10 Tips for Owner Operators

1. Know when to say “No.”

Some loads are just not worth it. Your time is money, spend it wisely.

2. If the fuel cost of hauling a load exceeds 25% of its pay-out, it probably won’t be profitable

Here’s a chance for you to say “No.” Multiply your load revenue by .25. If your fuel costs more than that, it’s a good idea to reject it.

3. Know your operating costs and don’t spend more than you can

It can be easy to go on a spending spree with your first (or fiftieth) owner operator check. Be mindful of your budget and make sure there is enough to keep your business running.

4. Choose your truck carefully

No matter how tempting, the biggest and flashiest truck will not make you a better living than another more affordable model. In fact: the less you spend on your truck, the higher profits will be.

5. Have realistic goals

No one makes a million overnight. Whether you want to be an independent owner-operator and make a good living, or grow your business and become a fleet owner, a solid financial base has to be at the start.

6. Present yourself as a professional truck driver

Clean and tidy wins the race. The corporate suits appreciate a driver who takes pride in his or her appearance. No need for a dress, tie, or khakis, but stay polished on the road.

7. Choose your partners carefully

Shippers, other carriers, and brokers are not created equally; neither are the lanes you might want to run. Do your research and find the best match for you.

8. Keep your truck and/or trailer maintenance up to date

This will keep you out of trouble with the law (for the most part). Avoid the unnecessary expense of tickets and shop for the best deals and suppliers. Once you find these, stick with them. You never know when they might run you a loyalty deal.

9. Put your best tire forward

Check pressures regularly and rotate. This is another thing that can get you in trouble with the law. One wrong bop from a State Trooper’s flashlight can put your truck out of service for the day.

10. Take care of yourself

Be sure that you stick around to keep running your routes. Make time for exercise on the road, no matter how light it might be.

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