How to Become an Owner Operator

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To become an owner operator, a truck driver must buy or lease his or her own truck. An owner operator manages all of the facets of a trucking business. Once a truck driver becomes an owner operator, the driver is in charge of the business side of trucking, including finding and keeping clients, accounting, invoicing, as well as driving the routes.

Since an owner operator owns the truck and the trucking business, the salary can be considerably higher than working as a truck driver for another company. On average, owner operators earn $86,000 per year.[1]

Wikimedia Commons
Education Commercial driver's license
Starting pay $25,110[2]
Median pay $86,000[1]
10 yr growth Average: 11%[3]
Related professions Truck driver, FedEx delivery driver
Author Andrew Dobrow

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Owner Operator Job Overview

The work of an owner operator is to deliver heavy freight to suppliers or customers. Owner operators perform many of the same duties as commercial truck drivers, except they own the trucks themselves.[3] While this arrangement allows an owner operator to keep more of his or her money, it can also be costly, since he or she must care for the travel and maintenance expenses as well. Even though they own their own trucks, most owner operators work as independent contractors for established transport companies such as Schneider or FedEx.[4]

Owner Operator Education

Becoming an owner operator does not generally require a formal education such as a high school diploma or a college degree. However, most owner operators are high school graduates.[5]

However, all owner operators must hold valid commercial driver's licenses in order to operate their trucks. As part of getting a commercial driver's license, or CDL, aspiring drivers must attend and complete a CDL program that has been approved by their specific U.S. state and the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.[6]

Owner Operator Training

Owner operators who obtain a CDL can add endorsements that will allow them to carry a wider variety of loads. For example, drivers who receive a HAZMAT endorsement are allowed to transport hazardous materials, in addition to regular freight. To get these endorsements, drivers must complete a specific CDL endorsement program and pass an exam.[7] Owner operators must also apply for a transportation number from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and obtain the appropriate liability and cargo insurance coverage.[8]

Owner Operator Interview

An owner operator talks about his job

Also See: How to Become a Truck Driver, How to Become a FedEx Delivery Driver, How to Become an Auto Mechanic, How to Become a Mechanic, How to Become a School Bus Driver


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