After talking to my brother who is interested in truck driving I was curious if was better for truck drivers to drive their own trucks or not. I was also curious about the pay and some of the hidden disadvantages of this way of earning money.
Around 84% of commercial truck drivers in the U.S. according to OOIDA are company drivers and do not own their own trucks.
Keep reading and I’ll share the pros and cons of owning a truck vs being a corporate driver, 5 of the hardest things about being a truck driver, why the pay is so low, and 1 thing you can do to not only increase your pay but make your life easier finding a school.
Do Most Truckers Own Their trucks?
According to Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association around 16% of truck drivers in the U.S. own their own trucks.
An owner-operator is someone who owns a truck and operates it compared to a company driver. There really are pros and cons to both.
As you can imagine being an owner-operator means more responsibility and “hopefully” more money. The bad news when you are an owner-operator you pay for all the maintenance on the truck and anything that goes wrong with the truck.
If the truck gets towed and needs repairs it’s going to cost money! If you don’t have access to deep pockets of money then you’re going to be out of business.
This is why many owner-operators don’t make it and go out of business. Between 60-65% of owner-operators don’t make it 3 years.
You also have to ensure that the truck you have is designed for what you’re doing. The interest rate to finance or lease a truck will also be higher than a car. Taxes are also something to think about when you’re an owner-operator and can be of help if you do it right.
As a company driver you do your job, collect your paycheck and then forget about everything. The million-dollar question is if the stress is worth the extra money.
The cool thing about being an owner-operator is you have more flexibility on what jobs to do and you can run the truck however you want it.
Of course, the money “should” be higher as well and in order for it to be worth it you should be earning at least 1.5 times what you would be earning as a corporate driver.
The general guideline is to crawl before you walk and then walk before you run. The first step would be to work for a corporation for “at least” 3 years. You also probably should have a TON of money saved up for emergencies, breakdowns, and other expenses.
Then due TONS more research on being an owner-operator. It’s probably a good idea to make friends with other owner-operators and ask them all the questions you can.
Another thing to think about is making sure you have enough work to justify all the money you’re spending.
Now, you might be wondering how truck drivers get paid.
Why is Truck Driver Pay so Low?
Truck driver pay is low due to fuel costs, maintenance and overhead when it comes to the business that operates the truck.
Many truck drivers get paid per mile, which means they are on duty and driving. What many people don’t know is that most carriers will not pay if you’re on duty and not driving.
If your fueling your truck, inspecting it and waiting for something you don’t get paid.
If you add up, ALL the hours you work divided by your paycheck your actual hourly rate will probably be less than your effective hourly pay.
The good news is that when you are waiting and NOT getting paid you can still do things such as read a book, watch a show, or exercise.
The real hourly rate is going to be closer to around $20 an hour (on average) starting out as a corporate truck driver but can be increased with time. Even though many advertisements will talk about gross income a year because it’s easy to recruit someone as a driver.
I know Walmart advertises truck drivers getting paid around 100k a year, the thing is Walmart “Only” hires the BEST truck drivers (You need lots of experience) and it’s very difficult to get that job.
What is the Hardest Thing about Truck Driving?
There is no perfect job or business and knowing the unforeseen problems can be a good thing to know before spending time and energy getting into the business.
A hard thing for some people might be being away from their home and family. For some people, this may be a benefit, but it’s something worth considering.
You’re going to get paid to drive and travel. If you enjoy traveling then this can be a good thing.
Another thing to think about is your social life. You are going to be working by yourself in a large vehicle. The good news is if coworkers, people, or bosses annoy you then this can be good.
You can always turn on Joe Rogan or the PBD Podcast (at least I like those 2).
You also don’t have a boss constantly looking over your shoulder. If you had some bad experiences with bosses then this can be a good thing.
There is also the challenge of cooking, where to park to sleep, and taking a shower to think about. These negatives can be reduced, but it’s something to think about.
Oh, and having patience is going to be good due to dealing with other vehicles and traffic.
The good news with truck driving is you can make good money, without going into debt (and paying interest) for a college education. Plus, many companies offer medical and retirement benefits.
There are also ways to save money due to being on the road sleeping in your vehicle. There are some studies that show driving a truck is good for your brain because you’re managing multiple tasks.
Every day can be different, you also get to travel see other places, and not have to deal with people.
If you are interested in learning more about being a truck driver I would recommend checking this out HERE.
He goes over picking the right school (some are bad) and how to pick the right company to work for (some are better than others).
It is a paid product and if coming up with the money is a real problem I would recommend checking this post out HERE I made. I go over step-by-step how to earn an extra $140 dollars very easy signing up for a few websites.
At least I thought it was very easy!
I hope this blog post on owning a truck vs being a company driver was worth it. Bye for now.