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Getting Started as an Owner-Operator

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

So you are considering deciding to become an owner-operator, that’s great! Becoming an owner-operator is a lot of rewarding work. Here we will break down a few key things you need to know to get started on your journey.

Equipment and Licensing

First things first, you have got to get proper licensing and equipment for your business. The basic things you will need are a motor carrier authority (MC), a US DOT number, a delivery vehicle (such as a Semi-truck or box-truck), and insurance. There are more pieces of equipment you can get to assist you, such as a pallet jack or straps but, for now, we will just say all you need are the first four items mentioned to get started. Another important thing you're going to need is capital! You are going to need to spend a lot of money just to get your business started. The equipment alone is an incredible investment, so be sure you have the funds before attempting this venture.

Choose your lane

In the transportation industry, the term "lane" simply refers to where you want to go. What area would you like to transport in? Some drivers are very particular about what states they choose to travel to and how far they want to go. Some lanes pay better than others, and some have lower rates. Do some research on current rates in different parts of the country and decide what lane works best for you.

Get a great dispatcher

An excellent dispatch system is going to be essential to your operation. As an owner-operator, you will have the option to either find and book loads for yourself alone or to use a dispatcher. Using a dispatching service has its benefits. If you are busy driving, it’s going to be frustrating to simultaneously search for loads, negotiate with brokers, book loads, fill out carrier packets, send BOL paperwork and deal with all the rest of the administrative tasks and communication involved in the load booking process. It is a lot simpler to have someone else handle all of that for you, give them a small percentage of the load, and just focus on driving from here to there. Not to mention should any problems arise, a dispatcher would be able to handle them for you as well. Simply put, it is a lot on a driver to have to book their own loads while driving, not to mention it can be a safety hazard! You should hire a dispatcher from a reputable company. We here at Distinct Deliveries have an excellent dispatch team, so check out our dispatch page as well.


Becoming an owner-operator can be lucrative, but there are a lot of considerations to be made about getting set up and how you will operate. As lucrative as this career can be, it is also expensive to start, so be aware of the size of the investment you are going to make and pick out high-quality equipment that will last a long time and be worth the money you spend on it. Remember, your business is a long-term investment, so set yourself up for success from the beginning.

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