situation before deciding to make a career in this field. Often long-haul drivers have to stay away from families for weeks. As an independent driver, you are the only one responsible for your truck's safety, maintenance, and regulatory management. So, ensure that you have sufficient funds to take care of all the possible emergencies like a mechanical failure, lease renewal, etc.
6.To Buy or Lease?
Truck owner-operators can buy or lease the vehicle. If you have sufficient funds to pay for a heavy down payment, go for it. You can pay the monthly installments, and the vehicle will be yours. However, you can get it leased if you do not have money. This is a cheaper way to get started, but you’ll have to pay more in the long run. Plus, the vehicle won’t be yours.
7.Prioritize your Health
Since you are the only driver, you can't compromise your health. It has been observed that long-haul drivers do not get adequate sleep due to stiff or lumpy mattresses. This causes health issues like hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and digestion problems.
The best solution is simply replacing the regular mattresses with Kogler's antimicrobial and anti-odor flippable truck bed mattresses. They are neither too lumpy nor too stiff, ensuring you get at least 8 hours of sound sleep.
8.Follow the Golden Profit Ratio
You should calculate your profit ratio to know how your business is doing. Start by calculating the gross profit by finding the difference between your total revenue and operating expenses like fuel, maintenance, toll fees, etc. To get the profit ratio, divide gross profit by total revenue.
9.Form a Business
You should have a legitimate business before applying for a USDOT number. If you want to become an independent driver, you can get your business registered as a limited liability company or LLC. Other business structures may fit your working model.
An owner-operator should decide whether they can buy the truck or they have to opt for leasing. Leasing a vehicle is expensive in the long term, so you should avoid this option, if possible. You must also have a commercial driving license and USDOT number.