Owner Operator Trucking Life

Company Driver vs Owner Operator: What is The Difference?

Company Driver vs. Owner

When you decide to enter the trucking industry as a truck driver, there are two routes you can take with this career: either to work for as a company driver or to be an owner-operator. (company driver vs. owner-operator).

Don you know which path is suitable for you? You may don’t know everything about the two paths.

To help you make your decision, in this article I will show you the company driver vs. owner-operator and all what you need to know.

Follow reading to know more about the two paths.

Company driver vs. owner operator 

Company drivers are truckers that are employees of a trucking company and drive a tractor or tractor-trailer which belongs to a trucking company.

While owner-operators are truckers who own their tractor or tractor-trailer.

Company driver vs. owner-operator Cons and Pros

Company driver vs. owner-operator advantages and disadvantages are very important topic to talk about in this article.

Before you decide which route to take, you need to know are the advantages and disadvantages of both company driver and owner-operator.

Here is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of a company driver and owner-operator.

What are the Advantages of being a company driver?

1. Company driver doesn’t pay for truck expenses: 

If you are working as a company driver, the truck belongs to the company; you don’t have to spend on oil changes, fixes, truck insurance, and maintenance. 

2. No startup costs to begin the work: 

As a company driver you don’t need to have savings or startup money to start your career such as owner-operators.

Whenever you are qualified for a company driver job, then all that you have to do is to apply.

3. Reliance isn’t all on you:

As a company driver, you will have job duties provided by your company, but all the reliance won’t fall only on you. 

There are a lot of other workers with various job positions in the company. The company relay on all of its employees not only you.

4. You can enjoy your free time with friends and family:

Not as owner-operators who have a lot of responsibilities, whenever you are in your free time then you can enjoy it with family and friends without job disturbance. 

What are the disadvantages of being a company driver?

1. The pay can be less than that of an owner-operator:

When you drive for a company, you will make less money than an owner-operator makes, this actually depends on the company you work for. 

But if you were getting your payment according to mileage, then paying will be much less, as you won’t be paid for waiting time.

This can add up to over 20 hours a week of unpaid work between circle checks, mandatory breaks, and loading dock stops.

Do you want to know how much a company driver makes? Continue reading to know.

2. Not as much time at home 

Trucking companies want to achieve more time and money by their drivers, so they will keep you on the road as longer periods as possible as if they were to hire an owner-operator. 

This means not as much time at home with the family compared with an owner-operator.

3. Less Flexibility

As a company driver, this means that you may not have the best schedule you will have less flexibility than an owner-operator.

There are limits to drive at certain speed; even you may be limited to the type of route you will drive on. 

The clients you will deliver for as well, and your schedule is limited too.

What are the Advantages of being an owner-operator?

1. Trucks and equipment are yours

As an owner-operator, you are your own boss. If you don’t like something about your business, you have the choice to change it. 

2. Decide when to have time-off

As being your own boss, you can have your time off whenever you want, without any need to take a permission from a company or a work boss.

3. Select the road to drive 

When working as a company driver your company tells you what routes you have to drive by your vehicle. 

As an owner-operator, the choice is yours; you can drive the route you want without any obligation from a company or a work boss.

4. No speed limits

You need to know that some companies put speed limits, for example, 65 miles per hour.

If you are an owner-operator you can drive whatever speed you want without being controlled by speed limits. 

5. Ability to select your clients

If somebody is treating you poorly, as an owner-operator you don’t have to drive for him anymore.

You can choose your clients to deliver for. And those clients that don’t seem OK with you can stop dealing with them.

6. Paying in more

If you are managing and operating your business well, then you can make more than a company driver. 

Do you want to know how much an owner-operator makes? Continue reading to know.

7. You make your own profit

If you are an owner-operator you get your payment per mile rate which takes care of your fuel costs, maintenance costs, taxes, and your profit margin.

Also, you can control every trucking expense to increase your profit margin. 

So be wise and take care of your truck. Thus, you will reduce your maintenance costs.

Keep good records and have a good accountant, then you will reduce your tax costs. 

What are the disadvantages of being an owner-operator?

1. Free time is restricted:

Being the boss of the work, you need to put in your consideration that a lot of free time will be spent on maintaining your truck and keeping financial business and business records. 

2. More responsibilities:

The pressure and stress an owner-operator face can be greater than that of a company driver. 

As an owner-operator, you are the boss of the work; as a result, a lot of responsibilities are waiting for you.

Here are some of your responsibilities:

  • Health Insurance.
  • Finances and budget.
  • Finding loads.
  • Loads you are carrying.
  • Vehicle maintenance.
  • Fueling of the vehicle.
  • Vehicle insurances, fees, or licenses.

Owner-operators have more responsibilities than company drivers, but the potential to make more money with tax advantages as well as lower rates is more than that of a company driver. 

3. The financial risk is greater 

As an owner-operator, you are responsible for all requirements related to your vehicle including maintenance as well as fueling of your truck.

To start off, a good savings is needed to make a down payment on a truck and cover equipment costs month to month.

What is Company driver vs. owner-operator Salary?

You may find this topic the most important in company driver vs. owner-operator article.

As well as you may be concerned about how much do both company drivers and owner-operators make. 

According to statistics, the average salary for a company driver is $70,541 per year in the United States.

While the average salary for an owner-operator driver is $188,628 per year.


  • I like that you said that being a company truck driver means that I wouldn’t have to invest in start-up costs for a truck or pay for its maintenance, repair, and insurance. My brother is planning to switch careers and become a commercial truck driver once he gets his license. When I see him for dinner this weekend, I’ll tell him to look for a CDL truck driver positions available online for companies rather than become an owner-operator. Thanks for this!

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