The Pros and Cons of Being a Trucking Owner-Operator

On the surface, becoming an owner-operators seems much more enjoyable and profitable than working under a dispatcher for a larger trucking company. Yet, truckers should know that there is still a lot of hard work and responsibility that goes into owning and operating your own trucking businesses and the decision to move away from a larger trucking should be strongly considered before taking action. Weight your options and follow these lists of pros and cons to decide if being an owner-operator is right for you:

Pros of Becoming an Owner-Operator


Owner-operators have more room to make their own decisions on what loads to haul, who to work with, and how often to work than when working for large trucking company. Being able to make these decisions on your own has many advantages and can keeps the owner-operators in control.


Along with being more independent, owner-operators have to the freedom to be flexible and work on their own terms. You get to make your own schedule, which is great. Though you will still have to somewhat manage your time around the demands of the shipments, owner-operators are dependent on themselves to get things done and therefore have the flexibility to run their business the way they want.


Owner-operators set themselves up make more money than truck drivers working under a company because they claim a much larger share of the profits from each load. By owning the truck, setting up the contract for shipment, and delivering the goods, owner-operators control every part truck driving responsibility and therefore collect the profit for themselves.

Cons of Becoming an Owner-Operator


If you thought you were working long hours under a dispatcher for large trucking company, think again. Owner-operators work even more than company truck drivers because they have a lot more of the work load to cover on their own. From maintaining the truck, to setting up contracts, to actually hauling the freight, owner-operators don’t have much downtime.


Although being in charge of your own business can seem like a positive, it also comes with the responsibility of being held accountable for any mistakes. Owner-operators have to always be on top of their work and the pay close attention to government regulations if they want to successfully run their own trucking business.


Until you have established a good reputation in the industry and are getting loads regularly handed to you, starting off as an owner-operator can very stressful. On top of needing the funding to run your own operation until the profits start to roll in, owner-operators have to constantly be networking and building their brand as a reliable source for hauling freight.

Startup Costs

It can be expensive to start a trucking business, like it is expensive to start any business. But there are financing options, especially in the transportation industry as a startup. So although it can be expensive, there are options for you to become your own boss.

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons and still want to be an owner-operator, consider freight bill factoring to get cash flowing in right from the start. Freight factoring companies will provide immediate funding on freight bills even if you just started out and don’t have any business credit. By factoring freight bill owner-operators get the funding they need to haul more loads and increase profits without relying on payment from customers.

How can an owner-operator ensure their business remains compliant with regulations?

To ensure their business remains compliant with regulations, owner-operators can take several important steps:

1. Stay informed about federal drug and alcohol policies:

Owner-operators must have a thorough understanding of the regulations pertaining to drug and alcohol use within the transportation industry. This includes knowing the testing requirements for themselves as well as any drivers they employ. Regularly reviewing and staying up to date with these policies is crucial.

2. Fulfill driver requirements:

It is not only the owner-operator who must meet certain requirements but also the drivers they employ. This involves ensuring that all drivers have the necessary qualifications, licenses, and certifications required by regulatory bodies. Keeping track of driver records, conducting background checks, and verifying employment eligibility are essential steps for compliance.

3. Prioritize equipment maintenance:

Compliance with regulations also requires owner-operators to diligently maintain their equipment. Regular inspections, timely repairs, and adherence to safety guidelines outlined by the relevant regulatory authorities are paramount. Keeping records of maintenance activities and addressing any potential issues promptly will help ensure the business stays in compliance.

4. Comply with business and registration filings:

Owner-operators must understand and fulfill all necessary paperwork and registration requirements specific to their business operations. This can include maintaining up-to-date records of insurance coverage, obtaining necessary permits, and filing required tax forms. Staying organized with proper documentation and staying aware of any changes in filing requirements will contribute to maintaining compliance.

5. Follow guidelines set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA):

The FMCSA is a key regulatory body governing the transportation industry. By staying well-informed about the requirements and guidelines outlined by the FMCSA, owner-operators can ensure compliance in various aspects of their business. These guidelines cover areas such as driver qualifications, vehicle safety, hours of service regulations, and more.

How much revenue can an owner-operator potentially earn?

The potential revenue an owner-operator can earn depends on various factors. These include the setup of their business model, the type of freight they haul, the frequency of providing freight services, the number of trucks in their fleet, and the carrier they choose to do business with (if they decide to lease onto a carrier). Additionally, effectively managing operating costs is crucial to determining an owner-operator’s earnings. Some owner-operators opt to lease their business onto a carrier to benefit from significant carrier discounts, which can lead to cost savings on various expenses like fuel, maintenance, insurance, tires, safety footwear, base plates, and permits. Ultimately, an owner-operator’s earnings are primarily influenced by their ability to efficiently manage expenses and find ways to save money on operating costs. By doing so, they can maximize their profits and increase their potential revenue.

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