Category: certified truck drivers

USDA Issues New Guidance For Hemp Transportation

USDA-Issues-New-Guidance-for-Hemp-Transportation

Truck drivers can’t seem to get a clear answer on whether or not  transporting hemp across state lines is legal? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued guidance on this topic, rather than a law. The USDA’s recent guidance states that nothing in the 2018 Farm Bill (the bill that hemp growers currently operate under) prohibits the interstate commerce of hemp. This is to say that truck drivers can indeed haul hemp for the purpose of interstate commerce.

The USDA, however, says that it lacks the authority to issue a true regulation that thoroughly protects truck drivers who haul hemp. What does that mean for you? Truck drivers should always have their paperwork, including the THC level test results for the hemp products they are hauling, with them in the event that they are pulled over and/or inspected.

Although the USDA supports the interstate transportation of legal hemp, it has yet to provide official shipping documents that could help truck drivers avoid being subject to detention by law enforcement when crossing state lines.

“At this time, the USDA recommends that transporters carry a copy of the producer’s license or authorization, as well as any other information the governing state or Indian tribe recommends or requires that will validate that the transporter is transporting legally grown hemp,” the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service said in a Jan. 19 Federal Register post. “the USDA is not adding transportation paperwork requirements to this rule because it does not have jurisdiction over common carriers or other types of transporters.”

Since the USDA is not providing the official paperwork, they suggest that truck drivers carry legal documentation before crossing state lines with hemp products. These can include:

  • U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency laboratory test result (or other THC content test results)
  • Contact information of the load’s buyer and seller
  • A copy of the hemp grower/producer’s license
  • An invoice or bill of lading

Though there is a lack of USDA documents for the transport of hemp, what is clear is that truck drivers can legally transport hemp as long as it is absent of high levels of THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol (the part that gets users high). Cannabis with a THC level exceeding 0.3% is considered marijuana, which remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance regulated by DEA.

The interstate transport of hemp is legal, but, due to the lack of official documentation from the USDA (or the Department of Transportation,) there are still potential risks for truck drivers hauling hemp.

Since hemp is so similar looking and can even smell like THC-laden marijuana, it is understandable from law enforcement’s point of view why a load of hemp could be delayed or seized in order to test it for THC levels.

A law enforcement officer who pulls over a truck driver hauling hemp does not currently have a way to test for THC content like a lab does. That is why it is crucial to get ahead of any suspicion and carry all the paperwork you have access to in order to prove the legality of your load as we await further provisions from the USDA.

 

Health-share vs Traditional Health Insurance

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Truck drivers have a statistically high risk job. The combination of sleep deprivation, long hours, and tight schedules means that truck drivers can be susceptible to accidents that, under normal driving conditions, might not happen. It’s a high stress job and working conditions are often hard on the body. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that approximately 70% of truck drivers have at least one serious health condition. A preexisting condition, plus a high risk job, means that less health insurance companies will cover you. The companies that will cover you are also going to charge you more than the general public. On top of all of this, the average age of a truck driver is 55, which is an age where the body begins needing more medical attention than ever. In short, getting a good health insurance plan for truck drivers is not an easy task.

Faced with the prospect of being denied by health insurance providers, or paying hefty premiums, what can you do? What is the best health insurance option for truck drivers that want to keep it affordable? There are multiple options and we’ll walk you through them.

Do Truck Drivers Qualify For Medicaid?

It depends on how much you make. If you’re just starting out as a new truck driver and you make below $30,150, then Medicaid may be the best option for you. It just might not be the best long term option for you. The average truck driver’s salary is around $43,464 per year. With this being well over Medicaid’s salary cap, a career truck driver cannot depend on Medicaid for their health insurance needs. So, for most truck drivers, the ones who want to make a career out of driving,  Medicaid is not going to be a viable option.

What Other Health Insurance Options Are Out There That Are Affordable?

