What It Takes to Become and Independent Contractor Truck Driver

Commercial truck drivers have many options once they receive their Class A CDL. Leading carriers offer perks like sign-on bonuses, good pay, and plenty of benefits. Depending on your preference, you can drive for a regional, local, or OTR company.

You can also become an independent contractor truck driver, also known as an owner-operator, and run your own trucking business. There are many carriers that offer affordable lease-purchase options, so you can get on the road as soon as possible.

Who Are Independent Contract Truck Drivers?

A contractor truck driver does not necessarily work for a single company. In spite of their name, they are independent. Load boards can be subscribed to by owner-operators or they can work with third parties to find loads.

In order to gain driving experience, many independents start as company drivers. Owner-operators make up the majority of self-employed truck drivers in the United States.

Independent Truck Drivers: How To Get Started

It is important to assess your personal situation before becoming an independent contractor owner-operator truck driver.ssess your personal situation, the lifestyle of an owner-operator isn’t just a job, it truly is a way of life. Despite of the fact that being a full-time independent contractor is one of the highest-paying jobs in the trucking industry, you’ll spend many days and nights on the road away from family and friends.

Make sure your finances are in order

Leases for trucks and trailers aren’t cheap. There will be a credit check and a down payment required. In addition, if you are leasing through another carrier, until you own the truck outright, you’ll have to drive for the carrier who leased it to you.
You also have the option of leasing or purchasing a truck on your own. Although you will be a fully independent trucker and can carry loads for several firms, financing your own truck through a manufacturer may put more financial strain on you.
Consult a financial professional–a banker, financial advisor, or accountant–to see if you are capable of taking on this role.

Steps that need to be taken

A sole proprietorship or LLC must be formed and a USDOT number must be obtained. The FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) requires both.
Getting your trucking authority also means that you have the government’s permission to haul freight as your own company. Motor Carrier (MC) numbers are issued by the FMCSA.
If you lease or finance a truck, you can’t put a single mile behind you without truck insurance. Generally, freight carriers must carry liability insurance of $750,000, according to the FMCSA. There is, however, a $1 million minimum requirement for most shippers and freight brokers.
Is it better to work for a trucking company or as a contractor?
The process of becoming an independent operator, running your own business, and maintaining your own equipment is not an easy one.
It depends on you whether to become a company driver or an independent contractor/owner-operator. Working for a company or going it alone both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Getting a valid CDL is the first step toward a trucking career and CDL Academy is the best place to do that. Get in touch with us today to learn more!
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