Is there reason to think 2015 will be a strong year for owner-operators? Yes. And that not based just on rosy forecasts that “2015 will be a game-changer” or that “continued job growth and consumers who feel more secure may trigger more-robust income and spending increases.”
It’s also based on the track record for what appears to have been a very healthy 2014.
“The good freight demand and driver shortage have worked well for independent contractors this year,” says Todd Amen, head of ATBS, the nation’s largest owner-operator financial services provider. “We expect the overall independent contractor net income average to be over $54,000 this year, which is the highest since we’ve kept track in 16 years.”
Average third quarter net income for ATBS clients was $14,464. That’s a 9.4 percent increase from the same quarter in 2013. It covers leased and independent operators in all types of hauling.
Amen adds that the good news “also seems to be spread broadly among all segments.” Looking at the 12 months ending in September 2014 (the final month of that third quarter), net income was particularly good for leased flatbedders: $57,621. That’s partly due to strong second and third quarters, construction’s seasonal pickup, though federal data shows 2014 will be construction’s best post-recession year.
Leased dry van and reefer operators were around $52,000 for those 12 months.
Independents usually do better than leased operators in a surging market because they can catch some of the excess demand that larger fleets can’t always accommodate, and these 12 months were no exception. Total net income for independents was $58,208. Like flatbedders, independents also profited from strong second and third quarters.
So comment below: How have your earnings been this year? And what do you expect for next year?
Flatbedders and independents, have you noticed the strong rates reflected in those ATBS numbers?