Things to Consider Before Becoming an Owner Operator – Know Your Skill Set

Bud Weber - PTI Owner Operator's Truck

Having a Well-Rounded Skill Set is Key for Owner Operators

In the first part of the Things to Consider Before Becoming an Owner Operator series, we focused on the financial aspect of starting your own business. Today, we’re going to focus on the skills that you should have in order to be successful.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Are you a chameleon?
How well do you deal with being alone and in charge? Can you promote yourself and your business when you need to? Are you able to shift from one to the other in the blink of an eye? Owner Operators must be able to adapt to the present situation and see opportunity.

2. How do you feel about planning, preparation, and looking for companies to haul freight for?
To be successful, you need to have a plan in place about how you’re going to run your business. Like a brick and mortar business owner, successful owner operators develop a business plan so they have a guide to follow on what their goals are and what they need to do to accomplish those goals. If you’re not all that fond of planning and preparation, you might want to reconsider being an owner operator or seek professional help in building a plan you can stick to.

3. Do you like or dislike doing paperwork?
Much like planning and preparation, there is a lot of office work that’s required as an owner op. For example, there are bills of lading that you need to submit to companies for payment, receipts to keep in order for tax time, and bank accounts to keep track of.

4. Do you have the skills to be a mechanic?
It costs money to maintain your tractor and one way to save on money is to learn how to do things yourself. If you have some decent skills as a mechanic, you have the opportunity to keep your truck running without having to pay someone else to do it for you.

Here’s a current PTI owner operator’s advice about the skill set you should have:

PTI Owner Operator Jay Brockway

“Having common mechanical skills will be greatly beneficial as an owner operator … Being prepared with tools and simple parts and having the knowledge to use all of them can save you hundreds and maybe even thousands. Fixing small things early yourself could prevent larger expensive repairs down the road.” – Jay Brockway (shown to the left)

And, a take on the skills needed from another current PTI owner operator:

PTI Owner Operator Jeremiah Carson“I don’t think it’s as important to have mechanic skills than it is to have have an understanding of the mechanics itself. If you understand the make-up of the equipment you can explain your problem to someone more mechanically inclined than yourself and can avoid being ripped off.”
– Jeremiah Carson (shown to the right)

Just having a good understanding of your finances, knowing your skill set (and whether or not it’s developed enough) is something you should think about before becoming an owner operator. PTI’s owner operator program offers access to our maintenance facility at reduced prices, discounts on fuel, and help with trip planning and preparation. If you’re interested in our program, please call our recruiting team at 1-855-784-5627, email them at, or visit our owner operator page.

Check in next week for part three of this blog series, which will focus on doing your research before becoming an owner op.

Main photo provided by current PTI Owner Operator Bud Weber. 

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