The thought of becoming a self-owned and operated trucker has passed through nearly every truck driver’s mind—whether they’re a newbie in the industry or a driver with decades of experience. For many, the lure of entrepreneurship is strong, and the idea of being out there “on your own” seems great.
This does indeed work for many truckers; however, it’s wise to be very informed about this reality before taking the leap and departing from that steady paycheck. There are plenty of things you should heavily consider before making such a large and important decision.
Below are just a few basics that are good to think about.
You’re Still An “Employee”
Just because you’re a self-owned and operated trucker doesn’t mean you can get around required paperwork. You’ll still have to treat yourself as an employee—meaning, you’ll need to fill out a job application for yourself, do an employee check, have an annual DMV records review, give yourself a road test, and so on. This may sound (and feel) strange, but it is required.
How Is Your Health?
If you have any conditions that may get worse over time, you may want to think about staying with a truck line that can help pay for your medical bills. Not having insurance plus having a medical condition can cause serious financial problems for a self-owned and operated trucker.
What Is Your Family Situation?
If your family situation at all affects your driving, being a self-owned and operated trucker may not be right for you. If there are times when you simply need to be home, the demands of being independent are going to cause problems. It will be long hours away from home, as every truck driver knows—and it will only get longer when you become a self-owned and operated trucker. Whether it’s as serious as having a sick child who needs you close by or as simple as a girlfriend who will miss you, it’s critical to think about factors that may make you want to be at home.
Drug/Alcohol Testing Is Still Required
Self-owned and operated truckers can’t get out of drug and alcohol testing. DOT regulations take this very seriously, and commercial truck drivers of any kind need to take a pre-employment drug screening as well as random drug tests. Self-owned and operated truckers also must have an official drug-free policy, as well as a designated person who oversees it. This is a simple step—you’ll just need to join a consortium.
Can You Cover Your Insurance?
Insurance can be very expensive without an employer plan to take care of it for you. Perhaps your spouse has an insurance plan that you can be a part of, but if not, this is an important factor to consider when thinking about becoming a self-owned and operated trucker. Depending on your weight, age, and previous medical history, it might be worth it to stick with a company that can provide you with an insurance plan. This goes especially if you have a family and your spouse has no insurance, and it’s also important for truckers to get disability insurance.
And Much More…
This is just the tip of the iceberg. When considering becoming a self-owned and operated trucker, there are many things to go over, including
- Whether you want to be independent or lease to a company
- What equipment you want vs. what you can afford
- Choosing a business structure in order to properly plan for taxes
- Fuel economy, equipment maintenance, and working with ASE-certified mechanics
- And much more!
Really take a good, close look at your lifestyle and your personal goals. Being “on your own” could be amazing, but it’s very important to make sure that your personality matches this plan. If you’re certain that it’s a good idea for you, congratulations! Many drivers do successfully make it on their own. And at Consortium Pool, we can help you get started. We are a DOT-compliant drug testing company, and we can provide you with the testing and paperwork you’ll be required to have before becoming a self-owned and operated trucker. For more information about our programs and what we can do for you, please contact us. We’re looking forward to hearing from you.