Owner/Operator: Is It For You?It’s fairly obvious that you’re working on becoming a truck driver and have aspirations to get into the industry.

But do you aspire, one day, to take your career to the next level, and go from a simple truck driver to the much more complex owner/operator?

There are certainly many benefits to becoming an owner/operator, as long as you do things correctly. This career step can lead to career independence, greater income, more success, and even perhaps the possibility of one day owning your own shipping company.

Really, it’s a supersized version of the American dream: work for yourself, in a quintessentially American field, with the chance to hit it big in the trucking industry and become a real player. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and one that many people could only dream of. On the surface, you can’t think of something more perfect.

But is it something you really want to do? Because it’s hard. REALLY hard.

Becoming an owner/operator is a huge commitment and a really large risk. You have to foot the bill for your own truck, which in and of itself is an investment counted in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. You have the cost of the truck itself, the cost of maintenance and insurance.

And if you are successful, you will soon find yourself working all the time. Like ALL the time—day and night—if you’re lucky. Owning your own business often means doing much of the work yourself, especially early in the process. After all, you don’t have a staff to deal with, right?

Then you have to worry about the business side of things. When you were deciding on a career path, there is a reason you got into trucking and not business, right? That may not be to say you’re bad at business; on the contrary, many truckers can be really good businessmen. It’s just that business isn’t what you get into this industry for, and it takes a lot of commitment to lock down the business side of things.

Then there are hidden costs, things you probably haven’t even considered. You have to deal with taxes and you lose much of your financial flexibility because most of your money is tied up in the truck. And if you don’t make a pretty big score with a carrier, you could be sunk really quickly. Be sure you’re in good financial standing if you are going into business for yourself.

It also may be a good idea to incorporate yourself to limit your financial responsibility if something unforeseen happens. There is a cost associated with this as well, but it is a protection that you cannot afford to put off.

Of course, none of this is meant to make you decide not to become an owner/operator…unless you’re not willing to deal with this stuff and much more. Of course, being your own boss certainly does have its benefits, and if you do find success and are able to wait it out and find success, you can indeed hit on a rather lucrative chunk of money that can afford you wealth beyond your wildest dreams. Or it could just help you make a solid, comfortable living on which you can support your family.

Make this decision wisely, young driver. It’s a bold move, to be sure, and as the old expression goes, fortune does indeed favor the bold. But be careful you aren’t reckless, or enter into a situation you’re not prepared to begin. Doing things properly can mean the difference between a great deal of success and a crushing defeat.