Dollars & Sense

Kevin Rutherford

Why be an owner-operator?

| April 23, 2013
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  • Paul T Bounds

    The fact that I don’t have some dumbass dispatcher telling me when,where ,and how to run helps to make it all worthwhile.
    As far as I’m concerned,Having one’s own authority is the way to go.

  • Spirit CDL

    When you’re an o/o you’re both the boss and the employee. Drive, obey regulations, and treat customers like your boss is watching you because in reality, he/she is. If you’re responsible and disciplined you can find the freedom the o/o talk about.

    Drive safe!

  • no es buena esta perrona yest

    the fact it is, be on your own, yes you can have the freedom you want it, and also you can have what you looking for,

    but you do need to be a real series on what you choose to run, and how you run, the factors to be on owner operator, make more, and more sacrifice for you and your family, but you need to have all the things on one line, you can work 3 weeks out, and stop a week off, all depends on your decisions,

    about truck driver, yes it is thru you live most of responsibilities to the company, but anyhow your are a fully responsible, while you are on the truck, plus you only make a living, now o n this so many jobs lost overseas if you ask for a raise, they tell you the door is 3 feet wide and 7 feet toll, all depends on your dreams, and how you want it accomplish, both ways, if you are a driver, you are a fully responsible for what happened around you, if you own the truck is the same thing.?

  • Ben Hardy

    If you are worried about owning your own truck, contact me and I will give you some advice. I started as a company driver, then an owner operator and now I own 2 trucking companies. I am happy to give you advice, or even sign you on as a lease operator with my company. There are many good reasons to own your own truck. I totally believe in it.

  • John Scott

    Being a Owner Operator means accepting all the cost associated with trucking. Yes, you can make more money and you certainly should. But in my experience as a owner operator the elimination of forced dispatch was my main reason for becoming a owner operator years ago. In these lean times I am one of the lucky O/O who owns his truck and trailer. I am not sure I would jump into a new or newer truck with a big payment unless your willing to work a lot of days of the year. Which kind of defeats that reason of becoming a owner operator in the first place.

  • John Scott

    The key is that the bad or good decisions are your own. You cannot blame someone else for failure. I think many O/O who start out are very weak on business smarts. That is probably the worst part of being a O/O. Driving a truck is the same its just now you buy the fuel and pay for repairs. I know I drive my truck correctly as if my wallet depends on it.

  • James

    One new driver I know couldn’t get his eyes off the ‘you can make upwards of $300,000 a year!’ claims he saw. He was convinced that owing his own truck was the only way to riches and laziness. And he had never driven a mile in a truck. When pressed on owning, say, an independent small coffee shop, “No way, dude! Too much paperwork and details!” was his answer. He could not see the relationship between the two.

  • Mark T.

    I have my own authority ,I bought my 05 W9 new and have a 010 GD bought new ,both need a new home

  • Andrea Sitler

    Avoid “rent a ride” schemes. This is the one of the largest pitfalls in becoming an O/O. If you can’t afford to finance your truck and have money in the bank for repairs; you are not ready to be an O/O. That is hard and harsh but it has been proven to be true too many times. Don’t pay for the company’s truck that you will never own. Save and make the move when it is right for you.

  • jon b. qucik

    When you are an Owner Operator you are the lowest thing on the food chain and everyone makes money off of you and you get what’s left if any. What you need to do is get your own authority and then you are really independent. You do go where you want to go and go when you want to go but most of all you set your own rates. As an Owner Operator everyone has their hand on your wallet. According to the National Research Institute it costs $1.75 per mile to operate an 18 wheeler. Probably 1 out of 10 realize this fact. The carriers you would lease on to don’t care because the will get their cut off you whether you make any money or not. Getting your own authority only costs $200. Everything else you already would have to pay for as an Owner Operator leased to a carrier. Grow some balls and become really “INDEPENDENT”.

  • tes

    own your own truck is not making money is better to drive for company have a lot of risk hard to get loded the price is not fair but you deal with it

  • Josef

    John, I am an O/O with my own authorities for years driving thru various brokers, but I really can’t see spending $1.75/mile. Maybe with the truck payment but I bought all my equipment used for cash.

  • Josef

    Also the article doesn’t mention that statisticaly speaking only 33% of O/O that will start business today will be in the business one year from now. Do your homework. Find out first who you gone work for and ask around how are there rates. It seems like everybody starts at CH Robinson who is the worst and cheepest broker out there.

  • michael bechara

    Let me say something alot of what your saying is very true it is in fact alot of work you do need the business skills on top of the driving ability to be a independent trucker and it is a lot of hours but in the long run and good business planing you can make a good living .buy good equipment and keep it up repair bills can eat you alive . Get new or almost new equipment and make the payments instead of older trucks that break down and eat your lunch . control your expense . don’t haul cheap freight learn the market and keep your rates where they belong

  • jim stewart

    If you not willing to demonstrate a 24/7 professional attitude, not much of a natural self starter, careless bookkeeper, mechanically dysfunctional, poor salesperson, possess below average people skills, or scared to get dirty, don’t bother thinking about becoming an owner-operator. I’ve only been in trucking for forty-six years so what do I know!

  • Randyc12

    There is lots of money to be made as an 0/0…all you want to put into it….only profession I know of where you can make more money by working for someone else…with the DOT hassles and truckstops ripping everyone off, the fun is long gone…I started in 1971 and have seen a lot of changes in the industry, and not all for the better….still an O/O till I drop…

  • J Fritz

    What I’ve learned as an O/O is i have to pay the tax on say 90 grand a year but i only have 30 to do it. You hand over what little you fought to your receipts and get a good tax person or your sunk.

