Find The Best Driver/Owner Operator Jobs For You

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What Does A Driver/Owner Operator Do?

Driver/owner-operators are self-employed commercial truck drivers who operate trucks to transport goods for their customers. Most of these operators started working as drivers for trucking companies to gain experience and decide if it's the right career path for them. They are allowed to haul freelance or agree to a lease agreement dedicating their equipment to one product or customer. To become an owner-operator, one should consider many things, including business set-up, vehicle type, and licenses.

Here are examples of responsibilities from real driver/owner operator resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Train new students to help them accomplish there goal of obtaining there CDL license.
  • Manage truck loads by researching business opportunities on the internet and personally contacting sources for potential customers.
  • Transport LTL freight in single and double trailers.
  • Deliver LTL freight to service centers and turn around points.
  • Drive assign routes, OTR driving, answer customer questions, maintain schedule.
  • Maintain the temperature that the product is set on the reefer for the requirements.
  • Conduct structural and ARFF fire fighting, in addition to HAZMAT mitigation and rescue operations.
  • Use a special GPS device to find the addresses and appropriate routes, when need.
  • Comfort to all safety regulations set by the FMCSA and those of each individual client.
  • Earn CDL and are Driver/Operator of commercial bulk truck while performing jobs out in the field.
Driver/Owner Operator Traits
Hand-eye coordination
Hand-eye coordination describes being skilled in using your hands when it comes to physical activity.
Physical health refers to the condition that one's body is in.
Visual ability is a strength of people who are able to picture ideas or thoughts.

Driver/Owner Operator Overview

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a driver/owner operator is "should I become a driver/owner operator?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, driver/owner operator careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 5% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a driver/owner operator by 2028 is 99,700.

Driver/owner operators average about $64.47 an hour, which makes the driver/owner operator annual salary $134,091. Additionally, driver/owner operators are known to earn anywhere from $81,000 to $220,000 a year. This means that the top-earning driver/owner operators make $122,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

Once you've become a driver/owner operator, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a tractor-trailer driver, transportation driver, over the road driver, and cdl class a driver.

Driver/Owner Operator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 36% of Driver/Owner Operators are proficient in CDL, DOT, and OTR. They’re also known for soft skills such as Hand-eye coordination, Physical health, and Visual ability.

We break down the percentage of Driver/Owner Operators that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • CDL, 36%

    Maintained a Missouri Class B CDL license to operate dump trucks and other commercial vehicles as required.

  • DOT, 26%

    Obtained & maintained proper deliver authorization & pickup documentation, conducted daily DOT inspections.

  • OTR, 24%

    Time off, Home time, Hours of Service, Daily Communication with Drivers OTR, Pay Advances

  • Hazmat, 2%

    Participate in the control, prevention, and cleanup of oil spills and other Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) incidents.

  • Straight Truck, 2%

    Operated a tractor-trailer or straight truck as directed that transported between the facility/multiple destinations

  • Safety Rules, 1%

    Followed regulations governing taxi operations and ensured that passengers followed safety rules.

Some of the skills we found on driver/owner operator resumes included "cdl," "dot," and "otr." We have detailed the most important driver/owner operator responsibilities below.

  • The most important skills for a driver/owner operator to have in this position are hand-eye coordination. In this excerpt that we gathered from a driver/owner operator resume, you'll understand why: "drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers must be able to coordinate their legs, hands, and eyes simultaneously so that they will react appropriately to the situation around them and drive the vehicle safely." According to resumes we found, hand-eye coordination can be used by a driver/owner operator in order to "assist with the coordination set ups delivery, organization and ensure timely delivery. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many driver/owner operator duties rely on physical health. This example from a driver/owner operator explains why: "federal regulations do not allow people to become truck drivers if they have a medical condition, such as high blood pressure or epilepsy, which may interfere with their ability to operate a truck." This resume example is just one of many ways driver/owner operators are able to utilize physical health: "achieved all loading and unloading weight requirements from 25 to 70 pounds and assured completion of dot physical exams annually. "
  • Another skill that is quite popular among driver/owner operators is visual ability. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a driver/owner operator resume: "truck drivers must be able to pass vision tests" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "drive business sales through optimizing visual merchandising, marketing, and facebook. "
  • See the full list of driver/owner operator skills.

    The driver/owner operators who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied business and criminal justice, while a small population of driver/owner operators studied automotive technology and general studies.

    When you're ready to become a driver/owner operator, you might wonder which companies hire driver/owner operators. According to our research through driver/owner operator resumes, driver/owner operators are mostly hired by U.S. Xpress, ACT, and USA Truck. Now is a good time to apply as U.S. Xpress has 324 driver/owner operators job openings, and there are 278 at ACT and 156 at USA Truck.

    Since salary is important to some driver/owner operators, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Carrier, PeaceHealth, and Cardinal Logistics Holdings. If you were to take a closer look at Carrier, you'd find that the average driver/owner operator salary is $275,996. Then at PeaceHealth, driver/owner operators receive an average salary of $208,067, while the salary at Cardinal Logistics Holdings is $120,409.

    View more details on driver/owner operator salaries across the United States.

    We also looked into companies who hire driver/owner operators from the top 100 educational institutions in the U.S. The top three companies that hire the most from these institutions include Schneider National, C.R. England, and Knight Transportation.

