Fuel for Thought
Buying or Investing?
I have a job to sell. I will provide you with certain “benefits” if you provide certain services. This will not be a “no cost” venture. If you agree to spend X amount of dollars for equipment, I will provide you with, to the best of my ability, work opportunities that may or may not fit your needs. You will be required to provide a certain level of customer satisfaction, as well as provide availability to my customers as I see fit. I give no guarantee of income level or amount of opportunities available to you. You are responsible for ALL costs associated with YOUR equipment, including, but not limited to, fuel, repairs, insurance(s), taxes, communications, permits, licenses, tags, food, lodging, data requirements, as well as timely paperwork submission, IFTA reporting, and any fees associated with electronic transference of pre-taxed funds from me to you, all while staying in compliance with the ever increasing amount of regulations from FMCSA, CVSA, DOT, and IRS.
Sounds great! Where do I sign?
Well, that is one way to look at it.
Are you buying a JOB or investing in a business career?
From the above perspective, who would ever want to drive a truck as a leased owner operator? Maybe it depends on your perspective and your goals.
What is the difference in buying a job or investing in a business career?
If you are buying a truck and taking on all the responsibilities thereof, as a business owner, you should be building something. Is your goal a fleet of trucks? Maybe you aspire to get your own authority and become truly independent. Maybe you want to be the next mega carrier or maybe you just want to drive one truck, but build a solid customer base and thrive.
If you are taking on all the responsibilities of being an owner operator and barely getting by, did you not just buy a job? Perhaps a company driver or other line of work is better suited for you. Everyone is not cutout to be a company driver, factory worker, police officer, rocket scientist, swimsuit model, airline pilot, school teacher or port-a-potty cleaner. Nor is everyone best suited to be a business owner.
This is not meant to say if you are starting out and struggling that you should give up, you have to put in the work to reach your goals. Also, most businesses see down cycles, so a rough patch doesn’t necessarily mean to throw in the towel either. As a business owner shouldn’t constant learning and adjusting to circumstances be the norm? As you grow, so should your business.
Before you sign that contract, whether it is a carrier lease or fleet owner agreement, understand completely what you are agreeing to do, what expenses you will incur and the consequences of not fulfilling your contractual obligations. Just because you hold a CDL does not mean anything other than you can legally drive a CMV. When it comes down to running a business, you might find the easiest part is the driving.
Becoming an owner operator in the trucking industry today is not without its challenges, but it can be a very rewarding business for the right people with the right mindset.
See you down the road,