Truck drivers can take advantage of something called a health-share plan that can be an alternative to traditional health insurance. This can make driving a truck a more appealing career choice by making your healthcare more affordable. Essentially, a health-share plan works in the same way as a traditional plan would whenever you go to pay for healthcare. However, health-share plans are uniquely suited to the truck driving industry.

Your payments (or premiums) into a health-share plan are going to be lower than you would have to pay for traditional health insurance. Not only that, but your hard-earned money isn’t going to a faceless insurance company. Your premium goes toward helping other truck drivers when they need the money for their healthcare needs. Then, when you have a health care need, it’s your turn to take money out of the account.

Under the health-share system, your payments made into the plan are placed into an escrow account. When a healthcare need arises, your claim will be paid for through the funds available in the escrow account.

Finally, you can depend on health-share plans acting as most other insurance options. Health-share plans offer visits to the doctor, discounts on prescriptions, and preventative care programs.

FMCSA Announces Proposal to Amend the Vision Standard For Truck Drivers

fmcsa

A new proposal was announced in January 2021 suggesting a new vision standard for CDL (Commercial Drivers’ License) qualification. The alternative vision standard would make it easier for those with vision deficiencies to both retest for their CDL and receive a new CDL without seeking an exemption.

With the current vision standards set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), those who do not meet the vision requirements to physically qualify for their CDL are sent through an exemption process that often takes months. The process, along with taking a good deal of time, also requires a substantial amount of paperwork. With the newly proposed standards, the time and paperwork required to qualify for the exemption will be a thing of the past. As a result, the barriers of entry in the trucking industry will be greatly reduced.

Currently, there are 2,566 truck drivers who hold an exemption for vision reasons with the FMCSA. Along with eliminating the exemption requirement for new CDL applicants, this new proposal will cover current truck drivers. So, those 2,566 drivers currently holding exemptions will no longer have to re-test and maintain their exemption status. Additionally, current drivers who may experience changes in vision will not have to seek exemption should their eyesight fall below the standard. This helps prevent interruptions in employment, as veteran drivers who test below the standard would be required to obtain their exemption status before returning to work.

This new vision standard is making big waves in the trucking industry for its obvious benefits:

  • Increases the pool of qualified applicants in this high-demand industry
  • Reduces hours of time previously qualified drivers spend unable to work
  • Alleviates pressure and overtime hours that overworked drivers currently face as a new pool of potential drivers becomes available

These benefits don’t come without their downsides and doubts though. Those who oppose or are cautious about the new FMCSA proposal cite safety as their main concern. Do we want to lower vision standards that may possibly put both truck drivers and civilians at great personal risk? Are the current overtime conditions more or less hazardous to the driver’s health? With studies that support the fact that overextension, lack of sleep, and repetitive visual habits can all contribute to vision loss or deficiency, an assumption can be made that vision loss and industry conditions are related?

The FMCSA is hearing questions like these and more from their announcement date in January through March 15th.

To view the proposal yourself, visit the following link:

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/12/2020-28848/qualifications-of-drivers-vision-standard

If you have thoughts about this and want to submit comments on the proposal, which is identified by docket number FMCSA-2019-0049, you can submit your thoughts through the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov
Fax: (202) 493-2251
Mail: Docket Operations, U.S. Department Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001
Hand Delivery: Docket Operations, U.S> Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20590-0001, between 9 a.m. and 5p.m Monday through Friday except Federal holidays.

How Long Does It Take to Get a CDL?

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The first step to becoming a Truck Driver is becoming certified to drive a commercial vehicle. In the United States, a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to drive large heavy vehicles, those with multiple passengers, and those carrying hazardous materials. In this article, the focus will be on the process of obtaining a Class A CDL for interstate transit. Getting a CDL can be a life-changing opportunity allowing access to a fulfilling career.  It can also be a very valuable investment in your future and the best part is that it only requires around a month of your time!

