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Getting By With a Little Help From your Friends

Fri, Mar 22nd, 2013

Large carriers have one big advantage over owner-operators where it really counts: vice presidents. Big carriers have vice presidents of everything from maintenance to finance, human resources, training, legal and even procuring office supplies it seems. All those folks with the big titles and the big paychecks earn them for knowing what to do and how to do it.

Then there's Billy-Bob the owner-operator, whose wife handles the administrative chores like filing fuel tax, collecting accounts from dead-beat brokers, and booking new loads. Occasionally there's time to visit the stationery store across town to grab another cartridge for the printer. 

And who does Billy-Bob call when the engine starts making an odd noise, or when the 'check engine' light comes on?

It's obvious that single truck owner-operators can get into a pile of trouble quickly if that don't have the resources to overcome all the day-to-day challenges. In trucking today, that list is getting longer and longer.

The same goes for a new or prospective owner-operator. Making the leap from company driver to owner-operator, or from a leased-operator to an independent is a big bill to swallow.

But help is available if you look for it.

Companies and associations such as ATBS, the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, and others can provide all the back-office help you need to stay profitable.

But one source that's often overlooked is a carrier partner.

When perusing the recruiting ads, how often do you look for a business partner that offers assistance in administrative, technical or regulatory affairs? While it's true that some carriers will keep their distance in that regard out of concern for establishing too close a relationship with its contractor, some have third-party relationships with service providers.

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