One of the biggest questions you may face as a truck driver is whether you should work as a company driver or as an owner-operator. Both options can be lucrative employment opportunities, yet each situation is different and comes with its own challenges. Here we will discuss some of the differences between being a company truck driver vs. an owner-operator.
What Is an Owner-Operator?
An owner-operator is a driver that is also the business owner. Owner-operators own or lease their own truck and perform shipping services under contract for a large trucking company. Owner-operators are not subject to the restrictions imposed on company drivers yet run many risks by assuming all of the liability and responsibilities associated with being a private business owner.
Owner-operators typically earn higher wages than company drivers but also have to pay for their equipment maintenance and repairs. Owner-operators will also have to worry about finding their benefits like health insurance, retirement savings, etc.
What Is a Company Driver?
As the name suggests, a company driver is an employee of a trucking company. They are provided the truck and trailer for shipment transportation and are supplied with minimum weekly wages to protect against warehouse wait times and equipment breakdowns.
There has been a high demand for drivers in recent years, leading to impressive sign-on bonuses and benefit packages eligible for those considering being a company driver.
Benefits of Being an Owner-Operator
There are several benefits to becoming an owner-operator. If you are able to pay the costs of truck and trailer maintenance and repairs, as well as take on the risks of owning a business, then you might be suited to be an owner-operator. Some of these benefits include:
Vacation time: Being your own boss, you can make your schedule. This means it may be simpler to take time off being an owner-operator.
Independence: An owner-operator has more freedom to select which loads they want to transport. This varies depending on the contracts the owner-operator has made, yet for the most part, owner-operators have more independence than company drivers.
Personalized equipment: An owner-operator either owns or leases their truck and trailer. Most times, trucking companies do not consider driver comfort when buying for their fleet. So, for owner-operators, they have the luxury of choosing the type of truck they want to use.
Higher pay: In many cases, an owner-operator has the ability to make more money than a company driver. Owning a business has distinct tax advantages, and freight rates are typically higher for owner-operators. It is important to remember that owner-operators are responsible for all of the costs associated with owning a business, including maintenance and repairs on their truck, which can be costly.
Benefits of Being a Company Driver
There are also many benefits to being a company driver. If you enjoy driving a truck, but don’t want the responsibility of owning your own business, then becoming a company driver might be right for you. Some company driver benefits are:
Time off: Your time is your time. Once you’ve finished your jobs, the rest of the day is yours. You won’t need to spend additional time making sure your truck is maintained or that all of your paperwork is organized.
Consistent paycheck: Your earnings are all yours. You won’t have to factor in expenses such as repairs, maintenance, or insurance for your truck.
No initial start-up costs: When you begin your career in the trucking industry as a company driver, there is no upfront expenditure besides the cost to obtain a CDL. The truck and equipment will all be supplied by the trucking company you were hired to work for.
Easy to find employment: In recent years, the trucking industry has struggled to fill the demand for drivers. This means there are plenty of employment opportunities for individuals looking to become a company truck driver.
The Choice Is Yours!
It really is up to the individual as to whether or not they want to pursue a career as an owner-operator or a company driver. Each opportunity comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. If you are prepared to take on the responsibility of owning your own business and buying your own truck, then the owner-operator path may be right for you. If, on the other hand, you are looking to get behind the wheel and start driving right away, then a job as a company driver would be the perfect match.
TQM Logistics Solutions has set the standard for trucking companies. We work to provide drivers the ability to find careers to fit their needs. With a network that spans eight states, TQM Logistics Solutions is your source for an exciting and profitable career in the trucking industry. For more information about everything from summer driving safety tips for truck drivers to our trucking compliance services, contact us today!