Owner-operators own and operate their own trucks as an independent business. Some lease their equipment to carriers and operate with them, while others choose to operate under their own authority. Under the Motor Carrier Act of 1980, owner-operators (and other carriers) can set their own shipping rates, meaning some owner-operators can make more money on their own rather than working with another company.
About 10 years ago, the number of owner-operators in the U.S. hit its peak at 175,500. As the recession grew, the owner-operator population shrank. In 2010, there were only 149,900 owner-operators in the U.S.
The Need For Truckers
As the economy recovers, businesses have more products to ship. The demand for truckers has increased immensely. Unfortunately, over the past few years, it has been difficult to find qualified drivers to move the freight. The country relies heavily on trucking, so a driver shortage negatively impacts the economy.
The Rise Of Owner-Operators
With the truck driver shortage impacting trucking companies, some businesses are using owner-operators to move freight. Owner-operators are helping fill gaps from the trucker shortage.
Many truck drivers are looking for independent work. Working as an owner-operator lets drivers work on their own without a trucking company. Even though the independence of being an owner-operator is enticing to many, it is expensive to purchase (and maintain) a truck independently.
Owner-operators and trucking companies can work together to help take pressure off fleets with driver shortages. The combination provides a solution to move freight more efficiently.