Should You Become an Owner-Operator in the Trucking Industry?

Blazo Gjorev

March 30, 2023


If you’re a truck driver looking for more independence and control over your career, becoming an owner-operator may be right. However, it’s essential to consider all of the details before making this decision.

You should also consider your current health and the amount of money you have available to make this investment. Be sure you can pay for equipment payments, travel expenses and insurance.

Company Drivers

If you want more freedom than a company driver job can offer, you might prefer to become an owner-operator. This career involves a lot more responsibility but can also earn you more money than a company driver job.

You can select your loads, earnings, and payment terms. You can buy freight in the spot market (with your own Department of Transportation operating authority) or lease from an established motor carrier.

However, it’s essential to understand that this option has many risks and challenges. Unforeseen breakdowns, health issues and family problems can all impact your bottom line.

Lease-to-Operator Agreements

Many owner-operators begin their careers by leasing trucks instead of buying them outright. This helps new operators avoid credit issues and lowers their monthly payments.

Several trucking companies offer lease-purchase agreements to new drivers who want to become independent owner-operators. These programs are a great way to get started in the industry and fast-track your career as an owner-operator.

A lease-purchase agreement allows you to buy the truck at the end of the contract. It’s usually a three-year contract that involves monthly payments to cover the costs of the vehicle.

Lease-purchase trucking companies often pay some of your maintenance and repair expenses, permits, and fees. You can also take advantage of fuel discounts offered by the carrier. These discounts are paid back to you on a prorated basis, depending on the terms of your lease.

Regulatory Requirements

Owner-operators must keep current on regulations to run their trucking businesses safely. They need to understand how DOT and FMCSA requirements can affect their business.

As an owner-operator, you are responsible for all aspects of your trucking industry, from finding loads to hauling and running the business. You are also responsible for fuel costs, insurance and maintaining your truck.

There are many benefits to becoming an owner-operator, including the ability to choose the types of loads you haul and the companies that provide them. This can allow you to build long-term relationships with preferred customers and carriers, leading to higher revenue.

However, staying compliant with the DOT and FMCSA regulations can be challenging. A specialized compliance platform like MercuryGate can help simplify the process. This technology will give you visibility into your operations, reduce risk, and ensure a standardized process across your network.


Truckers who operate independently without a permanent lease to a motor carrier need specialized owner-operator insurance products. Insureon’s licensed agents help owner-operators find the best coverage for their unique risks.

Whether you’re an owner-operator or Professional Employee Driver (PED), Insureon can provide comprehensive insurance quotes from top providers. Fill out our online application to get started.

Most states require auto liability coverage, which protects you from paying for injuries or property damage you cause due to your business activities. This coverage also covers your legal costs if another party sues you.

In addition to auto liability, there are many other types of commercial trucking insurance for owner-operators. They include Physical Damage, Cargo, and General Liability policies. These policies may also have additional requirements based on commodities, client contracts, and state laws.