Becoming an Owner-Operator | OOIDA’s Norita Taylor Interview

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Here at AllTruckJobs, we pride ourselves in hosting jobs for every type of trucker we can. Although it’s easy to focus on the larger trucking companies, small businesses need some love too! Owner-operators uniquely position themselves in the industry to remain as independent and profitable as they can. These drivers often operate under their own authority or lease on to a carrier. Today there are approximately 350,000 owner-operators in the United States! Becoming an owner operator

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Recently, I had the chance to talk with Norita Taylor, Public Relations Director for the OOIDA. For those of you who don’t know much about the Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association, you can read all about their mission to support owner-operators across the nation. In the interview below, we covered just how becoming an owner-operator is attractive to commercial drivers, as well as some of the struggles they face:

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Unique Benefits of Becoming an Owner-Operator

Becoming an owner-operator may not be for everyone, although these jobs certainly have their benefits. For drivers who operate under their own authority, they’re really running a small business. That means taking care of the all the finances related to hauling goods, maintaining equipment, and obtaining the necessary permits and licenses. Sure, company drivers don’t need to focus as much time on these aspects, but owner-operators make up for this in independence.

Owner-operators can decide exactly what kind of business they want to run, right down to the routes they travel and the loads they haul. These drivers also have the freedom to pick their own equipment, trucks, trailers, and which companies they want to work with. As long as freight rates are good, owner-operators can maintain profitable and flexible business models.

Unfortunately, the higher costs associated with becoming an owner-operator mean most millennials and younger drivers aren’t able to immediately take this career path. Still, drivers with lots of experience in the industry are prime candidates for starting their own businesses and operating under their own authority.

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Issues and Challenges Owner-Operators Face

Although the benefits of these jobs are great, there are still significant challenges owner-operators face throughout the industry. One of the main battles remains the ELD mandate imposed by the Supreme Court. I asked Norita what the OOIDA’s stance on this issue was:

First, we do need to make a distinction between the use of electronic logging devices and the mandate. We have been challenging the mandate for several years. It is our convinced contention that it is not a safety measure, but rather something that big trucking has pushed for in order to drive out their small business competitors. We don’t have a problem with anyone who wants to use some sort of electronic device for logging their hours. For years and years, there have been companies who have used what are called “fleet management systems,” that incorporate what is called an AOBRD and those are still being used today. But what we have an objective to is mandating that everyone use them.”

As it stands, the OOIDA has filed lawsuits and continues to request exemptions for ELDs alongside other organizations who oppose the mandate. Although the OOIDA hasn’t had complete success with the FMCSA’s ELD regulations just yet, they plan on continuing the fight against oppressive regulations imposed by big trucking companies.

Overall, becoming an owner-operator can provide massive benefits for drivers who want to start their own businesses. Even though there are more expenses associated with getting started, many agree that the rewards are well worth it. And with organizations like the OOIDA backing owner-operators, there is support and solidarity when needed.

What is your experience as an owner-operator or thinking about becoming one? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Author: Hit The Road Jack

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