I’m have been pondering the idea of becoming an owner operator for the last year. I’ve started driving right after my separation date from the Army in 2014 so I’m approaching my 7th year.
Aside from buying a truck, (I’m currently in the process of saving for) could someone tell me EVERYTHING one needs to have to legally put a truck on the road. Insurance, tag, etc... also, would I be better off going through a company like Landstar, or would I be better off subscribing to DAT, Truck Stop, Coyote, or any other load board logistics company and going about that way?
I’m just trying to make the good choices financially, methodically, and cautiously. I do not want to shoot myself in the foot. I am just to the point where I think it’s getting to be that time and I know with the information I have already got from this site, I don’t have a doubt I can do it. Thanks in advance!
I need some advice on becoming an Owner Operator post military.
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I can likely help here. I just went O/O a few weeks back. That said it depends on how you want to start up. Are you going to buy/lease/rent your own trailer, or use a company trailer? Are you going to lease your truck or buy? if you do lease will it be through a carrier or independant? and are you going to lease ONTO a carrier which is diffrent then leaseing from a carrier?
Assumeing you want to go all in you will need the following.
1. To incorperate your business, this can take a few weeks so should be done first. I also HIGHLY recomend a lawyer for this and the next few steps. While it can be done without, a lawyer is cheap protection. Plus they can help you understand the diffrences between say an S-corp and LLC.
2. Your own MC number. This can also take a few weeks so should be done once you have your business set up.
3. A USDOT number
4. Truck insurance/trailer insurance
5. IFTA tags
6. A business account
7. Fuel card
8. UCR registration
9. A good tire program if you can find one
10. A good accountant or accountant software.
And a few other state specific ones like HUT in NY for example if you operate there.
Dispite what many say an OOIDA membership is a good investment as they have a TON of articles that are super helpful for a new OO startup and offer help doing so.
Additionally as for jobs i leased onto my current company with my own equipment doing end dump rather then van work. This is a good "middle" step to help you get your foot in the door for some as it helps you get established though delays the age of your own authority.
Others here may be more specific with other companys. Additionally for your truck make sure you have plenty of cash handy. I went into OO with what i though was a massive "oh ####" fund and it was only just enough due to some bad luck. And this was with a truck that passed a 3rd party inspection, a dyno, blowby and oil test. To the tune of almost 65K now and about 3 weeks total of downtime before i made a penny including my wet kit installation.
I plan to buy a truck and possibly leasing a trailer until I can get squared away as far as cash flow goes. And possibly an older rig I can find one reasonable and reliable. And I do not particularly have any specific plan as far as leasing onto a carrier or getting a subscription and using a load board. That was also something I was waiting to decide until I had some more opinions or advice. I know I would rather have consistent money vs. more money each load, but again, that’s just my first thought when I think about it.
I have heard of OOIDA. Once a year they do a seminar is Missouri I believe if it’s the same organization I’m thinking about. I will definitely look into them and what they can offer.
As a rule if going for an older rig avoid anything emissions from 2003-2016 like the plauge and only buy emissions from 2017 and newer. A lot of early ERG trucks were money pits that bankrupted a lot of companys. Gliders of that era were and are fine but be aware considering who is in office and how hard they are pushing green mandates, that there is a 100% chance that pre emissions trucks will be negitively effected sooner then later. How they do it is anyones guess but it is something to factor into a business plan. And an OOIDA membership it worth its weight in gold for NEW O/Os though once established many services they offer are pretty poor values in comparison to when you are a new O/O (insurance rates for example)
It also sounds like your from the missouri area. If so check out MHC kenworth in KCMO or arrow truck sales in KC as well. Both have very nice trucks come through on a regular basis.
For the leaseing vs job board. Job boards are more independant but can be a crapshoot on staying busy as a new carrier. Leaseing onto a company gives you a much more secure though usually less profitable set of loads and your basically signing an exclusive use contract with them I.E no outside loads. But leaseing has the upside that many will pay for things such as ifta and give steep discounts on fuel services and insurance. Very good way to get establushed and you can transition to your own authority under them as well and get the benifit of having tenure while building tenure under your own authority. Again at the cost of full independance.
I would pick a truck that's around the year that you like and the type that you like and get the VIN number off of truck paper or whatever and call your insurance company and see how much your insurance will be. That's probably going to be the largest deciding factor whether to get your MC or lease on.
Remember if you get your MC it can take 30 to 45 days to get paid. Sometimes you can get a quick pay depending on what percentage the broker will give you If you lease on to someone you should get paid every week.
I would advise if you are going to lease on to somewhere find a place where you pick your own loads. I'm not knocking anybody but if you work somewhere that they completely dispatch you is really just kind of like working for somebody and they usually have their favorites and they get the best loads and it's just much better to pick your own. Then if you want to get your MC later at least you have more experience with that.
If you lease on they will also take care of your paperwork and ifta and all of that sort of thing.
If you get your MC, make sure that you have somewhere to lease or buy a trailer already set up. Some places will not lease or rent to a new startup. Power only is tough to make money. You need your own trailer.
Buying an older truck is tough unless you can really wrench on it yourself. Only buy from someone that has a thick binder of recent repair receipts.
Ooida is the best $40 or so you will ever spend.
I took the slow and easy route. I bought my truck first then leased onto premiere transportation running their trailers. that way I could focus on getting my business set and figuring out the basics of being an owner op. It worked out well in that regard cause they were able to keep me rolling with loads while I focused on fuel and tires and maintenance for the truck. and coming up with an actual cpm rate what needed to make money.
David McGill on YouTube has a lot of very informative videos about starting his trucking biz
as Mentioned , stay far away from any truck with emissions.
Even if you have a warranty on it , the warranty won’t cover your lost revenue while it’s in the shop for days or weeks being repaired, again and again.
I started out leasing my truck to a company that had thousands of trailers and plenty of freight.
You can’t book your own loads but you also don’t have to hunt for loads.
You have plenty of their freight to move.
it worked for me . I was home all Almost every night since it was a regional job,
And made good money ,
With your own authority your insurance is going to be $20k the first year and they will want at least half that up front .JL92 Thanks this.
I really appreciate all the info. I will be sure. To look into everything everyone has mentioned. Oh, and I’m from Georgia, roughly 50 or so miles from Atlanta, (which is a huge freight hub) not to mention the port in savannah if I wanted to go the container route, which I dont particularly.
I guess I’m just trying to get an idea of everything I need to do and the order I need to do them im. I will 100% post my process on this thread to hopefully help someone else going this route.slow.rider Thanks this.
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