  • Lena

    O/O is very costly. Consider investing in becoming a freight broker. Looks like they have the least expenses.

  • pres1034

    I respectfully disagree with the notion that one who expects he’ll make more money needs to reevaluate his/her motivation. you almost sound that one who desires to have more money and freedom has forsaken the idea that he/she must offer a quality service and take pride in getting the job done correctly. I do both. I agree that making more money is not always as easy at it sounds.Sometimes i take home zero dollars and zero cents. However, when I average that with other weeks where I took home more than 2300.00, I still made more money than i would have working for someone else. As far as having more freedom goes: I have much more freedom than i used to have in that i don’t have to cover a dispatcher’s overzealous aspirations for revenue by running loads that i would rather not. On the other hand, i have customers who have expectations, and sometimes, it takes meme away from my preferences in order to keep them satisfied.

  • Clapton Fan

    What the hell did he just say? Was that in English?

  • RoadWolf

    I’ve been an o/o over 25 years and would not change a thing. I enjoy the challenge and satisfaction of operating my own business, and believe me that is the mind set one must use. The driving is easy. it is the rest that is challenging.
    There is also the pride factor in a job well done, and a rig that looks great.
    An o/o is a lifestyle not a job.
    I wish that the media, in particular the trucking media would put forth some positive articles on trucking, and especially on being an o/o.
    There is a VERY special feeling of going down the road in YOUR rig!!

  • martymarsh

    Of course Mr Rutherford left out the important part, it helps if you are out of your mind and also if grandma just left you 200 grand. Other than that you are going to be saying, why did I want to do this. 39 years behind the wheel, I have seen a lot of good people try and fail. But hey, what do I know?

  • Steve

    I bought a truck so I could take off a month at a time for vacations, mission trips, etc.. Then I leased it to a carrier and found out that an O/O leased to a carrier is just a glorified company driver without benefits.

    Now, as a true OO with my own authority, I work when I want, and go where I want. A true OO is not for everyone, as if you are not able to wait a month for your money, you need to keep saving until you can afford to do so. Some companies pay faster than that, but they are few and far between.

    Factoring your bills is a sign you are not sufficiently funded to be in business for yourself.. The 3 or 5 percent that they say is charged is really closer to 100% APR or higher with their added fees, a sure way to a slow painful trip back to a company truck.

    IF you must, a better solution is to have a line of credit at a bank. You will need to have decent credit for something like this, but instead of $300 a week in factoring costs, you would have about $20 in interest paid to the bank. It’s poor decisions like factoring that I’ve seen sink too many businesses over my 32 years in this business.

  • Christopher Buell

    I’m very much considering making the jump and would pay for some advice in order to not make any mistakes.


    Well said driver.

  • Michael Randleman

    Hey Ben, If your still on here contact me. Mike

  • Seattle206723

    Like your comments and since of thought on the business. I’m looking at maybe buying my own truck and taking a plunge.

  • s gathers

    hey my name is sam can u give me some advise when u get time? thanks looking to go to school to be a truck driver celadon wanted to train me is it a good advise?

  • Grayson Puckett

    Just graduated a driving school and first job as a company driver, but my goals are to one day be an owner operator with my own Pete 389 and reefer trailer so I can be the best for my family as is possible. Any advice you have I would greatly appreciate.

    US Vet

  • zaay27

    Hey Ben, if you are still around, please contact me, I have a few questions about making the leap to o/o

  • chili

    Please contact me

  • AUSY12

    owning your own truck can be risky, but we believe its worth the risk and as a trucker i can tell you that our company is very easy to lease on with and stay with. if you want your freedom, this is where you belong.

  • bull

    Is a hard thing to become a owner operator

  • Debbie

    My husband and I are very interested in becoming owner operators as a team. Any advice on what books to purchase or where to start? Thanks Debbie.

  • ED

    Hi Ben can you contact me at….Have a few questions, any input would be greatly appreciated.

  • Jeneria Lett

    Please contact me Ben at,for O/O advice.

  • ronj

    Hi J Fritz
    Use the link below to find out how to easily manage the earning and deductions on your broker statements without paying an accountant

  • bljudy

    Can you be a little more specific in regards to never owning the truck that one leases from the company?

  • Afreeca Henry-Blackwood

    Greetings Ben,
    If you are still available and giving advice please contact me at like everyone else I too would love and appreciate some advice.
    Thanks in advance.

  • mel

    I’m about to get my own truck feburary 2015. I’m saving money now and learning everything i can about the business. i plan on starting my own trucking companies like yourself in future. its gonna start with me though. i need any advice possible that know would b helpful. thanks

  • jason

    stop holding the steering wheel and start driving your business is the audio books that sells. should tell you everything you need to know. $247, if you aren’t willing to pay that stay in as a company driver

  • Jim

    Hi Ben..
    My name is Jim and if your still around, please contact me. I’m looking to go 0/0 for a second career…I can afford to buy my own truck outright..and would love any advice you could throw my way. I am in CA and the company I’m driving for right now are busy…thanks a bunch

  • BuckWild

    Please contact me at Thank you and God bless you always.

  • Josh De’Andre Frank

    Do you have an email or some type of contact

  • pappy

    Be honest, work hard,never forget where home is!!!

  • Houstonalum

    Ben I have some questions I would like your advice on… thanks!

  • Tom Relph

    If anyone is interested in hiring a tractor unit (44 tonne) in the UK. We have many available for hire. Unlike most other companies, we offer our units at a standard rate with no mileage limit, price is based on time period only. We will also give you free and expert advice along with contacts for contracts. For more information contact me via email

  • Benson

    Ben, please email me @ I would like to get thoughts on becoming an o/o. Thank you in advance. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.