Record owner-operator income could be longer-term trucking trend


Friday, March 25, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, Overdrive rebooted its decades-running Partners in Business series, coproduced with owner-operator business services firm ATBS, with this first in-person session since 2019.

While post-COVID tightness in transportation markets continued to yield historically high spot market rates in 2021 on up to the present, and owner-operators on average netted more income than they ever have last year, skyrocketing costs pose a threat that ATBS Vice President Mike Hosted and Overdrive Extra contributor and owner-operator business coach Gary Buchs warned could present significant challenges unless headed off smartly.

[Related: Owner-operators report rates slipping against the rise in fuel]

In the video of the entire presentation above, find plenty to make you think about how to tackle these issues, with no small amount of data underlying Hosted’s argument that, at least when it comes to truck owner-operators and those who aspire to the business, “the American dream’s alive,” he said. “There’s money to be made in trucking right now, and there will be for the foreseeable future.”

Given constraints on large fleets’ ability to flood the market with new equipment (what often happens when freight is as good as it’s been) and so much more, Buchs added, “I think the outlook is much better than a lot of people might think.”

Continued record levels of success will be predicated on owner-operators’ ability to keep a close handle on efficiency to maximize income, both Buchs and Hosted suggested, emphasizing many paths toward that end for individual businesses. 

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