Working on the road as an owner-operator can be exciting. It opens up a lot of opportunity to see things and experience new places. It also gives you complete control over your income, the work you do and your truck. Before you jump into the responsibility of owning your own rig, there are a few things that you should consider. Here are three questions you need to ask before you grab those keys and book that first load.
Are You Prepared for the Responsibility?
Working as an owner operator means that you're in charge of your career, but it also means that you must take responsibility for the legal requirements of the job, deadlines for deliveries and equipment failures. You need to be fully prepared to take that responsibility.
You'll need to be able to handle pressure and stress well. Some people are naturally better at this than others, and if you struggle with stress management, this type of career could be challenging for you. You need to be able to roll with changes and react quickly when problems arise.
Are You Self-Disciplined Enough?
Entering the trucking business on your own means that you have to be dedicated and driven enough to chase the loads, manage your delivery times and plan your routes. If you lack the motivation and self-discipline required to put that effort in every single day, you're going to find the job a challenge.
Working independently means you won't have a dispatcher or boss to answer to, which can be freeing, but it can also be lonely. You'll need to be driven and disciplined enough to keep yourself on a schedule at all times for the best chance of success.
Are You Mechanically Inclined?
Owner-operators should have a basic understanding of the mechanics of their rig. The more you know about your rig and how to do basic repairs, the better your chances will be of getting back on the road quickly in the event of a mechanical problem. It's a diesel engine, so it won't be quite the same as working on your car.
You should be able to replace common parts such as the alternator, belts and hoses filters and compressor in the engine. It's also in your best interest to have the mechanical aptitude to follow a wiring schematic. This can help you find the source of an electrical problem quickly and easily. Understanding the mechanics of your truck can be the difference between making a delivery deadline and spending days in the shop.
Answer these three questions with honesty to see if working as an owner-operator is a good fit for you.