Owner-Operator vs Company Driver

If you are considering truck driving as your next career, you may wonder whether you should become an owner-operator or company driver. While the driving and knowledge skill sets are largely the same for each job, the two types of trucking careers have many differences. Let’s dive deeper into the pros and cons of owner-operators vs company drivers so you can decide which is a better fit for you.


An owner-operator is an independent contractor that runs their own trucking business, which includes one or more semi-trucks they either bought or leased from another company. Owner-operators enjoy higher pay, more freedom, and truck customization than company drivers, but there are also start-up costs associated with this career.

Pro – High Pay

One advantage of being an owner-operator is a higher gross income. An owner-operator receives roughly 75% of the profits of every delivery, while a company truck driver receives 25%.

Pro – Freedom

Another pro of becoming an owner-operator is the freedom it offers. Owner-operators work on their terms, making their schedule and routes and choosing how much or how little they want to drive. They can also decide which type of freight to haul.

Pro – Truck Customization

As an owner-operator, you will always feel comfortable driving and using equipment because it is all your own. You alone will ride in your truck, so you can set everything up to fit your preferences.

Con – Business Expenses

The biggest downside of being an owner-operator is that you are responsible for handling all the business expenses. These responsibilities include truck payments, maintenance, fuel costs, and insurance. There are also sizable start-up costs associated with becoming an owner-operator. 

Company Drivers

A company driver operates a semi-truck provided by the company that employs them. Company drivers receive consistent paychecks and benefits from their employers and don’t have to worry about paying for truck maintenance costs. However, they may work longer hours than an owner-operator. 

Pro – Consistent Paycheck

One of the main advantages for many company drivers is a consistent paycheck. Trucking companies typically pay their drivers per mile driven, and whatever money drivers earn is money they can keep rather than put back into their trucks.

Pro – Benefits

Another advantage of being a company driver is the benefits it provides both before and during employment. Professional truck drivers are in high demand, so many companies offer sign-on bonuses if you drive for them. Additionally, after you sign with a trucking company, you are often eligible for a benefits package, including health insurance and paid time off.

Pro – Not Financially Responsible For Maintenance

Company drivers are also free of the burdens of truck ownership. Since the equipment belongs to the company they drive for, they don’t have to handle truck payments and maintenance. When a company driver clocks out at the end of the day, their job is done.

Con – Longer Hours

A downside to company driving is not having sole control over your working hours. As a company driver, this can often (although not necessarily) translate into less home time.

Earn Your Commercial Drivers License Today

Whether you want to become an owner-operator or company driver, your path starts with earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL). At Phoenix Truck Driving Institute, our students enjoy many benefits, including flexible class schedules, financial assistance, and lessons from skilled instructors. We also offer accelerated CDL training that can get you on the road in as little as four weeks.

For more information, contact one of our advisors today.


Questions to Ask CDL School Representatives

If you are considering a career in truck driving, earning your commercial driver’s license (CDL) is the first step, and there are many schools to attend to do so. While websites are full of information and can answer many of your questions, the best way to narrow down your options is to talk directly with an admissions representative at the schools you are considering. Not sure what to ask CDL school representatives? We compiled a list of the most important questions to help you make the right decision.

Questions About the Trucking Industry

Although you may already feel that trucking is the right job for you, you may not know what type of driver you’d like to be or what to expect during your career. It is helpful to ask questions about the trucking industry to establish a solid foundation of knowledge.


Some questions to ask include:


  • What are the different trucking jobs available? What does a typical day look like for each?
  • Do different types of driving require different qualifications?
  • Besides truck driving, what job opportunities are available for CDL holders?
  • What does the trucking lifestyle look like?
  • Is there still a professional truck driver shortage? If so, how does this affect me?

Questions About the CDL Training School

Along with learning more about the trucking industry, talking with a CDL school representative can also inform you about the training school you are considering attending. 


Consider asking questions such as:


  • How long does training take in your program?
  • What information does your training program cover?
  • What is the completion rate for your truck driving school?
  • Do your professors have real-world experience?
  • What is the student-to-instructor ratio?
  • Does your school offer full and part-time classes?

Questions About Tuition and Financial Aid

Finances are a huge factor in deciding where to earn your CDL. Including questions about tuition and financial aid will help you better understand if a school is a good fit for you.


A few questions to ask about funding are:


Questions About Graduation and Support After Training

Most CDL training programs help students transition into their new careers after graduation, so asking questions about support after training will help ensure that your preferred school will be there for you.


Ask a CDL school representative questions like:


  • How long does it typically take to find a job in the trucking industry after graduation?
  • Do you offer job placement assistance to your students? If so, how does this work?
  • What are my options if I fail the CDL exam?
  • What trucking companies do your graduates often work for?

Attend a High-Quality CDL Training School in Phoenix

If you are ready for a rewarding career in trucking, then include Phoenix Truck Driving Institute in your list of potential schools. Our CDL programs have been providing high-quality truck driver training for over 11 years. With our accelerated classes, we can get you on the road and earning in as little as four weeks.

Contact one of our CDL school representatives for more information.