Newbies - Owner Operator to Small Fleet Owner

Profits | Expenses

As an owner-operator, you have been profitable in your business and have enjoyed a level of freedom you didn't experience as a company driver. You have also found a sense of pride in owning the rig you drive and being able to have a measure of control over your operations. If you have found success as an owner-operator, you may be thinking that your next step is expansion by purchasing more trucks and owning your own fleet.

Don't think you will be able to look at your own profitability and multiply that into the number of trucks you buy. It doesn't work that way. As an owner-operator you ran your truck with your financial investment in mind, but you won't be able to drive more than one truck at a time. Even if you have a buddy whom you trust and would hire him on to operate a second truck, your profits will not be the same.

Once you invest in a second piece of equipment, you have given up much of the control you enjoyed previously. You might look for the lowest fuel costs and the best paying loads, but the driver you trust to operate your truck may not be as attentive to these business decisions as you are. Adding a second and a third truck to your own is not the same as being an owner-operator.

As soon as you hire a driver, you are now the boss--the employer--and your business is supporting more than your own family. You need to consider the impact that additional trucks will have on your free time as well as your bottom line. As a small fleet owner there are many other things that will increase your expenses, such as payroll taxes, worker's compensation, unemployment insurance, and other wage and benefit costs. In addition to this the time spent on maintenance and repairs will increase, and you are responsible for making sure these are being done.

Before you decide to add to your business, make sure you have considered all potential financial impacts an employee and an additional truck will add to your situation. You can't multiply the number of trucks by the amount you earned to arrive at a potential income with a small fleet. Be sure you are ready to become "the boss" before you add that second truck.