Most commercial truck drivers work for companies that provide their vehicles, but many choose to buy their own trucks. Although brand new semi-trucks and semi-trailers are expensive, used ones are quite affordable, especially when imported from Canada.
For example, you can save about 30% on a used semi-truck from Canada because of the exchange rate. A truck that costs $110,000 CAD will cost roughly $87,000 USD.
Although the ability to secure an affordable truck is certainly important, it’s not the only reason – nor the most important reason – truck drivers should become an owner-operator. If you hold a CDL and you’re considering becoming an owner-operator, here are some good reasons to purchase your own truck.
- You can work for yourself
Self-employment is a possibility even for truck drivers. If you value your freedom over convenience, consider getting your own truck to work for yourself.
As a self-employed truck driver, you’ll need to source your own gigs, plan your own routes, and manage everything related to your business. However, you’ll have the freedom to work as little or as much as you’d like.
You can also earn some side cash while taking time off by leasing your truck to another driver. Leasing your semi-truck is a great way to earn some money until you’re ready to hit the road again.
- You’re not afraid of hard work and big challenges
Only buy your own truck if you’re willing to work hard and tackle major challenges. Once you secure a truck, you’ll have a business to run, and that’s where things can become challenging.
As an owner-operator, you’re going to have major responsibilities that involve maintaining your truck, getting gigs, and working with various companies. Everything an employer would arrange for you – you’ll need to plan for yourself. If you don’t know that end of the business, you’ll need time to learn.
In addition to learning the administrative side of the business, you’ll also need to be prepared for major challenges, including mechanical problems.
For example, what would you do if your check engine light came on? Sometimes it’s a false positive, but not always. You have to be prepared for mechanical issues to happen at any time, including when you’re in the middle of transporting a load.
While it may not seem like a big deal to pay a couple thousand dollars for a repair, you’ll actually lose more than the cost of the repair while you’re unable to work. If you’re out for a week until your repair is made, you could end up losing close to $8,000 like this truck driver did when his fuel pump went out. He not only had to pay for a new fuel pump, but he lost his weekly gross of $6,000.
This type of loss puts many owner-operators out of business because they never planned for major expenses. That’s why it’s important to go into the truck driving business with a plan if you’re going to own your own semi-truck.
- You can work as a subcontractor
Maybe self-employment isn’t your thing, but you still want more freedom than what you’d get working for a large company. Working as a subcontractor will grant you that freedom. You’ll still need to follow company regulations, and you’ll be considered a contractor, but you won’t have to source your own gigs.
Being a subcontractor will give you stable work compared to being self-employed, and you can increase your earning potential by 10-20%.
- You’ll have complete control over vehicle maintenance
Some trucking companies are better at vehicle maintenance than others. For some drivers, sketchy maintenance is a deal-breaker. If you’re concerned about having more control over your vehicle in terms of maintenance and safety, you’ll have complete control when you own your truck.
Granted, owning your truck means paying for all of your repairs and maintenance. However, you’ll never have to worry about driving a semi-truck that need repairs that your boss has decided to postpone. This will drastically increase safety on the road.
Owning a semi-truck combines freedom and responsibility
There are plenty of reasons to buy your own truck and become an owner-operator. Freedom is perhaps the best reason. However, that freedom will come with a price. That price is the responsibilities that come with running a business and maintaining a large truck.
Should you buy a semi-truck? That depends on your priorities. Owning your own truck is ideal if you love driving, you want freedom, and you aren’t afraid to take on challenges.