This is Part Two, the follow-up to the first three myths about getting carrier authority. These myths, fears, and unknowns held me in place as a company driver for years. I wish I had gotten my authority sooner, and I hope other drivers can learn from my experience.
Myth #4 — You need to save up before you get your authority.
If my truck hadn't had fuel in it when I bought it — on a credit card — I might not have made it through those first few days as an owner-operator. So I can tell you that there is no correct amount of money you need when you get started. This myth has two parts. One is all the "what-ifs" — all the bad things that could possibly happen to derail your new business. The more "what ifs" the higher the amount becomes.
The second part is how long it takes to get paid by shippers and brokers. The reality is that most big brokers provide next-day pay for a fee. The downside is that you have to read a quick-pay contract from every broker you set this up with, and then you have to remember to get it turned off when you want to stop the quick pay.
If you need cash flow to get started, then I would recommend working with one good, reputable load factoring company that has no minimum requirements, so you don't have to factor all your loads. (I recommend Triumph Business Capital, and they meet all my qualifications.) You will never save enough money for all the "what ifs" and the small fee to factor is usually a lot lower than what you'd be giving up if you leased to another carrier.
Myth #5 — You should lease to a carrier and learn to be an owner-operator before you get your authority.
This one is hard for me to understand. I never leased to another carrier, and every time I did the math it added up to less money in my pocket. The DAT load board tells you the 15-day rate average in any particular lane. I just don't get what the hard part would even be.
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Myth #6 — You'll be married to your truck, and you'll never get to take time off.
A lot of people told me this, but it was so untrue. I've been getting freight from brokers instead of direct shipper customers for the past seven years. My biggest reason is so that I could enjoy my freedom to do what I want when I want, and not be babysitting customers. I get more home time and make more money now than I ever did as a company driver. It is insane how hard I used to work compared to my work life today. and to think it took such a small amount of knowledge to get to this point.
Chad Boblett is the owner and driver of Boblett Brothers Trucking of Lexington, KY. Chad also founded the Rate Per Mile Masters group on Facebook, a communications hub for more than 20,000 members, including owner-operators, truck drivers, and other transportation and logistics pros.