Pathway to a CDL

The first step to obtaining a CDL is meeting all the requirements. Many states require that you be at least 18 years old for intrastate (only within your home state) transit and 21 years old for interstate transportation. You must be a US citizen or have a green card and you must pass a physical at a location certified by the Department of Transportation. To prove that you are eligible, you will have to bring proof of age, social security card, residency, and clear driving history to acquire your CDL.

The next step in the process is applying for a CDL Learner’s Permit (CLP) at your local driver’s licensing agency. There will be an application fee and knowledge assessment that you must pass to get your CLP. Studying for this assessment with your state’s CDL handbook or training guide is an integral part of getting your CLP. Once you have a CLP, you will be able to practice driving a truck if someone with a valid CDL is supervising you.

CDL Training Programs are a great place to go for learning the ropes of driving trucks. Many companies sponsor training events that will allow you to prepare yourself for getting your CDL. If your company does not offer training or if you do not have a company, there are many private options for CDL training. Private schools for truck driving are a popular choice that can take as little as 3 weeks to complete, and community colleges may offer CDL training that usually lasts around 6 weeks. It is essential to consider how you will pay for CDL training as most programs are not free.

After attending your CDL training program and becoming confident in your ability to drive a truck, you are ready to get your CDL. Scheduling a Skills Test appointment with the DMV in your area is the first step, you are required to possess the CLP for 14 days before taking the Skills Test. You will need to arrive at the appointed time with the vehicle you intend to drive. The three skills you will be tested on are vehicle inspection, basic controls, and road test. Once you pass this test, you may take your certification from the skills test and present it to the DMV where you will pay a fee and receive your CDL. Some states will give you the CDL that same day, while others send it to you in the mail.

Final Thoughts

It typically takes around 3 to 6 weeks to get a CDL. It may take more time  if it takes you a little longer to study and learn the essential skills. Getting a CDL is a great investment in your future, and it is worth the time and money spent to obtain it. Make sure to shop around to receive the best training, at a price that suits you, if you are attending private training. Keep persevering- the future is calling, and we hope to see you on the roads soon!

Sources:
https://www.cdl.com/becoming-a-cdl-driver/how-to-get-a-cdl
https://www.cdl.com/becoming-a-cdl-driver/cdl-license-classifications
https://schneiderjobs.com/blog/how-to-get-cdl

COVID-19 Updates

covid-19-updates

The world suddenly turned upside down with the rise of COVID-19 cases in early 2020, leading to a global pandemic far beyond anything anyone could have ever imagined. COVID-19 has distanced and separated many people, but it has also brought many closer together in spirit. 2020 was filled with many unfortunate events but it is quite possible that we will see an end to this pandemic soon and we will emerge from this stronger and wiser than ever before.

Unprecedented Times

It almost seemed like something out of a Science Fiction novel when it was announced that large-scale quarantines would be placed into effect. Businesses, schools, and government offices shut down as people started wearing masks and distancing themselves from others. The stay-at-home and mask orders were implemented for everyone’s safety, but they were shocking measures for everyone.

No one thought that a pandemic would arise in 2020, but the way people of all walks of life have mobilized to stop the spread and keep life as normal as possible for others is truly inspiring. Wearing masks and working hard allowed the United States and the whole world to continue functioning even in the darkest times.

Controlling the Spread

COVID-19 is not under control just yet. Even though efforts in socially distancing, mask-wearing, and widespread testing have been successful in reducing community spread, there are not enough people vaccinated to return to normal just yet. As we are approaching the end of the pandemic, it is still important to protect yourself and others by wearing your mask, keeping your distance from others, where possible, also washing and sanitizing your hands often.

Following these guidelines is the best way to keep yourself and the people around you safe. These small inconveniences have already helped reduce the number of people exposed and hospitalized. Practicing safe guidelines until COVID-19 is under control is crucial for saving lives and reducing the stress on medical personnel as well.

Unsung Heroes of the Pandemic

Much of the focus during the pandemic has been placed on medical personnel. However, essential workers of all kinds have been of the utmost importance in maintaining the livelihoods of the United States and global population. Truck drivers have been an especially integral component in this process as they never slowed down in transporting goods, ensuring that stores, businesses, and even hospitals are well-stocked with essential supplies, so that life could go on for the people depending on these services.

