So, you want to be an o/o

by Jimmy
(Kingman,Az)

A lot of folks are interested in becoming an owner operator. A true o/o will have his own operating authority, his own power unit AND his own trailer. He will answer to no one. Completely independant.Find his own loads, do his billing, maintain his equipment, go home when he wants and reap the benefits.


Now he can also lease his power unit on to a co of his choice and pull their trailer. But he will lose some income since he does not own the trailer. And he will pay for bookeeping, dispatch, etc. Plus, he doesn't have to look for loads. If you own your own trailer, you will be ahead of the game. The differance is 15-20% (75% vs 90-92%). That extra % will make your trailer payment easily.

You will have to live load/unload each time. No drop and hook. In a perfect world, the 'true' o/o would have his own established accounts, pick and choose his running lanes, be totally responsible for sales, customer relations and of course, the ability to create more business and or sever an account as in slow payer, too much grief involved or whatever.

My point is the true o/o has that freedom to do it his way. And of course, he can buy another truck/trailer if he wants and on and on. C.L. Werner, J.B. Hunt started with one truck.

Getting your own operating authority is really fairly simple. It is a government agency, but it is doable. Or you can pay someone to do it. Were talking under $1500. A new trailer, dry van for instance, is around $24,000. You can find used trailers for $8,000 up to $16-$18,000 . Something around 3-5 years old would be great. The same with a power unit. Look for used with under 300,000 miles. That way the original owner has taken the hit with depreciation.

Most of todays trucks will go 1,000,000 miles before needing major work. Even the transmissions. Tires, 2-300,000 miles. Now needless to say, good credit is a benefit. Also remember, if a truck shows 500,000 miles on the odometer, factor in the idle time and you have a lot more wear on that rascal. Unless you know the previous owner and can verify the history, you have to assume the worst. And we can't forget about insurance. Add if you own the trailer, if not the co. you are leased to pays.

You need a $1,000,000 cargo/liability policy. minimum. And some backup cash too.

If you are a newbie, I would suggest leasing on to a co. until you get that experience and learn the ins and outs. When you do get that far and buy a trailer, you can deal with brokers and or brokerage co.s. Be very careful when dealing with brokers. When you find a good honest one, stay with him. also you can deal with a co like C.H. Robinson. Create a report with one or two and that's half the battle.

Another thing, don't worry about fancy this and that when you buy a truck/trailer. The chrome looks nice, but does not make you any extra money.

Ok, so now you have your truck and trailer, your insurance, your authority, what are you waiting for pardner? there's freight to be hauled. That first payment will be due soon enough.

My last bit of info for eveyone re: lease/operators. A lease/operator is not an o/o. A lease operator is basically a glorified company driver. The trucking company wants you to believe you are an o/o, but pardner, you ain't. You cannot customize 'your' truck, you will operate that truck as if you are a company driver, you will take all dispatches, fuel at their fuel stops, pay them to maintain the truck, and here's the fun part. THEY will do all the bookeeping, and send you a statement. And you can't dispute anything. Doesn't sound like an o/o to me. Try taking a couple weeks off or taking a load that you found on your own. Ain't gonna happen.....Good luck......Jimmy

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