At some point in your career, you may consider whether to continue driving for a company or become an owner operator. Deciding which option is best for you is a big decision. We are often asked what benefits come with being a company driver. There are many advantages to both, but in this post we will discuss being a company driver. As a driver, you know what your goals are. You also know the level of stress you are willing to take on. This article is not to promote one type of driving over the other, but rather to give you information to help you make an informed decision.
The Freight Comes to You
One of the best features of driving for a company is not worrying about booking your own freight. Owner operators often have the added stress of building relationships with clients and finding new customers. But when you drive for a company, it is not your job to do this. The company you work for will find you freight and keep you productive. When you aren’t productive, neither you or the company are making money. Thus, the company will always work hard to keep your wheels moving. Not having to book your own freight is a huge stress relief for many and allows you to focus on driving. Loads will be assigned to you through a dispatcher or asset manager, which allows you to fully plan your day.
In addition to this, company drivers can typically pick the type of fleet that works best for their family needs. Most large companies have dedicated, regional, and national fleets with varying options on home time. Work-life balance is important in all careers, and having the ability to pick your fleet gives you control of your schedule.
When You’re Done Driving, You’re Done
Owner operators are small business owners, and as such are responsible for day-to-day business activity. This includes finding and booking freight, managing customer expectations, resolving customer complaints, filing taxes, and more. When an owner operator is done driving for the day, they begin working on all of the other business activities that help make them successful.
Company drivers, on the other hand, are not responsible for the business end of trucking. As a company driver, your main responsibility is to deliver the freight on time and safely. Once accomplished, the driver has free time until the next load is assigned. Of course there is paperwork to be filled out and sent in, such as log books if the company doesn’t use E-logs, but for the most part, company drivers are responsible for driving the freight. The company will take care of the rest.
Company drivers have the benefit of no-stress paychecks, meaning that from week to week most drivers can expect to have similar amounts coming in. There are exceptions to this rule, of course, but on average company drivers receive consistent pay checks. There are no costs (maintenance, fuel, business loans, tolls, etc.) to worry about because the company covers those costs.
Speaking of maintenance, that is an additional benefit to being a company driver. Company drivers are responsible for getting the trucks in for regular preventative maintenance or when they notice an issue that needs to be repaired. The cost of these repairs is the company’s responsibility. Owner operators do not have this luxury. Any preventative maintenance or other repair needing to be addressed falls on the shoulders of the owner, which can become quite costly. This includes ensuring that the truck consistently meets DOT regulations.
Photo Credit: James Reynolds
Interested in Driving for a Company?
There are many benefits to driving for a company, just like there are many benefits to being an owner operator. If you want to enjoy the open road and have less stress factors to the job, then being a company driver is for you. But how do you do that?
1. Obtain a Class A CDL. You must research schools. While doing this, it is also a good idea to research what company you would like to work for. There are companies that are looking for experienced drivers only and will hire students from specific schools. If your end goal is to work at a company with these requirements, see what options are available.
2. Do your research. Call company recruiters and ask questions important to you. Visit company websites and social media platforms to learn what each offer. Find out everything you can about the company and how it operates.
3. Talk to drivers. This point cannot be emphasized enough. Company recruiters are always there to assist you, but you will get the best feel for a company by talking to its drivers.
4. Compare your notes on each company and begin applying to those that fit your criteria.
Whether a company driver or an owner operator, driving can be a very rewarding career. Doing your research and talking to other drivers on the road will help you decide which path is best for you. If you choose to become a company driver, your research will guide you to the company that fits your needs.