The average owner-operator net income in 2018 exceeded $65,000.

According to the American Truck Business Services (ATBS), the average owner-operator net income in 2018 exceeded $65,000. The figure is based on an analysis ATBS conducts after collecting data from its owner-operator clients. Based on the data collected last year, the average owner-operator annual net income in 2018 exceeded $65,000 which is an 8.6 percent increase over 2017. Furthermore, 15 percent of ATBS clients earned an average annual net income of over $100,000.

“It was a record year in many areas and a great year to be an owner-operator,” says Todd Amen, president, and CEO of ATBS. 

During the Benchmarking conference call last week (March 14th), Amen provided insight on the analysis of the overall owner-operator population, miles driven, net income, fuel mileage, freight rates, and answered questions including:

  • How much did the owner-operator population grow in 2018?
  • What was the bottom line impact of ELDs on owner-operator miles, rates, and fuel economy?
  • Why have spot market rates dropped so much and what does this mean for owner operators?
  • What is the outlook for 2019 for owner operators?

ATBS has provided consulting, tax, and bookkeeping services to over 150,000 owner-operators since 1998. Since 2003, ATBS has been able to track and analyze financial trends in the trucking industry as a result of working with owner-operator clients. For more information, visit www.atbs.com.

But you may ask what about other sources? Well they had similar assessments.

According to truckdriversalary.com, here are what truck drivers make on average:

Important note: truck driver salaries vary a lot. 

In 2015, Glassdoor.com reports that salaries start out around $28,000 per year and max out around $65,000 per year, with the national average being $43,464. The numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) are similar.  The median pay in 2016 was $41,340, which equates to $19.87 per hour. Indeed.com provides a good sample of salaries for all experience levels and are a good source for comparison.

The takeaways from these job sites are:

  • Student truck drivers earn $41,000 a year on average.
  • CDL truck drivers can expect to earn $66,000 a year on average.
  • OTR CDL truck drivers earn the most, with salaries averaging $82,000 a year.
  • Team truck drivers earn an average of $71,000 each per year.
  • The average owner-operator can earn $270,000 year, but they are responsible for all of their truck repairs and maintenance, which is very costly. Indeed reports the median annual pay as $62,752.

The key takeaway is that the pay range varies widely, especially when you consider flatbed vs van vs heavy haul. Take a big picture view of these numbers and use all data points to get a complete idea of the pay range.
Typically, the greatest income potential lies with the owner-operator.

When you move beyond your first year or two, more job opportunities will appear which pay even more than that—like team truck driving (around $71,000 per year) and the role of owner-operator (as much as $270,000 per year).

While overall truck driver salaries were up in 2018, they expect the increase in pay to return back to a more normal cycle.

Are you considering becoming an owner-operator?

As noted above, owner-operators are business owners, so with that added income potential, comes added responsibilities. Here are some recommendations before making the jump as an owner-operator:

  • Get 2-3 years of experience as a company driver to give yourself time to get used to driving, maintaining your truck and life on the road.
  • Be sure to consider the time on the road and away from your family before making the leap.
  • Save money while gaining experience so that when you are ready to make the jump to becoming an owner-operator you are in a better position financially to handle truck/lease payments as well as maintenance and registration costs.

Then find a good reputable company with a history of working with owner-operators.

  • Compare pay per mile vs percentage pay
  • Choose a company with a lease/purchase program if you aren’t able to buy your own truck. Make sure you understand all costs upfront to ensure you can afford the payments.
  • Choose a trucking company with no forced dispatch – The best situation is where you have an assigned dispatcher that you can build a relationship with as you partner with them to satisfy your customers and both grow the business together.
  • Choose one that has a good dispatch to driver ratio.

 

Related links about JRC Transportation:

JRC Transportation, 35+ years and going strong

Owner Operators Jobs – Apply Now

Truck Driver Resource Center

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JRC is HIRING! Steady work and great pay.

JRC Transportation has a 100% owner-operator fleet hauling flatbed, dry van and specialized freight nationwide. JRC offers one of the highest percentage pay rates (85% of gross) in the country. Click here for more information or apply online or call 866.JRC.PAYS (572-7297).

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