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How to Become an Owner Operator

Steps to Becoming an Owner Operator


Step 1: File for a DOT and/or MC Number

All companies operating commercial vehicles that haul cargo in interstate commerce must be registered with FMCSA and have a DOT number.  Your DOT number is your company’s identifier.

Do you need an MC number?  Probably so.  You are required to have an MC number if you are a:

  • For Hire
  • & Interstate Carrier


Step 2: You Need Truck Insurance

This is obvious but there are some key parts that you want to make sure you have when selecting truck insurance as an owner operator.

First, you need liability insurance to activate your authority. Liability insurance protects your company in case you’re in an accident and damage someone’s property or injure someone.  Minimum limit is $750,000, but most shippers require $1,000,000.  Then, you will need cargo insurance to cover the goods your haul.  Most shippers require a $100,000 limit for cargo, so that’s a good place to start. You will also need physical damage & collision coverage if you owe money on your equipment.  These are the 3 main types of coverage that most trucking companies purchase.

Second, you definitely wanted to be insured through an A+ rated insurance company.  If you are insured with an A+ rated insurance company, you can rest assured that you are covered and don’t need to worry about the financials of your insurance company.  You can get a quote or talk to one of our agents now by calling (800) 325-9059.  We can help you find insurance with an A+ rated company quick and easy!


Step 3: Get Loaded

So, you have the DOT and MC number and you have truck insurance, but now you need to get paid.  You need to get loaded.  No worries, this part is pretty easy.  Through the American Association of Owner Operators, you can use the biggest and baddest load board (provided by DAT TruckersEdge) FREE for 30 days.  All you need to do is use the promo code, PROMO716, when you sign up.  With our load board you get access to over 100,000 loads posted daily so you will never have a problem finding freight to haul.


Step 4: How to Get Paid For Hauled Loads

This is a commonly overlooked part of becoming an owner operator.  A lot of truck drivers don’t realize that you usually don’t get paid until 30 to 45 days after delivering a load.  For most owner operators (especially newcomers), this can be a deal breaker.  This is why it can help to get a factoring partner.  With a factoring partner, you can get paid the same day you deliver a load with no wait time.  How it works is you submit the invoice to your factoring company and they take a small percentage off the top and give you the rest.  You can factor with AAOO with an average factor rate of 3%.  Let’s say you deliver a load for $5,000.  You would submit the invoice to our factoring division and they would take $150 (with a 3% rate) off the top and give you the rest ($4,850).


Becoming an Owner Operator is a Process

There are tons of benefits to working for yourself and becoming an owner operator, but it also takes a lot of work to be successful at it.  The above 4 steps are the basic steps you need to become an owner operator truck driver.  To make sure you stay in the owner operator game for years to come, you need to complete one last additional step.


Step 5: Join an Owner Operator Association – AAOO

Being an owner operator is hard and gives you a lot more responsibility on your plate.  With a membership from the American Association of Owner Operators, you can get access to benefits that help you make and save more money on the road.  For ONLY $5/month, you can become a member of the most benefit-rich association in the US.  Join AAOO Today!

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Kyle Mitchell
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