For truck drivers who really want to control where they haul to and for whom, being an owner operator may be an aspiration to work towards. For these drivers, they own their own truck and equipment and hire themselves out to carriers for their services, cutting out the middleman. Although there is freedom in being your own boss, there are also many more responsibilities that come with it.
Pros Of Being An Owner Operator
Just like any business, being an owner operator in the trucking business has its rewards. You can choose when and how much you work, where you haul to and who you haul for. All earnings you make are yours, without having someone taking their cut before you get paid. Many enjoy the challenge of running their own business and start with just their own truck then get to the point of running a fleet of trucks and drivers.
Cons Of Being An Owner Operator
While you may get to keep all the profit, as an owner you also have all the expenses. When the truck inevitably breaks down, you not only have to pay to have it fixed, you are not making any money while it is down. There are also accounting, licensing and other parts of running a business that are now your responsibility. Not everybody wants the financial and administrative headaches that can come with ownership and many choose to work for someone else.
Most owner operators spend time as hired or leased drivers before they go out on their own. For many, it is the natural progression of their driving careers, but it is not the choice for everyone.
What crosses most people’s mind when they think of a commercial truck is a semi-trailer on 18-wheels heading hundreds or even thousands of kilometers down the road. For those who want to have the freedom and adventure of driving across country and even into the U.S. while getting paid, long haul domestic and international driving is a dream come true.
Being a long haul driver is not for everyone, in fact it is for a very specific breed of individual. Those who drive long haul, both domestic and internationally, have to have a certain personality as well as the training and licensing to do so. The attributes most long haul drivers share are:
– Self-motivated. These drivers must be able to push themselves and plan their routes without having to be guided or pushed to do so. No one is there to make sure you do your job, so you must be self-motivated.
– Enjoy being alone. Long hauls mean hours upon hours without anyone to talk to or converse with. Most people are fine with this once in awhile but not everyday.
– Love of travel. Long haul drivers often find staying in one place confining and love being on the road and seeing new places. No “homebody” will be comfortable being gone from his home for the majority of the time.
Of course you will need the training and licensing that is needed to drive the truck you will be using. However, there are other considerations as well. If you want to drive internationally into the U.S., you must be at least 21 years of age. There also may be physical and medical testing, including drug testing for some drivers. You also may have to pass a criminal background check as well.
For the right person, being a domestic and international long haul driver can be not just a career, but a lifestyle they love and embrace.
Short haul drivers usually work from one location and deliver out and return the same day. Obviously for those who prefer to be home every night versus out on the road, this may be the better choice. There are many variances in what type of vehicle you would be driving and how far, all depending on the company you work for.
Most short haul drivers will leave early each morning to start their day that may be 10 hours or longer. Depending on your specific job, you may have a specific route where you drop off or pick up each day, or maybe you will just be delivering a full truckload to one destination within a province or area each day.
Most short haul drivers work for local transport operations that hire for FTL or full truckload deliveries. Often a person may have the choice to do both short and long hauls for the same company.
Just like any commercial driving, there are requirements to being a short haul truck driver. You will need special licensing, training and may also have to pass educational and physical requirements for the job. Each employer will have their own standards, however you will need the proper training and licensing for the equipment or truck you will be driving, at a bare minimum.
Short haul driving is a great opportunity for someone who loves the road but just wants to be back in the same place each day. It can also be something people do interspersed with long haul, giving them periods of being at home before setting out again for a stint on the road.
If you have decided to go into truck driving as a profession, you have many options on what schools to go to and how to pay for the schooling. Depending on your situation, you may decide you are going to pay for the schooling yourself and in turn, be able to choose a great outfit to work for either while your in school or after your done. There are also companies that will pay for the schooling for you, which can be enticing for those who do not have the money or funding on their own.
Many trucking companies will offer to pay for your schooling, so don’t jump at the first one who offers a free ride to school. You need to consider several questions before signing up with any company.
– What Expenses Are They Paying? Are they just paying for the school or are they paying for travel to the school and expenses? Make sure you know exactly what you will need to pay out of pocket.
– How do I pay it back? Know how much and for how long you will be repaying the debt for school. Usually they will take a certain amount out each week for the first year or so.
– What will I be paid? Of course, this is the kicker. Finding out how much income you will be guaranteed from the company and for how long is an important consideration.
Choosing A School
Whether you decided to go at it on your own or you are being sponsored, you will want to choose a school that best fits your needs.
Getting started on the right path is important to a successful career in trucking. Take your time and do what is right for you.