How to Become an Owner-Operator
Excited about opening your own trucking business? Great! You know the earning potential and naturally, your next question will be, “how do I become an owner-operator?
Here are the basic steps you can follow:
1. Figure out exactly what you want to do as an owner-operator.
There is a big difference, for example, between running a business where the sole trucker is you, and one where you sit in an office and manage a fleet of dozens of vehicles. What is your vision for being an owner-operator?
2. Save up money.
You are going to need to pay fees for appropriate licensing and permits, and you will have to buy or lease at least one truck to get started. You also will need to take care of insurance and the other expenses we discussed. So, you will need some cash going in.
3. Get your CDL.
Don’t have a commercial driver’s license yet? Your next step is going to be to get one.
4. Register your business.
While you are registering your trucking company, you will have to decide on a structure (i.e. LLC or sole proprietorship). There are pros and cons to each business structure, so do your homework.
5. Get a USDOT number.
Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to apply for a US Department of Transportation (USDOT) number.
6. Apply for your MC number.
Next, visit the FMCSA website again. This time, you will be applying for your motor carrier (MC) number.
7. Get what you need to physically start operating.
Now, it is time to build up your fleet. Buy one or more trucks or lease them. Insure them. Get an office if you need one, and hire employees if you require them. Consider starting small and scaling up.
8. Invest in an electronic logging device.
The FMCSA requires that you purchase an electronic logging device (ELD).
9. Look for jobs.
Now, you just need to start finding freight that needs hauling. Of course, you will need to find ways to appear competitive as a beginning owner-operator to get work. Sometimes a special certification might help you stand out.
Over time, you will build your reputation and establish working relationships that will make it easier to find freight and earn money.
Key Point: A number of steps are involved with becoming an owner-operator. Follow those listed above to get started.
Become an Owner-Operator Now
Now you know how much you can earn as an owner-operator, and you have the basic steps to become one.
Ready to get started? Click below to find a CDL training program near you.