What Is an Owner Operator Truck Driver?

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What Is an Owner Operator Truck Driver?


August 17, 2021


What Do They Do?

Owner operator truck drivers are individuals that run their own freight transportation service with their own vehicles. Owner operator truck drivers take a more administrative position in the truck driving industry. They act more as a boss of a small business than actually as a trucker. Being an owner operator truck driver is a job that comes with a number of tasks that wouldn’t come with being a normal truck driver. The biggest thing they need to worry about is actually finding work.

Finding Work.

When it comes to finding work as an owner operator truck driver, the number one thing to remember is to keep trying and stay consistent. If business is slow at first, then be an extremely reliable service for your limited clients. You need to show that you care, even if you only have one or two companies using you as their hauling service. With that mindset, you can begin searching high and low for clients.

Load Boards

A good place to start would be load boards. A load board is an online service that allows owner operators to find work by getting into contact with shippers and brokers that are in need of hauling services. The only real issue with using a load board is that these jobs are usually one and done. You won’t really find a long-term business partnership through a load board, but it will be a good way to get some income and get your name out into the hauling world.

Knock on Doors

The real ticket to finding long term partners is to find companies that are in constant need of people to haul for them. You should look to your local area to find companies that are in high delivery frequency industries. Getting into contact with one of these companies shouldn’t be too hard, and once you do, setting up a meeting and forming a partnership will depend entirely on your negotiation skills. Being an owner operator truck driver comes with benefits, but there are also some downsides that come with it that don’t necessarily come with being a normal truck driver.

Go to a Freight Broker

One place to find the best of both worlds above is call up a freight brokerage. The freight brokerage will have you fill out some forms and other paperwork so they can verify you and your business. The best part about signing on with a local freight brokerage is that they watch the load boards for you AND do the door knocking. You just take care of getting from point A to point B safely and the broker handles a lot of the back office pieces and parts that allow you to run your business efficiently.

Differences Between Owner Operator and Driver

The essential difference between being an owner operator and a truck driver is that a truck driver is employed by a company and assigned a vehicle that they use for transportation jobs,while the owner operator is the boss of a small hauling business. Like I mentioned earlier, they deal with more administrative tasks and have to act asa boss to their truck driving employees. Owner operators need to supply the trucks and the jobs to their truck driving staff. They also need to pay for all of the expenses related to the business, whether that be gas, insurance on the vehicles or some other random expense that may come up. Truck driving is fairly straightforward in what the job entails. Pick up any freight with your assigned company vehicle, haul it to where it needs to go, return, then wait for your next job. They don’t need to concern themselves with anything except driving the truck from point A to point B. Despite the fact that being an owner operator comes with a many chores and expenses, you are still the boss of your own business. You make the rules, you take any job you want to take, and deny the ones you don’t want. You make your own hours, hire who you want, and dictate how many tasks will fall on you. Being a truck driver affords a lot of freedom but being the boss of your own company affords as much freedom as you could want. The differences between being an owner operator truck driver, and a regular truck driver are numerous. These two jobs are very different from one another. An owner operator truck driver can honestly be compared more to a small business owner, than to a truck driver.

The Point.

Being an owner operator truck driver is a difficult job. Despite being your own boss, you have people relying on you to keep food on the table, and that means shelling out large sums of cash and time to ensure that the business stays afloat. If that sounds like a life you think you can handle, then you will reap the benefits of being your own boss,but there is also nothing wrong with being a normal truck driver. Both jobs offer one thing that many don’t, freedom. As the boss it’s to make your own hours and work how you want, as the driver it’s to spend your days getting paid to travel the country. If you’re on the fence about trying to become an owner operator truck driver, just keep these things in mind.


An end dumps carry weight depends heavily on the specific road regulations, the power unit weight, and the composition of the trailer. A steel trailer, typically referred to as a Round Bottom, will be heavier and will have a payload of approximately 21 to 23 tons. By contrast, an aluminum end dump is much lighter and can carry anywhere from 23-28 tons, with some set-ups being able to approach 30-ton payloads. 

End dumps are typically loaded by heavy machinery, such as a front-end loader or excavator, or by a series of conveyor belts. End dumps are top load trailers. An owner-operator with an end dump trailer will uncover the trailer via an electric tarp switch in the cab. With the trailer uncovered, the heavy machinery is free to load from the top of the trailer, being careful to evenly distribute the material. Once loaded, the owner-operator flips the tarp switch, covers the load, and continues their run.  

There are several different types of hydraulic lifts that are usually part of dump trailers. These include telescopic, dual-piston, and scissor lifts, among others. Most dump trailers use hydraulics to automatically lift the dump box and unload the materials in a quick, seamless action.

An end dump is an excellent investment for owner operators or construction companies that transport bulk aggregate on a frequent basis. Depending on your needs, a steel or aluminum end dump will ensure that you are able to reliable keep your customers jobsites and stockpiles full. 

Depending on market timing, a typical aluminum end dump will range between $15,000 to $70,000+, with steel round bottoms priced around $10,000-$50,000+. These trailers are also offered for rent or lease, with trailers available for around $850-$2,000 per month. When renting or leasing, it is typical for all repairs to be the responsibility of the renting owner operator. 


Flex base can be an excellent choice for a driveway but is not often used as a primary input in TXDOT construction. Flex base is best suited for farm roads, driveways, RV pads, and for other foundations that will not receive heavy traffic. Flex base is cheaper than most alternative options, such as asphalt or base that meets TXDOT specifications. Additionally, once set and compacted, a flex base road or driveway is cheaper and easier to maintain.

Yes, road base and flex base are the same material family. That said, the differentiating factor is typically the testing results of each material. When shopping for material, it is important to identify exactly what type of material you are buying. Retailers will categorize Base as a broad category and can leave identification to consumers, which is challenging and confusing. In general, if a retailer is selling a Road Base it can be assumed that the material is of higher construction quality than flex base, meaning it will have a wider range of approved uses. However, some vendors will sell Flex Base as a Road Base; this makes it important to understand if the material you are purchasing is a true Flex Base, is ‘Spec 247’, or is TXDOT approved. With each increase in quality comes an increase in cost, so it is important to identify which material will best suit the needs of your project.

Flex Base is a mixture of loose aggregate and coarse aggregate, can be a wide range of color based on source location, and is composed of materials ranging from dirt to rock that are 1”-3” in size. Most Flex Base, particularly around Central Texas, will range from tan to brown, will consist of a dirt material and rocks that range from 1” to 2” in diameter. There are specialty materials that will include rocks up to 3” in size, but these are typically reserved for heavy construction projects.

Any driveway’s depth should be at least 5” to ensure structural integrity and better load capacity. For road base in particular, experts recommend a thickness of 6-8”.

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