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.


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