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Owner Operator Trucking

Owner Operator Definition

An Owner Operator is defined as an individual who owns and operates their own trucking business. This means that they are a self-employed, small business owner who also typically runs the day-to-day operations of their business.

Owner Operator Salary

According to data collected for the industry in Canada, owner/operators can make anywhere from $4,000 - $18,000 per month, depending on the type of vehicle and the service area.

For local owner/operators, the estimated average gross income per vehicle type is:

  • Courier (GVW under 3,900): $4,000/month

  • 1 Ton (GVW under 5,490): $5,000/month

  • 3 Ton (GVW under 8,000): $6,000/month

  • 5 Ton (GVW under 14,500): $6,500/month

  • Tandem (GVW over 14,500): $7,000/month

  • Crane (GVW over 14,500): $10,500/month

Remember, these are averages. There’s some slower months and busier months that result in higher and lower revenue depending on the industry served as well as the exact type of vehicle used.

Things You Need To Know Before Becoming an Owner Operator

So the gross income numbers are looking pretty good for becoming an Owner Operator, but here are a few things that you should be aware of before you commit:

  1. Money. You’re going to want to ensure you have at least a few months of savings to cover your regular expenses and then some. Most companies have a hold back of 2-4 weeks, during which you will incur fuel, insurance, and maintenance costs. It also doesn’t hurt to have a contingency fund in case something unexpected comes up, and your credit rating should be in a good place as well!

  2. Professional Advice. You’re running your own business, so you’re going to need accounting, legal, and business advisers. Whether you’re running as an independent Owner Operator, or contracting with an existing carrier, you still remain self-employed.

  3. Work-Life Balance. You’re on the road most of the day, and when you’re done driving, you may need to attend to maintenance, paperwork, and keeping proper records. Make sure you’re taking care of your health with healthy meals, lots of water, and exercise when you can get it. But don’t forget to take time for yourself and your family, otherwise your relationships will quickly suffer.

  4. Patience. You’ll need lots of this one! It takes time to get into the swing of things if you’re working with an existing carrier, and potentially even longer if you’re working independently to build your clientele from the beginning. It’s easy to get discouraged when the bills start to pile up, but remember, this is a long term game.

But don’t worry, there are some great benefits to becoming an Owner Operator as well:

  1. Tax Deductions. You are an small business owner after all!

  2. (Relatively) Flexible Schedule. You are your own boss, so you can take as much time, anytime as you want. But remember, if you’re not working, you’re also not making any money. And out of courtesy, it’s best to let the company you’re working with know in advance.

There’s a lot to consider when deciding if you want to be a company driver or an Owner Operator, so don’t be afraid to ask the questions before you commit. Try talking to the Hiring Manager at a local carrier or any Owner Operator friends you may have.

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