The dedicated service of drivers across the nation cannot be praised enough. Their hard work kept everyone afloat and we appreciate all the long hours, handling of difficult conditions, and willingness to tackle new challenges faced by the pandemic. Heroes from comic books don’t exist, but there are true superheroes on our roads right now that deserve recognition.

Looking to the Future

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was not much hope for the end; however, modern medicine is becoming increasingly more effective and the first vaccinations are being sent out right now. Life will return to normal soon, and it will be possible to embrace loved ones again. Until then, stay safe, mask up, and be thankful for the work that truck drivers, medical personnel, and essential laborers have put in to make this experience far more positive than it could have been without their contribution.

Corona Virus Updates

coronavirus-updates-for-truckers

It’s safe to say that 2020, the year of perfect vision, has not gone as expected- we have entered a new world of masks, medicine, and isolation. The rise of COVID-19 cases worldwide in the early Spring put much of us in between a rock and a hard place, but it is important to remember that there is still hope, and that we are going to get through this together.

COVID-19 In The United States

COVID-19 is a disease caused by just one type of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), dubbed the novel coronavirus, meaning it is the newest one discovered. Coronaviruses have been responsible for epidemics in the past including, SARS and MERS, but none have spread to this global scale before. This is because this strain of coronavirus is quite infective, meaning it’s very good at spreading from person to person- it is spread through airborne droplets.

It came as a shock to everyone when countries began rapidly shutting down as COVID-19 cases multiplied after the discovery of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States occurred in January when travelers arrived from Wuhan, but it didn’t really start gaining ground until March when a nationwide call for isolation was released.

Since then, the United States has been locked down, but some states are working on slowly reopening to return to normalcy without causing a huge influx of cases. Soon we will be able to return to the lives we had before COVID-19, and we will return stronger and wiser for the wear.

Staying Healthy

Staying healthy during a pandemic such as this is not limited to avoiding contracting the virus, it encompasses all areas of health. Taking care of yourself and your loved ones is crucial during such stressful times.

The most-reported way of keeping yourself and everyone else safe is by socially distancing by at least 6 feet from others and wearing masks. Social distancing keeps you away from people who may be carrying diseases, and masks block particles that might contain the virus from blowing into the air and infecting others. Masks and social distancing are inconvenient, but they are what research has shown to be effective right now.

Now that masks are out of the way, it is crucial that you pay attention to your mental health. Stress and isolation are not a good combination for the mental health of anyone, especially those who are predisposed to mental illness. However, there are things you can do to alleviate the ill-effects of quarantine: picking up a new hobby such as learning an instrument, woodworking, reading, or painting can all be a good place to start to combat boredom and increase your productivity!

Physical health is also extremely important, so make sure that you are exercising regularly to the best of your ability. You can accomplish this by taking walks, hiking, fishing, or playing golf! If these options are not available to you, then you can work out at home using your own plans or finding resources online. 10-minute High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts are a fun and low-impact way to stay healthy that have recently gained popularity!

Staying Connected

Staying connected is one of the most important ways to stay healthy during this pandemic- it’s so important that it has its own heading. We can have an incredible reach with the technology that is right at the edge of our fingertips- people love being connected, and it’ll make you happier as well. Staying connected is easy once you start, call your family, text your friends and coworkers, and you could even video chat with all of them!

Final Thoughts

2020 may still be the year of perfect vision as we learn more about ourselves and the world which we live in. As we return to normalcy, we should remember to be kinder, more compassionate, and more optimistic than ever before because we have the power to make the best of our situations if we try.

We will beat this pandemic, but right now the best thing you can do is make sure that you and the important people in your life are happy and healthy. Try to learn all that you can about yourself and others so that you can emerge from this time as an even better person than you were before!

