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Your Guide to Becoming a Self-Employed Truck Driver

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Truck drivers serve as vital cogs in the machinery of today’s world, transporting goods for businesses of every scale, from production sites to marketplaces. Their lifestyle has inspired numerous songs, making them the modern equivalent of nineteenth-century pioneers or frontiersmen. Some truckers are employed by trucking firms, which could be private entities owning their trucks or hiring services available to those willing to pay. A significant number of truck drivers are self-employed. These owner-operator roles allow drivers to navigate the highways for their own businesses. This article provides a roadmap on how to transition into becoming your own boss as a truck driver.

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The ups and downs of driving one’s own truck

Self-employed truck drivers can potentially earn significantly more than their counterparts, who earn an average of $43,000 annually. This increased earning potential arises partly from eliminating overhead costs and middlemen. Some owner-operators even see annual earnings surpassing $100,000, a substantial income considering the challenges truckers encounter on the road, like toll booths, traffic, occasional roadblocks, etc. However, economic downturns can impact self-employed truckers more severely than others.

Despite the enticing prospects, being self-employed also brings added responsibilities. Truck maintenance, for instance, falls squarely on the driver’s shoulders. There’s also accounting work and the potential need to navigate cash flow issues, potentially leveraging a factoring company for trucking. And for those not yet licensed, completing the necessary training and passing a state test is a prerequisite. If feasible, consider taking this test through a large trucking company that operates its own driving school.

Being self-employed means that the driver is free to—and must—set his own driving schedule and route. It is important to take advantage of this freedom to choose a route that will take the least amount of time and consume the least amount of gas. For the same reason, speeding should be avoided, as it not only wastes gas but induces wear and tear on the vehicle which can reduce its life.

How to get started

Being a self-employed trucker, in short, requires extensive skill and knowledge of both business and driving, making it a challenging undertaking indeed. And, of course, like any trucker, the self-employed must keep a driving log. Finally, there is the task of making records for the IRS. Thus, it is a good idea to take courses in accounting and bookkeeping, which can make it easier to deal with the economic difficulties mentioned earlier.

The individual who aspires to do his own truck driving should also put in at least $2,000 as a down payment. To purchase the truck itself—these vehicles cost, on average, from $50,000 to $70,000—requires the buyer to have a reliable credit history, usually a minimum of 600. The warranty will save the owner from having to take care of major repair expenses himself.

To find a job, the trucker can enlist the aid of a recruiting, agency, do an online search, or join the Professional Truckers Association or another organization.

Managing one’s own truck can be difficult. But it may be worth it. Certainly, you may want to try something new. And the trucker who works for his own company may someday have his own fleet of drivers working for him. So now— happy trucking!

Other Support:

One last remark, owner-operators don’t only get to have the freedom of choosing their preferred jobs out of the many offered, but the carrier networks will also support them in the same way they would any other employee. They will help the driver find the maintenance location, the pickup areas, and the drop-off destinations. Plus they will assist in nearly every facet of the trucking industry when it becomes necessary; overall, the freedom, amount of work, and excellent support make the job of being an owner-operator one of the last of its kind.

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