Our fleet used to be entirely owner-operator based and we switched over to 100% assets of our own in mid 2018 to now.I'd like to hear the experience of other carriers that rely heavily on owner-operators. It seems to me the o/o's value their independence and it's very tough int he current market to find ones that are reliable and equally committed to the carrier as the carrier might be to them.
I'm curious how you found the quality of(company drivers to replace O/O's .Our fleet used to be entirely owner-operator based and we switched over to 100% assets of our own in mid 2018 to now.
Here are my experiences (we're a flatbed company). Keep in mind, this applies to a lot of the owner-operators that we have dealt with in our experience. We found that owner-operators who drive newer model trucks, understand their finances, and have a long history in the trucking industry usually are more successful. The other side however..:
1. Alot of Owner-Operators usually have a short term view of the industry, they don't treat their work like a business. They're essentially drivers who bought themselves a job.
2. Their equipment tends to be more unreliable. You'll find that owner-operators mostly favor very old trucks, therefore they have more mechanical downtime. This down time puts added pressure onto the company to ensure that they're making money to cover that downtime. It's not a bad thing, but a truck that constantly in the shop due to an owner-operators inexperience with buying equipment is just unnecessary pressure for the company to recover losses on their behalf. These owner-operators are usually extremely miserable, they work hard all week and then spend their entire weekends or off-time in the shops. They don't have a mental break from the trucking life, therefore they are constantly irritable. I cant blame them for this, but I don't like how they buy trucks based on the truck payment being low which hurts them in the long run.
3. They don't value the customer. I find that some owner-operators carry the view that if they have the truck they call the shots. They don't care for long-term customers.
4. Rates. They all share rates at shippers or receivers. I've found owner-operators straight up exaggerate their rates to my owner-operators, who in turn decide to lash out at me or my dispatch team.
5. Owner-operators have very high idle-time. They like to wait for the expensive loads. It's difficult to explain to them what the market conditions might be like on a given month, why it's not smart to wait for a better paying load, etc. Some will take it personally if you offer anything less than ideal for them.
6. In my personal experience, about 3/5 owner-operators have very, very bad financial skills. They do not budget for maintenance, their interest rates on their loans are ridiculous, and (refer to point 2) they're sinking money constantly into their trucks.
7. Mental Health. Being an owner-operator attracts individuals who have financial troubles and see trucking as a short-term scheme to get back on their feet with stories of $15,000.00/month net income, flexible work schedules, and having independence. We know that in this business, all these things are possible, but not on a consistent basis. There are owner-operators who have been burned by companies for thousands of dollars in pay owed to them. They spend every weekend in the shop because their old trucks are always breaking down. Their inexperience with mechanical systems on their trucks cause them to have greater failure than necessary. Their hard earned money goes to mechanics, tow trucks, road-side repairs, then they have to sit. No time off, sitting in diesel shops all weekend. Their expectations don't match the reality, but hey they have to pay the bills. This does not result in a happy owner-operator, and guess who he's going to take it out on? The dispatch.
I typed this out really quickly. I want to clarify, I might sound disgruntled in this post but I'm not. I only joined this industry not too long ago and I had a good look from outside the box. Maybe my experiences were worse than others, but I hope they provide some insight nevertheless.
Hi Trukker, we're not a large company and we have <10 power units on the road right now. Some of our owner-operators became drivers (no lease to own programs) and I think we just got really, really lucky with some hires.I'm curious how you found the quality of(company drivers to replace O/O's .
I've found it easier to hire lease ops then to find quality company drivers . Most drivers that are any good end up getting there own truck eventually