So you are probably in the process of buying your first truck or maybe have been driving for a number of years and thinking about finding the best owner operator companies. Regardless of your situation or experience, knowing what questions to ask when talking to company recruiters will help you to identify your best fit and the highest paying owner operator jobs.
Yes, it will require you to spend some time talking to recruiters and owner operator truck drivers currently working for such companies, but it will all pay off in the long run. Doing this is important so you can weed out any unreliable information out there. If you think about it, successful owner operators are busy doing their job and making money. Seldom you will see a successful trucker raving about a particular company unless you talk to them directly.
Here are a couple of suggestions that will help you to form your own opinion about a trucking company and feel confident that you are making the right decision.
“Getting information off the Internet is like taking a drink from a fire hydrant.” – Mitchell Kapor
This is the perfect analogy on what searching the internet feels sometimes and with so many options to choose from, where do you start? These are a few steps you can take to narrow down your search based on your needs. For the most part differentiating between trucking companies will boil down to the payment method, driving areas, and type of freight they haul.
Owner operators are in the business for two main reasons: more money and more freedom. For these two reasons, the highest paying owner operator jobs are those that pay a percentage of the load and not per mile like regular trucking companies.
Owner operator percentage pay is more profitable and has the potential to increase because you can make more money by hauling your own trailer. For example, Status Transportation pays OTR owner operators up to 85% of gross revenue for hauling their own trailers. Ask company recruiters about payment methods, average gross revenue per week, and if they have owner operator percentage pay available.
You need to decide what type of freight you want to haul. Some drivers like flatbeds, others prefer sticking to dry-vans or reefers. Although most owner operator companies are similar in the way they operate, some companies tend to focus more on one type of freight than others. Occasionally you will find a company that offers all three options. Also very important, do they give you the option for you to bring your own trailer? Do they have flatbeds or trailers for lease? What are the trailer rental fees?
Answers to these questions can give you a broader vision of how you can grow your business down the road. Maybe you can start by leasing a trailer from the company and later on switch to hauling your own trailer.
Driving over the road or regional will have a direct impact on your overall revenue and home time. Most owner operator truck drivers are in the business for two main reasons: more money and more freedom. Therefore, a large percentage of owner operators tend to drive OTR. Money-wise this is the best option although the downside is less home time compared to regional drivers. Most owner operators driving regional stay out five days at a time and head back during the weekend depending on their home base.
Start gathering as much information as possible so you can compare apples to apples. Organize your questions in a way that you can compare the answers from one company to the other. Also, it is a good idea to assign points to each answer so that at the end you can grade each company based on the overall number of points scored.
Once you have decided on a list of owner operator companies, then it is time to apply for your first option on the list. Some companies like Status Transportation have the option to apply online, that way you can save time and expedite the process.
Find out what the application requirements are as far as paperwork, safety deposits, etc. Have all your personal, truck and trailer paperwork ready so that the application and orientation process can go as smooth as possible. If you’ve been on the road for awhile, you know that the timeframe from applying for an owner operator job to when you are back on the road can take a few days.
Last but not least, give the company and yourself a chance. The next couple of months are going to be crucial for your success. This is the time when you and your dispatcher will get to know each other and you’ll be able to learn how the company works. Clear communication with your dispatcher will be key for him to learn your driving preferences.
Consistency, communication and patience will help to build trust as a driver-dispatcher team, which at the end will help you to succeed on your new owner operator trucking job.
To learn more about Status Transportation and our owner operator pay programs please visit our website, or call us today. We have offices in Winter Garden, FL or Forest Park, GA.