Becoming a successful truck owner isn’t as simple as buying a truck and heading out on the open road to meet your financial goals. You’ve got to understand trucking if you want to make it work. If you just go blindly into the world of the trucking owner operator, you’re very likely to fail. To be a successful owner operator, you’ve got to think the way a successful owner operator thinks.
I suggest that someone who is new to trucking spend at least two years working as a company driver before he even thinks about purchasing a truck. And I always suggest that the new truck owner either purchase the truck outright or get a loan from a bank or leasing company. I never suggest that he get involved in a lease-purchase program through a trucking company.
A successful truck owner must have a different mindset than a company driver has if he wants to be successful. For a company driver, it’s about miles. The owner operator who thinks about making money in terms of miles is most likely going to just spin his wheels.
A successful truck owner thinks about making money in terms of how much am I making per mile. After all, he is paying out for expenses that a company driver never sees- fuel, fuel taxes, road taxes, tolls, tires, truck payment, truck insurance, pm service / oil changes, tires, truck washes, repairs, and maintenance.
A company driver / employee doesn’t have to pay out for these expenses. In addition, an employee will most likely have benefits like health insurance, dental and vision insurance, and 401k programs. An owner operator has to provide these benefits for himself- and many choose (foolishly) to simply go without.
For an employee, these expenses are taken care of by the company. But for the owner operator, these expenses cut into his bottom line. The money he makes is directly affected by the money he pays out. And many expenses in trucking are directly related to the number of miles a driver runs- the more miles, the more you pay out for fuel, maintenance, and road and fuel taxes.
Add the numbers. A trucker making $ 1.00 per mile has to run 220,000 miles to make $ 220,000.00 gross. A trucker making $ 1.60 per mile only has to run 137,500 miles to make the same amount of money. That’s 82,500 fewer miles which means that the $ 1.60 / mile trucker paid less for fuel, maintenance, taxes and tires overall.
Not to mention the reduced liability that comes with fewer miles traveled. The more you make on the mile, the less running you have to do to make up for it. The less you make per mile, the more running you have to do to make up for it.
That’s what makes the successful owner operator’s mindset different from the company driver’s mindset.