Owner-operator vs. Company Driver

Owner-operator vs. Company Driver

One of the best perks of the job of a professional driver is arguably the freedom they have. While on the job, there’s nobody looking over your shoulder and closely monitoring your every move. Instead, it’s just you and the open road. Now many drivers consider taking things a step further and obtaining their own vehicle.

While this may offer even greater freedom, there are still some things you need to keep in mind. That’s why we will discuss some of the main differences between working as an owner-operator and a company driver. Therefore, make sure you pay attention so that you can easily decide which option is the best for you.


As an owner-operator, you’ll need to either purchase or lease your own vehicle. Additionally, you become an entrepreneur of sorts, which means that – most commonly – you’ll be the sole person responsible for every aspect of your work. Additionally, you’ll be in charge of finding work and various contracts with different trucking companies. It’s true that owner-operators earn higher per-mile rates. However, even though you’ll be earning more as an owner-operator, you’ll still need to cover all of your business expenses yourself. These include all the benefits and health insurance, any potential repairs, transport costs, and so on. So, while a truck driver that’s also an owner-operator has significantly more freedom than a company driver, they’re pretty much on their own. 

Owner-operator vs. Company Driver

Company driver

Pretty much as the name suggests, a company driver is a person working for a transportation company. As such, this type of driver doesn’t necessarily need to worry about finding jobs, organizing transport, securing enough freights, and so on. Additionally, since they are a company employee, they don’t need to worry themselves with covering benefits, health insurance, and other similar expenses. However, this type of driver will have significantly less freedom when it comes to choosing the type of freight they transport, as well as the hours they spend on the job. You also need to know six important things about this job position.

The level of commitment

As mentioned earlier, an owner-operator will need to fully commit to their endeavor if they hope to reach success. This means that they’ll need to be engaged 24/7 and extremely work-oriented. Since they are the ones in charge of not only finding work but seeing it through, this type of truck driver will need to have plenty of solutions in place. For instance, owner-operators need to have excellent communication skills in order to be able to find work. On top of that, they’ll need to have various contingency plans in place, in case anything happens to go wrong. Finally, they’ll need to create strong connections with various other professionals in the industry, to ensure that their workflows as seamlessly as possible. 

The perks of one over the other

With everything said, it’s quite clear that both of these professions have their own advantages and disadvantages. When working as an owner-operator, you will be earning significantly more than a company driver. But you won’t have such job stability and all the other additional benefits that come with working in a company. On top of that, while you can dictate your own work tempo, you will need to be well-prepared for any unexpected situations. For instance, if a company driver happens to fall ill on the job, they can ask the company to send someone else who will take over their load. An owner-operator won’t have the same level of commodity unless they organize everything in advance. So, the fact of the matter is that both of these options offer significant benefits, but the question is which ones align more with what you’re looking for in a business. 

The financial readiness

In the end, while starting a job as a company driver won’t require any financial readiness, the same can’t be said for an owner-operator. That’s why if you’re looking to become the owner of your own transport vehicle, you’ll need to make sure you have enough financial power to back you up. On top of that, you’ll also need to learn how to create a realistic business plan and how to properly manage both your private and business finances, to avoid making any mistakes that could potentially hurt you (financially) in the long run.

Now that you know a bit more about the differences between being an owner-operator vs. a company driver, you can hopefully decide which of these is more suitable for you. No matter which you choose, make sure you do your research and get as familiar as you can with what you’re getting yourself into. If you already made a decision just fill out the application form!

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