Appreciating the American Trucker

appreciating-the-american-trucker

The United States is a huge country, there are literally millions of miles of roadways all totaled, and around 50,000 of those miles are interstates. This land of highways and byways is navigated constantly by commuters, families, and the unmistakable American icons, Big Rigs.

We live in a highly commercial nation that requires goods to be shipped from sea to shining sea, up North, and Down south. This is an incredibly large job with a complex infrastructure that is maintained by silent heroes who put in long hours to keep the United States up and running.

Logistical Logic

The United States is filled with innovators and makers who produce everything from agricultural to electronic products. Each of these sources needs a means of delivering to their customers, and the most effective way to do that on a large scale is by truck. With an increase in transit services needed, trucking is an in-demand career with over 3.5 million truckers employed in the United States according to Census data.

Almost half of America’s truckers work over 40 hours per week when driving all over the nation. This is an incredible time investment, and it is completely necessary for the United States to continue functioning and growing.

America’s Most Important People

Everything commercially produced that we buy at stores was on a truck at some point before it reached the shelves. It is impossible to go anywhere in the United States without seeing the effects of trucking.

Truckers are a diverse group of men and women representing all ages and races- these people are the true nurturers of the American economy. Without truckers, it would be impossible to accomplish the feats of economic success that the United States has been able to lavish in.

America’s most important people are not celebrities, politicians, or pop stars- they are not the people that work hard every day to keep the store shelves full, the companies supplied, and ensure that Americans are able to access what they need. Truckers are most certainly some of America’s most important people, and they deserve to be recognized as such.

Why Truckers Deserve Recognition

Next time you pick up a box of cereal at the grocery store; call someone on your phone; or put your clothes on, think about the complex steps taken for you to be able to do that. Truckers are the bridge from production to consumption, and it is their hard work that allows you to be clothed, fed, and entertained.

It is a great thing to live in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, so make sure you remember to show your appreciation for those who make your life better. Truckers are brave to face the harsh driving conditions and long hours required to do the job right, in addition to this around 10% of truckers are veterans who protected our freedom!

Final Thoughts

Truckers deserve our thanks and appreciation as they are true champions of the American dream. They provide us with an incredible service every day, working hard so that we can rest easy knowing we can access the things we need. With this, we want to say thank you to all the American truckers, we appreciate what you do for us!

How To Avoid Truck Driver Burnout

how-to-avoid-truck-driver-burnout

Driver burnout is a real problem that many drivers don’t want to admit experiencing.  The long hours, loneliness,  stress,  traffic, all of it can get to a driver and make him want to leave a job that he once enjoyed.

Causes of Driver Burnout

Usually, it’s not the job itself that leads to driver burnout but rather, specific aspects of it.  

Lack of Real Downtime.  Instead of being able to do something relaxing during downtime at home, time off is usually spent in the cab of the truck or in truckstops.  A day off on the road is not the same as a day off at home.  

Drivers Are Overworked.  Because drivers are paid by the mile, they need to be constantly moving to make money.  Even with HOS restrictions, drivers spend long hours without breaks to meet strict deadlines.

Lack of Sleep.  Sleeping on the road can be tough.  Truck stops can be noisy and sleep schedules irregular.  Often a driver’s sleep habits are just sleeping whenever they can.  Not getting a full 8 hours a night can lead to problems with both mental and physical health.

Signs of Driver Burnout

Signs of driver burnout may be brushed off as being tired and needing a vacation but it can be more serious than that.  Some signs include irritability, insomnia, getting sick frequently, exhaustion, obesity, and signs of depression.  One of the most obvious signs of driver burnout is not wanting to drive anymore.  A burnt-out driver may dread getting behind the wheel of their truck, a job they used to love.  Once they do get in the truck, they may take frequent breaks or spend lots of time at truck stops, not for rest but as a way of avoiding the job.  The next step is quitting altogether.  

How To Get Over It

Driving a truck is not an easy lifestyle.  If there was a time that the job made you happy and you’d like to get that feeling back, you may be able to overcome your burnout and enjoy driving again.

