How to Become an Owner Operator Truck Driver

  • How to Become an Owner Operator Truck Driver

    How to Become an Owner Operator Truck Driver

    If you’ve been a truck driver for a few years and are wondering about taking the leap to become an owner operator, there are a few key steps you need to take before you can fulfill that dream.

    1. Form a business

    Begin by forming a legal business with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). To do this, first go to the California Secretary of State website and search the database to see if your business name is available. Then, choose a business structure, whether that’s sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or corporation.

    2. File for a USDOT number

    The next step is to visit the FMCSA website to obtain a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. This number will identify you as a carrier operating in interstate commerce.

    3. Obtain a motor carrier number

    The motor carrier (MC) number identifies an owner operator  as a carrier for-hire who transports goods on a contract basis. This can also be referred to as trucking authority. The MC number can also be obtained through the FMCSA website.

    4. Purchase general liability insurance

    Every owner operator is required to have general liability coverage with a minimum of $750,000, but most shippers and freight brokers require $1 million. You should also consider purchasing cargo insurance, personal property insurance, and vehicle insurance.

    5. Buy or lease a truck

    The next step is to decide whether you want to lease or purchase a truck. Purchasing a truck is often the better choice because you’ll be building equity, but this route requires a big down payment.

    6. Create a business plan

    When building a business, it’s important to create a business plan and roadmap so you’ll know what you need to do every step of the way and why. A business plan typically includes an executive summary, company overview, marketing plan, goals and milestones, contingency plan, and a financial plan.

    7. Visit load boards to find freight

    New owner operators typically use load boards to find shipments and start building their business. Over time, you’ll build up a steady client base and can focus on delivering loads rather than looking for them.

    8. Obtain an electronic logging device

    Every truck driver is required to have an FMCSA-compliant electronic logging device (ELD) which records hours of service.

    If you have any questions or need assistance launching your truck driving career, reach out to America Truck Driving School!

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