Owner-operators earn more, work more than company drivers, Convoy analysis finds

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Among numerous other honors at the show included class awards, including the 3rd in Working Bobtail and 2nd in Working Interior, OEM Sleeper, taken home by owner-operator Jay Holsomback and his 1996 Kenworth W900L. Since Overdrive last checked in with Holsomback last fall, the interior in particular got a sizable revamp.

Owner-operators earn on average about $6,000 more a year than company drivers, according to analysis released Wednesday by brokerage app Convoy.

The company analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau from 2005-2017, concluding that owner-operators earn more per hour on average  and work more hours than their company driver counterparts, accounting for the overall greater pay.

The research was compiled by Aaron Terrazas, Convoy’s director of economic research. He notes that, despite the averages, owner-operators have the opportunity to significantly out-earn company drivers. The top 10 percent among owner-operator earners take home 52 percent more — about $19,200 a year — more than company drivers when controlling for factors like age, experience, education, family status and sex.

“But it is not all guaranteed upside for drivers considering going independent,” he said. “The bottom decile of owner operators earn 30 percent less per hour than company drivers, about $11,000 less over the course of a year.”

Convoy concluded that 11 percent of all drivers are self-employed, either as independent owner-operators or leased owner-operators. That’s slightly lower than the national percentage across all industries, 15 percent.

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