Take regular days off each week.  This may not be easy but if you can swing it, having regular days off at home will give you something to look forward to each week and your mind and body will get used to the routine.

While on the road, take breaks.  Again, it may not always be easy, but it’s important for your mind and body to relax during a hectic day.

Try a regular route.  Having a regular route with regular stops can help your body get into a regular pattern of sleep.  

Take time off.  A vacation, even if it’s spent at home can recharge your batteries and give you something to look forward to.   It’s better than being forced to take time off because you’ve burned out and made yourself sick.

Make time for exercise.  Regular exercise will help fight obesity, depression, and a whole bunch of other health problems.

Eat healthy foods.  A healthy diet goes hand-in-hand with exercise to make your mind and body strong and healthy.  

Get a hobby.  Nourishing your interests will give you something to think about instead of only the job.  If it’s one that can be done in your truck, even better!  

Occupy your mind.  Listen to something stimulating like audiobooks or podcasts.  They’ll pass the time while entertaining you or teaching you something.    

Get help.  A therapist can help you work through your issues that may be causing your burnout and help you find the right path forward.

Driver burnout can ruin your driving career.  By taking a proactive approach and keeping some of the usual causes of driver burnout in check, you may be able to have a long and rewarding driving career without burnout.  

Direct Freight Services is a web-based load board that has many helpful features like full credit reports, load filtering, payment expectations, and broker authority information.  Whether accessed online or now through our easy-to-use Direct Freight Driver app, Direct Freight helps you find the right loads. Go to DirectFreight.com and start searching for loads.  We’re always here to bring you the high-quality loads you need!

Must-have Apps for Drivers

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Cell phones and other mobile devices have quickly become one of the most helpful tools for truck drivers across the country.  There are apps that help drivers save money on fuel, food, and tolls; apps that save time with alternative routes to avoid traffic or bad weather; ones for communicating with loved ones or other drivers, entertainment, and better health.  Maps, chats, planning, and everything under the sun.  As they say, “There’s an app for that!”  

Here are just a few of the helpful apps available:

Driver Health Apps

Lose It―This free calorie-counter allows drivers to take control and eat healthier.  It allows users to set a goal and track their food intake so they can lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.  It has a database of thousands of foods, including fast-food restaurants.

Rolling Strong―This is a paid subscription app that is aimed at better health for drivers.  It focuses on nutrition, fitness, and sleep to help drivers in the program achieve better overall health. 

Entertainment and Communication

Skype―Being able to see your loved ones when you talk to them out on the road is much better than a phone call.  Skype allows you and your loved ones to easily connect with one person or your entire family to make life on the road feel less lonely.

Audiobooks.com―This app allows you to search their database of 150,000+ titles for audiobooks to listen to while you drive.  More than 8,000 are free and the app also lets you access more than 700,000 popular podcasts.

Time and Money Savers

Weigh My Truck―This app saves time by allowing you to weigh and pay while on the scale using your smartphone.  

Sygic Truck GPS Navigation & Maps―This popular navigation app is designed for drivers of large vehicles.  It has 3D offline maps, custom routing, traffic information, and more.

NOAA Radar―Real-time radar weather app with severe weather warnings so drivers can try to avoid bad weather that can slow them down. 

Gas Buddy―Developed in 2000, Gas Buddy was one of the first gas apps that relies on users to post gas prices around the country.  It allows users to filter by gas type so truck drivers can find the cheapest diesel near them.  

Direct Freight―Direct Freight’s load board app lets drivers search the extensive load database and filter loads that they wouldn’t want.  The easy-to-navigate app also allows drivers to post their truck.  It’s much more than a load board app and includes credit reports, reviews, and days-to-pay so drivers know exactly who they’re dealing with.  It also allows drivers to set alerts and has mapping and routing features as well as freight broker information.  

 Direct Freight is one of America’s leading load board services and now finding loads has never been easier than with their app.  To find out how Direct Freight can help you find the right loads and keep your trailer loaded go to DirectFreight.com today.   

