Why the Trucking Industry Needs More Owner-Operators

11 Apr 2023 0


Owner-operators play a critical role in the trucking industry, and their demand is constantly on the rise. There are 246,100 individuals employed in the trucking industry across Australia, according to Queensland Trucking Association.

The high demand for owner-operators can be attributed to the unique advantages they offer to shippers and carriers. Owner-operators have the flexibility to choose the loads they want to haul, allowing them to specialize in particular industries or routes that suit their preferences and expertise. This means that they can tailor their services to meet the needs of specific customers, providing a more personalized experience than larger carriers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the importance of the trucking industry and the critical role that owner-operators play in keeping the supply chain running. As the demand for goods and essential supplies increased during the pandemic, so did the demand for truck drivers. Owner-operators were able to quickly adapt to the changing market conditions and provide critical transportation services to meet the rising demand.


What is an Owner-Driver?

An owner-driver is an independent contractor who owns and operates their own trucking business. They are responsible for driving the truck and managing the business operations, such as accounting, marketing, and client relations. To become an owner-driver, you need to have a commercial driver's license, a truck, and the necessary business licenses and permits.

Choosing trucking as a small business

According to IBIS World, there are 50,146 Road Freight Transport Businesses in Australia as of 2023, with a 3.4% increase in the same year. 

The hardworking men and women who run these small trucking companies are the backbone of the trucking and logistics industry. Despite their small size, these companies play a significant role in keeping the economy moving. They transport goods across the country, delivering products to businesses and consumers alike. Without the services provided by small trucking companies, the supply chain would suffer, leading to disruptions in various industries and ultimately affecting the everyday lives of people.

Running a small trucking company requires a unique set of skills and knowledge. Owners must not only manage the logistics of their operation but also handle financial management, regulatory compliance, and other administrative tasks. It can be a challenging and demanding job, but it is also rewarding to see the impact that their hard work has on the economy.

Small trucking companies also offer benefits to their employees, such as flexible work schedules and personalized attention. Drivers often have more control over their routes and can work with their employers to find loads that fit their schedules and preferences.

Furthermore, the success of small trucking companies often depends on building strong relationships with customers. Unlike larger companies, small businesses have the advantage of being able to provide personalized service and establish a loyal customer base.


The benefits of being an owner-operator

There are several reasons why drivers are opting to become Owner-Operators. For one, it provides them with greater control over their career and financial future. As an Owner-Operator, they have the freedom to choose their own loads, set their own rates, and operate their own business. This level of independence is appealing to those who want to have more control over their work schedule, financial goals, and overall career trajectory.

Another reason why many drivers choose to become Owner-Operators is because of the potential to earn more money. As an Owner-Operator, they can negotiate their rates and choose the loads that offer the best compensation. Additionally, they can minimize their expenses by managing their own fuel, maintenance, and other costs associated with running a trucking business.

Let’s get into why choosing trucking as a small business is an excellent choice and the benefits that come with being an owner-operator.

  • Independence

As an owner-operator, you’ll have the independence to run your business the way you see fit. You’ll have the freedom to choose which loads to haul, which clients to work with, and how much work to take on. You’ll be able to set your own schedule and take time off whenever you’d like. This freedom can help relieve stress and allow you to focus on building your business.

  • Flexibility

One of the biggest advantages of being an owner-operator is the flexibility that comes with it. You’ll be able to create a work schedule that accommodates your personal responsibilities and family needs. You’ll have complete control over how you manage your time and run your business. If you have the business savvy to be self-employed, becoming an owner-operator could be a great opportunity.

  • Profitability

As an owner-operator, you’ll pocket all of the revenue. You’ll own your truck, negotiate deals, deliver goods, and oversee every part of your trucking business. This added responsibility also means higher profit potential. You’ll have more control over your earnings than you would as a company driver, giving you the potential to make significantly more money.

  • Tax and Wage Benefits

As a business owner, you’ll be eligible for many tax deductions not available to employees. You’ll also earn as much as you need and set your own salary. This gives you the potential to make more money than you would as a company driver. As an owner-operator, you’ll have the flexibility to choose how to allocate your earnings to maximize tax benefits and profits.

  • Freedom to Choose Employees, Clients, and Co-Workers

As an owner-operator, you’ll have the freedom to choose which clients and employees you work with. In the beginning, you may need to take whatever work you can get, but as you gain experience and build your business, you’ll have more freedom to be selective. You’ll be able to hire employees who share your values and work ethic, which can help build a successful business.


How to become an owner-driver?

In recent years, the median earnings for full-time workers amount to $1,663 per week, which surpasses the median earnings for all jobs ($1,593). Additionally, 75% of workers earn more than $1,328, while 25% earn more than $2,142.

Becoming an Owner-Operator can be a rewarding career path. It provides drivers with greater flexibility, control, and earning potential. Moreover, as the trucking industry continues to grow and evolve, the demand for Owner-Operators is likely to increase, providing ample opportunities for those who are up for the challenge.

To become an owner-driver, you need to follow these steps:

  • To make your business official in Australia, you need to complete essential registrations such as registering a business name, obtaining an ABN, registering your business as a company, registering for tax requirements, and obtaining necessary licenses and permits. Failure to comply with registration requirements can result in penalties and legal issues. Use SAFVER to manage everything in one place.
  • To operate a truck in Australia, drivers are required to obtain a heavy vehicle license that corresponds to the type of vehicle they will be driving. The license is classified into several classes, and drivers must meet the minimum requirements set for each class to upgrade to the next license class.
  • Obtaining insurance coverage is crucial for protecting your business from legal issues, and it is essential to assess your risks and obtain the appropriate types of insurance coverage, including public liability insurance, workers' compensation insurance, and equipment insurance. It is recommended to consult with an insurance professional to assess your risks and obtain the right coverage for your business.
  • Typically, truck drivers do not need formal qualifications to enter the profession, although some may have completed a certificate II or III in driving operations. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a truck driver, you can explore vocational education and training (VET) courses and providers.


According to IBIS World, the Road Freight Transport industry has a revenue of $29.1 billion in 2023, measured by market size. This massive industry provides benefits not only to the professionals who work in it but also to consumers who rely on goods transported by trucks. The trucking industry is responsible for the transportation of approximately 70% of all freight moved in the United States, making it a significant contributor to the country's economy. 

If you're interested in pursuing a career in the trucking industry, becoming an owner-operator is worth considering. As an owner-operator, you have the freedom to manage your business as you see fit, allowing you to tailor your services to your preferences and needs. This independence is especially beneficial for those who want to take control of their finances and workload and enjoy a flexible work schedule.

The future looks bright for owner-operators as the industry continues to grow and adapt to new challenges. With advancements in technology, the trucking industry is becoming more efficient, safer, and environmentally friendly. This trend is expected to create new opportunities for owner-operators who are willing to embrace new technologies and adapt to the changing landscape. With the right mindset, commitment, and preparation, anyone can build a successful career as an owner-operator in the trucking industry.

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