The Risks and Rewards for Owner-Operators
There’s no feeling quite as freeing as working for yourself. Many truckers thrive in this work arrangement, finding self-employment to be a preferable option in the freight industry.
While some people enter the trucking industry because they feel it adds a degree of freedom that other jobs don’t, many take things a step further and break away from the traditional employee/employer relationship.
Doing this offers a number of benefits. Owner-operators can make a good living if they know how to manage their time and money effectively.
One of the main drawbacks of employment from a trucking company is the scheduling. Sometimes unpredictable and often very demanding, pre-made schedules give a driver little control over their whereabouts from week to week. While time off may be guaranteed in the position requirements, this isn’t something every carrier offers.
The result is drivers who feel that their freer work arrangement and chance to travel for a living has now become more of a stringent obligation than a joy.
The owner-operator model gives drivers much more freedom over their work arrangement. While drivers must still adhere to industry guidelines and handle themselves professionally, doing so without having to answer to a company manager can make the freight life much easier.
There are some concerns about this option, namely that it can be very expensive and time-consuming to get started. Options like trucking apps, starter programs, and equipment leases have made the independent lifestyle a bit easier to manage.
The distinction between an owner-operator and an employee is of great importance to those using the services of drivers. Misclassification has resulted in numerous lawsuits in the past, with the current port-trucking strikes stemming from independent drivers being treated as employees but denied appropriate compensation.
Though some claim trucking companies and organizations like the American Trucking Associations work to make laws in favor of larger carriers and the employee classification, groups like the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association provides representation and resources to drivers who prefer working independently.
Though carriers have struggled to find employees over the past several years, independent drivers are now seeing new resources to help them get matched up with those who need their services.