Live training opportunities to jump-start your career

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Updated Jan 6, 2019

Perhaps the dawn of a new year has you resolving to take your trucking work to the next level, but you need more preparation. You can find plenty of great information online, but participating in live training can be better in that it offers opportunities to network with experts, as well as fellow drivers with common interests.

If you’d like to make some headway with an owner-operator business, either venturing out from a company driver job or advancing your operation as a leased or independent operator, there are good options for training this year. They range from one hour to two and a half days, with costs from free to almost $500.

Partners in Business

What might be the longest-running owner-operator training program takes place every August with Overdrive’s Partners in Business seminars at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. Four free sessions held over two days present various aspects of owner-operator work.

Trucking radio host Kevin Rutherford addresses an Overdrive’s Partners in Business audience at last year’s Great American Trucking Show.Trucking radio host Kevin Rutherford addresses an Overdrive’s Partners in Business audience at last year’s Great American Trucking Show.

Kevin Rutherford, a trucking radio host and former small-fleet owner, presents topics such as developing personal and business best practices, and, for those with operating authority, developing relationships with brokers and shippers.

Executives from ATBS, the nation’s largest owner-operator financial services provider, present in their seminars the latest benchmarks on key owner-operator metrics, such as revenue, net income and miles, based on their clients’ numbers. They also offer market analysis and predictions.

While the one-hour seminars are limited in what they can cover, far more depth on starting or advancing an owner-operator business is available through Overdrive’s Partners in Business manual, available for free download at the program’s website. The digital pages can be read on a screen or printed.

The program is sponsored by TBS Factoring Service.

With input on tax changes and other topics, ATBS helps Overdrive editors update the manual annually just before the GATS seminars. This year’s sessions will be held on the Friday and Saturday of GATS, which runs Aug. 22-24.

ATBS produces a similarly detailed owner-operator manual, Build Your Business. It costs $19.99. ATBS also offers comprehensive online owner-operator training through its CABS (Course of Advanced Business Standards) program. It costs $249.

Truck show seminars

While most seminars at truck shows lack the scope of the Partners in Business program, the shows present many topics of interest concerning owner-operator business and regulation. Many such opportunities, usually in one-hour slots, are offered at the two biggest trucker shows, GATS and the Mid-America Trucking Show, March 28-30.

One of the hottest owner-operator segments, expedited trucking, has its own show and seminars for drivers and fleet owners. The Expedite Expo 19 show will be July 19-20 at the Allen County Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Truck to Success

For drivers looking to become an owner-operator, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association offers a two-and-a-half-day program, Truck to Success.

It will be held March 12-14 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Blue Springs, Missouri. Classes are led by OOIDA experts. Its many topics include developing a business plan, buying a truck, insurance and running under your own authority.

OOIDA membership is not required to enroll. The fee of $495 per person includes breakfasts and lunches, but not lodging. Those who register before Feb. 1 will receive a year’s membership for free.

New Entrant Survival Training

This course from the National Association of Small Trucking Companies focuses on those seeking operating authority, as well as small-fleet owners needing to update their business plan. The New Entrant Survival Training program is designed to help start-ups develop a business plan and address areas that often become problems for new fleets. Among the topics are compliance, insurance, fuel management and driver hiring.

The one-day training costs $250. It’s held in NASTC’s base of Gallatin, Tennessee, just northeast of Nashville. The courses are held throughout the year on Friday with optional bonus training on Saturday mornings. The two exceptions are offerings at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, which do not include the bonus training.

The next training session is Jan. 18. Here is the full schedule for 2019.

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