10 Steps to Becoming an Owner Operator

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For the last year, our Becoming an Owner Operator series aimed to help those interested in becoming an owner operator navigate the ins and outs of the trucking industry. Here are our 10 steps to becoming an owner operator:

Step #1 Evaluate Your Personal Considerations

Whether you’re an individual considering a career that allows you to travel across the country, or you’ve been driving a motor carrier’s rig your whole life, there are many things to consider and tasks to accomplish before even considering tackling the road on your own. Our Becoming an Owner Operator series began by assessing four personal considerations: personality, family, health and career goals.

Step #2 Obtain Your CDL

Obtaining a CDL is not as easy as getting your driver’s license. You must pass a DOT physical, choose a license type, determine if you need any additional endorsements, take the knowledge test, obtain your permit, and take the CDL skills test.

Step #3 Consider Your Financial Situation

You’ve taken into account the personal considerations (family, health, etc.) of becoming an owner operator and have obtained—or are on the way to obtaining—your commercial driver’s license (CDL). That means it’s time to tackle your finances and form a business plan that will ideally prevent you from going bankrupt within your first year on the road. This means taking trucking equipment, business loans and licensing, owner operator insurance, and living expenses into consideration.

Step #4 Purchase Trucking Equipment

Purchasing trucking equipment is arguably one of the most frustrating and exciting aspects of becoming an owner operator. Not only does one need to consider his or her financials when it comes to purchasing a truck, but also the type of operation he or she hopes to run. This post aims to help those who are looking to purchase trucking equipment carefully consider what they need for their specific operation.

Step #5 Get Licensed and Registered

Driver’s are required to have certain licenses and endorsements just to drive a commercial vehicle. This post will build off of the foundation laid in Step 4 and discuss other registrations owner operators must attend to before hitting the road.

Step #6 Lease onto a Motor Carrier or Obtain Your Own Authority

There are two classifications of owner operators; those who are leased to a company and those who operate under their own authority. This post will discuss the differences between the two in an effort to help those of you just starting out determine what will work best for your lifestyle and financial situation.

Step #7 Purchase Trucking Insurance

The trucking insurance coverages you need depend on whether you’ve decided to lease onto a motor carrier or operate under your own authority. Take a read to make sure you’re properly covered in the case of an accident.

Step #8 Decide if a Master Insurance Policy is Right for You

Our previous step toward becoming an owner operator discussed the different trucking insurance coverages an owner operator needs. These differ depending on whether s/he decides to lease onto a motor carrier or operate under his or her own authority. This post is for those who have leased onto a motor carrier and are exploring their insurance options.

Step #9 Determine if Load Boards are Right for You

Today’s load boards are typically an online site where owner operators find loads posted by shippers and freight brokers. Sometimes, online load boards also have a Smartphone App option, enabling truck drivers to find loads without having to physically be seated at a computer with an Internet connection. The load boards of today can also be filtered by origin/destination, trailer type, and other determining criteria. Read more to learn the difference between public and private, as well as free and paid load boards.

Step #10 Explore Invoice Factoring as a Cash Flow Solution

Unfortunately, invoice factoring only pertains to those who have chosen to operate under their own authority. However, it never hurts to take a read, especially if obtaining your own authority may be in your future.

Becoming an owner operator is not a decision that should be taken lightly, especially if you wish to operate under your own authority. Truck Writers is here to provide you with the trucking insurance needed to succeed within the trucking industry. Contact Truck Writers today!

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