Why Owner/Operators Fail: Avoid These Pitfalls

Being a successful owner/operator takes a lot of work, but it's worth it!

Every owner/operator is optimistic that their business will be successful. Unfortunately, many businesses end up failing within a short period of time, leaving the owners penniless. Are you thinking about becoming an owner/operator? Take a moment and read some of the main reasons why they fail in order to gain a better understanding of the pitfalls that you need to avoid.



  • Poor Money Management:

Money is constantly coming in and out of the business and someone needs to keep track of it all. Without proper bookkeeping you will soon find yourself down and out. It isn’t good enough to just have money to cover your living expenses and the everyday expenses of running the business. You need to have an emergency fund set aside for unexpected life events such as breakdowns, health problems, and drops in the economy or the price of freight. Working in this industry, we have heard many horror stories about drivers who were ruined after a costly repair and had to start all over again. Don’t let that be you. Recognize that the trucking industry is constantly changing and build yourself a reliable safety net that will keep your business afloat in tough times.


  • Not Making Enough:

Your business will never survive if you are not making enough money. First, crunch the numbers and make sure that more money is coming into your business than going out. You will also want to lower your expenses wherever possible. A lot of drivers live beyond their means when the money is good and end up wasting most of their profit. Learn to be content with what you have and don’t be tempted to inflate your lifestyle.


Also be sure that you do some research and find good paying freight. Make sure your pay covers fuel costs and weight surcharges as well. Gain a good understanding of how much it costs to operate your truck so that you are aware of how much money you need to be making per run. Be sure that you have a good understanding of fair rates and keep all receipts so that you can write off business expenses at the end of the year.

  • Laziness:

There are some owner-operators out there that believe that working for themselves is easy. This isn’t the case. In fact, working for yourself can be harder in a lot of regards because you have to hold yourself accountable. You need to be self sufficient and a hard worker in order to be successful. It’ll be tempting to take extra days off, but you need to be working.

  • Rule-Breaking:

Your business will endure a lot of unnecessary hardships if you fail to comply with DOT standards and the law. Don’t take shortcuts and be sure that you do everything by the books. Keep yourself and all of your employees up-to-date on all updated laws and regulations.


  • Lack of experience:

Some drivers are in too big of a hurry to jump into the role of owner/operator. It’s important to gain enough experience so that you can stand comfortably on your own two feet. It is typically recommended that new drivers work for a company for one to two years before starting up their own business. Not only does this give them time to save up the necessary funds, but it also provides them with an opportunity to become a better driver and to network. There is a lot to learn about the industry and you don’t want to come across as being naive. The truth of the matter is that many new owner/operators make the leap before they are actually ready and end up failing.

Man newbies try to become owner/operators too quickly and end up over their head.


In order to be a successful owner/operator you must learn to live within your means, pay all of your bills on time, plan ahead, have a clear vision, work hard, and be willing to ask for help. At Truck Mart LLC we want to see our customers drive off of our lot and be victorious in all of their endeavors. All of our customers that purchase a truck from us receive a copy of our Golden Book which outlines important things to think about in order to get ahead in the industry.



Are you looking to become an owner/operator and need a truck or trailer? Check out our inventory by visiting our website HERE


We are open Monday-Friday 8-5 and Saturdays 9-1. Call us now at 717-532-6900. Our company has helped countless owner/operators get the equipment they need at the price they want.



Thanks for reading!

Truck Mart LLC


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