It’s obvious that, as a trucker, you hear a lot of different things on the road. Whether it’s over the radio or at a truck stop, there’s plenty of room for misinformation. Depending on who you’re hearing the information from, it can sometimes be hard to distinguish myth from fact. When it comes to owner-operators, there’s potential for a lot of false information to be floating around the trucking world. Lucky for you, we’re here to correct some of the common owner operator misconceptions that drivers have! You’ll definitely want to make sure you know the realities of these owner operator myths.
Common Owner Operator Misconceptions
Myth #1: You Need Perfect Credit and a High Income to be an Owner Operator
One common misconception about owner-operators is that you need to have flawless credit and a high income in order to obtain financing for commercial trucks. This causes some individuals to not even bother applying for a loan because they assume that they won’t be accepted because their credit is poor or they don’t have a high enough income. However, there are ways for individuals with a not-so-hot credit score to get financing for a new truck. For instance, it’s possible to get past issues with your credit history by paying a higher down payment to obtain a loan. By the same token, if a driver has a lower income, they can calculate the income that they anticipate earning with their truck in order to estimate whether or not they’ll be able to make the loan payments. That said, it’s important for owner-operators to be smart with their money!
Myth #2: Owner Operators are Always Away from Home
Another one of the popular owner operator misconceptions is that these drivers rarely get to spend any time at home. False! While some drivers may choose to be on the road most of the time, it’s ultimately their choice. Owner-operators have the luxury of being their own bosses. They set their own schedules and decide for themselves when and how often they want to be home. Drivers who work for a company usually have their schedules set by someone else, but owner-operators have the freedom to choose when they want to work.
Myth #3: Owner Operators can Deduct Out-of-Route Miles when Filing for Taxes
While we are not an accountant, we do know that there are a lot of tax-deduction myths when it comes to owner-operators. One of the biggest is the belief that owner-operators can deduct all miles driven in their truck when they file for taxes. However, this is not the case. Owner-operators only pay tax on profit. Come tax season, these drivers need to provide proof that all of the miles driven in their vehicle were strictly business related. Miles that were driven out-of-route cannot be claimed on taxes.
Myth #4: Owner Operators are 100% Independent
There are some owner-operators that are truly independent. However, the majority of them usually choose to work for a shipping company. They are given assignments and have the ability to choose whether or not they want to accept them. That said, owner-operators are not required to sign a contract that makes them exclusive to one shipping company in particular. A benefit of working for a shipping company is that drivers can choose to limit their driving time to the highest paying trips to generate more income.
So, now you’re up to speed on some of the common owner operator misconceptions that some truckers have. Unfortunately, these myths can spread like wildfire in the trucking industry. With that being said, it’s important to stay educated about such myths and make sure you distinguish fact from fiction. Have you heard any other misconceptions about owner-operators? If so, let us know in the comments below!