Owner Operator vs. Employee Driver | Episode 10


A couple of episodes ago, we started doing a question and answer piece at the end of each episode. Thanks to all of your questions, we decided to do an entire episode about a topic a lot of people were asking us about. Episode 10 is all about the pros and cons of being an owner operator vs. an employee driver.

What To Expect From Episode 10

I’ve seen so many reasons people choose not to go the owner-op route. They have to deal with all the government regulations, brokers who keep driving down rates, and business expenses that keep going up.

While all of these things are true, I’ve seen from personal experience owner operators who are successful getting out there on their own. But, it really takes grit to get out there and do everything you need to do. I can’t say it enough: it’s a lot of work to be your own boss, but for many of us the satisfaction and reward of owning your own company is worth the work.

And for some people, it’s not worth it. I’ve heard some say:

“I make 70K+ a year, why should I start my own company?”

That’s definitely true for some truck drivers, but I don’t think trucking is really all about the money for everyone. In this episode I talk a lot about what being a business owner is all about. I think it really boils down to:

  • Do you have the desire?
  • Do you have the drive?
  • Do you have the skills necessary?

A lot of the pros of being a company driver are the disadvantages of being an owner operator and vice versa.

If you’re more of a visual person, I’ve created a helpful resource on Motor Carrier HQ that outlines all the pros and cons of being an owner operator and employee driver. It also goes over some of the things I’ve talked about in past episodes on how to make it as an owner operator. Definitely check it out if you’re interested!

You can also get a brief overview of what we talked about below, with these questions we answered in episode 10.

What are the pros and cons of being a company driver?

If you don’t want to learn the system and work through all the regulations, then being an owner operator might not be for you. Also, if you just want to go out and drive, being a company driver may be for you. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Some of the pros and cons of being accompany driver are:

Pros

  • Stability and reliable income
  • Less risk of personal assets
  • Less stressful
  • Get benefits from the company

Cons

  • Potential to get laid off or fired
  • Companies break promises
  • Not in charge/control
  • Set potential income

Time Stamp: 16:00

What are the pros and cons of being an owner operator?

Being an owner operator is stressful. If you have the discipline and expertise to understand the system and use the system to your advantage, then being an owner operator could be for you. If you want to find a way to increase your income, you might want to consider starting your own business.

Pros

  • No limit to potential income
  • No company politics/drama
  • More freedom and control
  • Create value and wealth
  • You are your own boss and are in control

Cons

  • More risk
  • More stress
  • Have to pay for benefits yourself

As an owner operator, you are able to build wealth. If you have a truck, equipment, and your revenue stream, you can sell your business that’s added value and make money in the long run.

The biggest difference between being an employee driver and an owner operator is stress. Employee drivers may have to deal with office politics or company policies, while owner operators have to worry about if they will be able to get a paycheck. You’re risking a lot to become a business owner.

That’s the whole point of this podcast, to equip those who want to become an owner operator with the skills they need to succeed and increase their chance for success.

It comes down to where you are satisfied and happy in life. If you like the 60K job and like not having to worry about what an owner operator does, and the company benefits are important to you, then being a company driver is probably right for you.

If you’re someone who wants to strive for more, and perpetually is not satisfied, then that’s the tipping point where you should probably give the owner operator route a shot.

Time Stamp: 25:30

What’s the worst-case scenario for someone who fails as an owner operator?

While you can lose money, you can go back to being a company driver. If you still have the skillset to be a company driver, you can always jump back to be a company driver. If you don’t want to be an owner operator anymore, you can sell everything off or you can keep your truck and lease onto a carrier.

Time Stamp: 35:30

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Big T
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Big T

Basically the truth is this site is an info-mercial for Progressive Reporting and Motor Carrier Headquarters. Every link that you click on for the “more notes” just takes you to another iteration of the same infomercial page. If you enjoy going in circles and being steered to info that isn’t unbiased and so by the book so that it scares you enough to have their services obtained by you then you’ll enjoy this site. If you don’t have sucker written on your forehead just go to YouTube and search the more unbiased info there.

Chris Vernon
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Hi Big T. Throughout the podcast I have been open about the fact that I own Progressive Reporting, Motor Carrier HQ, and iThrive Funding. One of the biggest reasons I am doing this is because I saw a huge need for this type of information and help as I worked with our clients. I can’t share other people’s financials and experiences, but I can share mine. The podcast, tools and information are all free to everyone to use whether you use our services or not. Yes, you can spend lots of time searching around YouTube for the information we provide… Read more »