    In general, driver/owner operators fulfill roles in the transportation and retail industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the driver/owner operator annual salary is the highest in the utilities industry with $116,094 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the transportation and energy industries pay $106,703 and $104,181 respectively. This means that driver/owner operators who are employed in the utilities industry make 55.8% more than driver/owner operators who work in the retail Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious driver/owner operators are:

      What Tractor-Trailer Drivers Do

      A tractor-trailer driver is responsible for picking up and delivering goods and services from distribution centers and warehouses to different locations across the country as required. Tractor-trailer drivers manage the best route planning to prevent delays. They should also have extensive knowledge of the mechanical industry, inspecting the vehicle's condition regularly, repairing any inconsistencies, and replacing defective components to ensure smooth operations. A tractor-trailer driver must have excellent communication and organizational skills, responding to the clients' inquiries and concerns and escalating complaints to management for immediate resolution.

      In this section, we compare the average driver/owner operator annual salary with that of a tractor-trailer driver. Typically, tractor-trailer drivers earn a $73,341 lower salary than driver/owner operators earn annually.

      Even though driver/owner operators and tractor-trailer drivers have vast differences in their careers, a few of the skills required to do both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require cdl, dot, and otr in the day-to-day roles.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a driver/owner operator responsibility requires skills such as "straight truck," "dump truck," "preventive maintenance," and "front end loader." Whereas a tractor-trailer driver is skilled in "pallet jack," "delivery schedules," "vehicle service," and "fmcsa." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Tractor-trailer drivers tend to make the most money in the retail industry by averaging a salary of $62,958. In contrast, driver/owner operators make the biggest average salary of $116,094 in the utilities industry.

      Tractor-trailer drivers tend to reach similar levels of education than driver/owner operators. In fact, tractor-trailer drivers are 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Transportation Driver?

      A transportation driver is responsible for transporting people and goods from one place to another. A transportation driver must have a clean driving record to operate vehicles carefully and efficiently. Transportation drivers must ensure that the passengers are safe and comfortable during the trip and that goods are in proper condition to avoid damage and defects. They should strictly adhere to the transport schedules and assigned routes to avoid delays of operations. A transportation driver should also understand maintenance basics of vehicles to perform repair and reconditioning of any engine malfunction.

      The next role we're going to look at is the transportation driver profession. Typically, this position earns a lower pay. In fact, they earn a $90,634 lower salary than driver/owner operators per year.

      While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's a few of the skills needed to perform certain duties. We used info from lots of resumes to find that both driver/owner operators and transportation drivers are known to have skills such as "cdl," "dot," and "otr. "

      While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that driver/owner operator responsibilities requires skills like "straight truck," "dump truck," "qualcomm," and "building materials." But a transportation driver might use skills, such as, "tractor trailer," "clean driving record," "safety procedures," and "shuttle bus."

      On average, transportation drivers earn a lower salary than driver/owner operators. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, transportation drivers earn the most pay in the manufacturing industry with an average salary of $47,893. Whereas, driver/owner operators have higher paychecks in the utilities industry where they earn an average of $116,094.

      In general, transportation drivers study at similar levels of education than driver/owner operators. They're 0.3% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How an Over The Road Driver Compares

      Over the road, (OTR) drivers are the truckers driving the big semi-trailer truck that hauls all types of goods to their destinations across the states. Their journey typically begins with loading the freight onto the trailer, requiring them to lift heavy materials and load the cargo properly to avoid shifting while in transit. They often sleep in the sleeper berth at a truck stop to eat, freshen up and refuel. They are allowed to go on a 30-minute break after an eight-hour drive.

      Let's now take a look at the over the road driver profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than driver/owner operators with a $69,706 difference per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several driver/owner operators and over the road drivers we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "cdl," "dot," and "otr," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a driver/owner operator is likely to be skilled in "straight truck," "dump truck," "heavy equipment," and "job sites," while a typical over the road driver is skilled in "ltl," "reefer," "federal motor," and "fmcsa."

      Interestingly enough, over the road drivers earn the most pay in the manufacturing industry, where they command an average salary of $70,959. As mentioned previously, driver/owner operators highest annual salary comes from the utilities industry with an average salary of $116,094.

      Over the road drivers are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to driver/owner operators. Additionally, they're 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a CDL Class A Driver

      A CDL Class A driver is a driver with a Class A commercial driver's license. A commercial driver's license is necessary to operate large, heavy, and placarded vehicles. There are several classifications of a commercial driver's license, and Class A is for a car towing a trailer with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds (5 t). Drivers with this type of license are entitled to operate a commercial motor vehicle such as passenger buses, tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and dump trucks. They have the choice to add endorsements to their CDL, which allows them to operate particular types of commercial motor vehicles.

      The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than driver/owner operators. On average, cdl class a drivers earn a difference of $75,189 lower per year.

      While their salaries may vary, driver/owner operators and cdl class a drivers both use similar skills to perform their jobs. Resumes from both professions include skills like "dot," "otr," and "hazmat. "

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "cdl," "pre-trip," "preventive maintenance," and "post-trip inspections" are skills that have shown up on driver/owner operators resumes. Additionally, cdl class a driver uses skills like customer locations, reefer, pallet jack, and twic on their resumes.

      Now, let's take a closer look at the financials in each career. The manufacturing industry tends to pay more for cdl class a drivers with an average of $65,159. While the highest driver/owner operator annual salary comes from the utilities industry.

      The average resume of cdl class a drivers showed that they earn similar levels of education to driver/owner operators. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 0.4% less. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 0.1%.