Sources:  

https://www.loseit.com

https://rollingstrong.com

https://www.skype.com/en/

https://www.audiobooks.com/

https://catscale.com/cat-scale-apps/

https://www.sygic.com/truck

https://www.weather.gov/wrn/mobile-phone

https://www.gasbuddy.com

https://www.directfreight.com/home/#

 

    

 

Steps to Become an Owner/Operator

steps-to-become-an-owner-operator

To buy a truck or work for a carrier as part of their fleet is an essential question most truck drivers ask themselves at some point in their careers.  Both options have pros and cons and either choice could be a good career choice.

Advantages to Working For a Carrier:

  • The truck belongs to the carrier, and associated costs and maintenance are their responsibility.
  • Benefits like group health insurance and paid vacation time.
  • There’s less financial risk.
  • Less worry.  Your job ends when you’re done driving.
  • No overhead.  The money you earn is the money you get.  No need to pay for repairs, maintenance, etc.
  • It’s easier to quit your job to find a more suitable company.
  • No start-up costs other than your CDL.  Just get in the truck and go. 

Advantages of Becoming an Owner/operator:

  • More flexible schedule.
  • While it’s not always the case, there is a potential to earn more money.
  • Built-up equity in your truck.
  • Not sharing a truck with other drivers.  Some companies do this and you may be left cleaning up after someone else.
  • You’re your own boss.
  • There could be tax advantages.
  • The truck is customized to your liking.
  • More choice of loads.

 There is no right answer to the question, only what is right for you.  Do you want to be your own boss with all of the responsibilities that go along with it or do you prefer the security of working for someone else?  

Becoming an Owner/Operator

Before taking the steps to become an owner/operator, take the time to examine the pros and cons of each.  It’s a huge financial step.  There’s nothing wrong with spending your career working for someone else.  Once you’re sure you want your own truck, you can begin taking steps to make it happen.

Obtain your CDL.  You need that for the “operator” part of becoming an Owner/Operator.  Some people pay for their CDL by taking advantage of programs that some carriers have where they pay for your CDL as long as you agree to work for them for a specified time period.  If you do this, you’ll have to meet those obligations before becoming your own boss. 

Get Money.  Any business needs start-up money and yours will mainly be for buying a truck.  If you don’t have the money, you can take out a loan or lease a truck.  

Get Licensed and Registered.  If you plan to operate as an interstate (across state lines) carrier you will need a USDOT number to transport cargo.  You can obtain  a USDOT number by registering online through the Unified Registration Program on FMCSA’s (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website.  You most likely will also be required to have an MC number which is your authority to operate, also found at FMCSA. There is a one-time filing fee of $300.  Depending on the weight of your truck, you may be responsible for paying the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax.  More details can be found here.   

Get Insured.  The FMCSA not only requires insurance, but it also requires different types of insurance depending on your load, i.e. hazardous, etc.  Of course, if you are planning on hauling hazardous materials, you must obtain a special endorsement for your CDL too.

Find Loads.  Once you’re legitimate and ready to roll, how do you get loads?  A good load board can help you find lucrative loads that will help your business get off the ground.  You can search by type of load and region, and because you’re in it to make money and not drive around an empty trailer, load boards can help you fill those deadhead miles to maximize your profits.  

Becoming an owner/operator isn’t for everybody.  It’s definitely something that you have to be in it for the long haul, so to speak.  If you have what it takes, owning and operating your own truck can be a profitable and rewarding career choice.  

If you’ve decided to become an owner/operator, Direct Freight Services is the only load board you’ll need.   Direct Freight is a full-service load board that allows truckers to find loads and companies to post their available loads. The Direct Freight website also has many useful features such as a mobile app, credit reports and scores, mile calculators, fuel price data, weather conditions, turn-by-turn truck-specific routing, and more.  To see everything Direct Freight has to offer Owner/Operators, go to DirectFreight.com today!

Sources:

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration

https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/registration/get-mc-number-authority-operate

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/hvut/mod1/whatishvut.cfm