Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side or is it. I guess that’s just human nature. This article will discuss being a company driver and an owner operator. You decide which is right for you.
Being a company driver does have it’s advantages.
When you come back home you can park the truck, gather up your personal belongings, turn in your paperwork and go home. Someone else then begins making any necessary repairs to the tractor and / or trailer. You collect a regular paycheck for the runs you are making.
You may or may not have access to other company benefits such as 401k, health benefits, disability insurance, paid sick time, paid holidays, paid personal days and paid vacation. Your schedule is usually set for you by the company dispatcher and you may be assigned a regular run, possibly with another driver. The company takes care of any truck and or trailer expenses such as fuel, replacing tires, insurance, licenses, etc.
You are responsible for driving and delivering the load on time plus turning in your paperwork. You may even feel pretty secure in your position with the company because of experience, longevity with the company, etc. The company does all the state and federal withholding necessary for where you live.
As a company driver you are not able to turn down a load.
On the other hand, being an owner operator had it’s advantages also.
As an owner operator you have the freedom to go where you want and work for who you want and when. You could own your own truck and maybe trailer, or several of each. Sign on with a company and lease to them and maybe have access to any benefits they may have to offer such as health benefits, etc. Be your own boss. Your potential for earning more is in your hands.
Take more runs, make more money. Sounds pretty nice doesn’t it .
As an owner operator you’ll need to start with a budget. First off, do you know how much money you need on a monthly basis to cover all your bills? And I do mean all your bills!
If you have never does this exercise, now is a good time to start. List all your annual expenses related to your home and family. Know exactly how much you will need to have for a year to cover all your expenses. Anything beyond those expenses is extra money for you. Now when shopping for a truck you’ll know about how much money you’ll be able to afford.
As a business owner you will submit your own state and federal tax reporting. You may or may not be responsible for reporting your IFTA quarterly fuel tax. Sometimes the company takes care of that for you, you just pay them an amount they quote you.
You also have access to business write-offs such as fuel, meals, motels, etc. Anticipate your business expenses too. The truck will need fuel, tires, and oil, to name just a few. Ask other owner operators what they estimate their annual truck expense to be just to get an idea of what it’s all about.
The important thing to remember is that you need to anticipate everything that will cost money, don’t overlook anything. How about cleaning supplies, load locks, binders, fluids, cellphone service, maps, truck washes, even magazine subscriptions. It’s better to have too many receipts that lose out on a legitimate write-off.
Once you know what your expenses are and put a dollar amount to them you are ready to start working your earnings to exceed your expenses. This would include paying yourself and putting money aside for unexpected expenses, clothing, savings and retirement.
You can tweek your pay according to your earnings. Some months may be better than others. In the better months you can pay yourself more to put money aside.
What I’m trying to say is your budget should be as comprehensive as you can possibly make it. Consult with a financial advisor about tax implications of your expenses and keep accurate records. You may need them some day if audited. Also talk with other drivers on how they determine their financial needs and what they do to keep track of everything. Do your homework, then make decisions.
I could go on and on but you get the picture.
Whatever you decide, owner operator or company driver, Easy Trucking Software has the software for you to track your expenses and income.
It’s easy to use and user friendly and designed for the trucker. Visit our website to view the Guided Tour that will walk you through the screens in the software with a brief explanation. We also offer a FREE Trial download of Easy Trucking Software.
Easy Truckin is brought to you by Easy Trucking Software. We hope you enjoy it.