There are a lot of good trucking companies out there. But for some drivers, working for someone else just isnít enough. The problem for some is that the lure of the open road tricks them into becoming owner operators before they are ready.
ďMaking itĒ as an owner operator in trucking isnít easy. You need to ask a lot of questions and listened to what other drivers said their mistakes were. Learning from othersí mistakes has can help you avoid some of the pitfalls they fell into.
Pitfall #1: Lease Purchase
If you donít have the cash or credit to go buy a truck on your own, you arenít ready. Spend a few years as a company driver- at least two years- and get informed. Check with trucking legal resources like OOIDA about the problems with lease purchase deals. Many drivers have lost a lot of years and gained a lot of ugly spots on their credit report because they didnít investigate the drawbacks and consequences.
Pitfall #2: Work smarter, not harder
The goal is to work smarter, not harder when it comes to being a successful owner operator. Cheap freight may get you 5,000 miles a week solo, but it also gets you a million mile truck long before itís time. Choose your loads and the company you lease to carefully. Youíre not a company driver anymore, so just because they promise you the miles doesnít mean theyíll deliver the money. Remember, the more miles you run- the more fuel you will burn, the more maintenance youíll require, the more wear and tear youíll have on your truck and yourself.
Pitfall #3: Been There, Done That
Some truckers seem to know everything. Unfortunately for them, ignorance is bliss. If you want to truly get ahead in trucking, always keep your eyes open for new opportunities. Donít quit your contract on a whim, but always know what your options are. Network with other drivers and try to sift through the bolony to gain as much information as you can. You never know when things are going to go sour and you need to have a back up plan or two waiting in the wings. You may find that you arenít doing nearly as well as you thought you were compared to other owner operators.
Certainly there are other pitfalls out there. Just being aware that there are things to watch out for is a major step toward success in owner operator trucking.