How to overcome obstacles while maintaining independence of an owner operator
The allure of being your own boss is undeniable when deciding to become an owner operator. The freedom of driving for yourself and seeing the country while making your own decisions certainly seems ideal on the surface. However, there are several obstacles you may not foresee when you first consider driving over the road.
The foremost issue independent drivers will typically face is overhead costs. Fuel prices and vehicle repairs may become enormous burdens for a driver that can accumulate over time. Logistics when finding loads could be a challenge for some drivers. For those who have families, being at home frequently also becomes hard when trying to keep their business operating efficiently. Let’s take a more in-depth look at three of the biggest obstacles an owner operator might be facing.
Fuel and vehicle maintenance could be considered the most important among them. Fuel prices can vary greatly from region to region making it difficult to manage fuel efficiency on long hauls. High fuel prices might even cause an owner operator to lose high paying job prospects due to not having the assets to cover the trip. General maintenance, such as tires and oil, are typical and can be budgeted for. However, when an unexpected break down happens on the road, the owner operator will be paying for the repairs out of pocket. Not only is profit lost, but the expense of those repairs could possibly put the owner in the negative. This type of situation might lead to or add to compounding debt which is discouraging for anyone. When operating your own trucking business, expenditures are a fact of life and there is no easy way out. However, non-forced or empanelled owner operators have the freedom of choice. Choice alone helps keep costs down.
Empty trailer is the same as down time:
Any driver knows that an empty trailer isn’t making money. The delivery of a load at a destination where back haul is available isn’t always possible when operating independently. Outbidding for a job is hard enough without the added pressure of finding one where you will be concluding another. Logistics can be confusing especially when you are handling all other aspects of your business. This is why companies have departments or hire contractors that are dedicated solely to logistics. An owner operator may not be able to afford this type of resource to help manage their business. While these issues can be discouraging, there is the option of leasing to a company that utilizes non forced dispatching. This allows drivers to decide when and what they will haul. While some independent drivers may possess the capital to handle problems when they might arise, others are just starting out and could lack the funds necessary to continue operating independently without leasing to a dedicated carrier.
Driving a truck isn’t for the average person. The long hours on the road can be mentally and physically draining. Isolation is also an issue some might not consider. Driving a tractor trailer takes an enormous amount of awareness and caution. It often takes a strong willed person to operate a large vehicle with the ever increasing traffic on roads throughout the country. With all these factors taken into consideration, some much needed downtime is always welcome even for drivers that love being on the road. This is especially important for those with family or hobbies outside of making a living. The high turnover rates of company drivers could conceivably be a reflection of this. Those dealing with forced dispatching are left with no choice when being sent for a load. When your livelihood is on the line based on whether or not you feel able to make a trip, this can become overwhelming as well as a feeling of being trapped. No one should have to subject themselves to compounding exhaustion in order to satisfy someone else’s bottom line. Similarly, an owner operator might be forced to stay on the road just to keep their business afloat. Empanelled owner operators have more control of when and where they want to go, and in return spending their time they way they want to.
As you can see, there are several daunting elements when operating your own trucking business. Some owner operators might feel like giving up altogether and signing on with companies that force them to be on the road to the point they are burned out. However, there is an alternative for those drivers who want to maintain their independence while leasing to carriers that are willing to handle some of the more difficult aspects of shipping. Companies that coordinate drivers through non forced dispatching offer owner operators the freedom to customize their workloads and, at the same time this eliminates some of the expense burdens that might pose to those drivers. Through the simple practice of non forced dispatch, these companies are making the prospect of being your own boss a reality.