Why New Owner Operators Fail in the Trucking Business

Owner Operator Tutorials

Why New Owner Operators Fail

Why New Owner Operators FailOne of the very FIRST REASONS why people fail as “newbie” Lease Purchase or Owner Operator truck drivers fail at Malone or any other carrier is in the very words “truck drivers.”

When you consider becoming an Owner Operator and purchasing a semi-tractor with any trucking company there needs to be a changing of the minds; minds?? Yes, minds.

You need to put on the mind of a business owner, give some thought and study to what it means to actually own and run a successful business as an Owner Operator in the trucking business, that is IF you plan to be successful.

However, most folk that fail with a legitimate fail to plan, let alone ever get around to thinking like a business owner.  And, this is true of many different kinds of businesses.

I better add this quickly before we go much further, There is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking like a truck driver, IF you are a company driver and everything is provided for you.

You MUST think, work, and act like a good truck driver (in most cases!) to make it, right? But, we’re talking about changing the Game!

Owner Operator Failure up ahead!

This Tutorial was not written to discourage you, but to alert you to the reality of owning and running any business.

There are more Truck owners who actually do make a good living as Owner Operators than those who fail.  You just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls in order to avoid them.

Please read this first, and then we’ll list many tools and motivations to help you succeed; will it work for you?? Like they say in A.A., it will work IF you work it!

The Small Business Administration has historically dealt almost exclusively with what are called “brick and mortar” type businesses.  In fact most of their staff is composed of former executives who have retired from all types of business, ranging from  mom and pop operations to the  top Fortune 500 Companies in America today.

Here is their list of  the most common reasons for business failure:

What are the major reasons for small business failure?

In his book Small Business Management (published by West Publishing Co.), Michael Ames gives us the following reasons for small business failure:

Lack of experience
Insufficient capital (money)
Poor location
Poor inventory management
Over-investment in fixed assets (Too much out of pocket money spent on start up)
Poor credit arrangement and/or management
Personal use of business funds (Don’t spend everything you make on new toys, boys!  Save some for business expenses)
Unexpected growth

Gustav Berle in The Do It Yourself Business Book (published by Wiley Co.) adds two more reasons to Michael Ames’ list:

Low Sales 

I’ve looked at this list of reasons for business failure several times over the years and it doesn’t change much.  Lack of experience and not enough money to keep it going until it starts producing with paying customers have been Number 1 and Number 2 reasons for failure on this countdown list since I can remember.  Here is one more though (is this you?):

Believing you can do everything yourself. You’re strongly motivated. You’re full of energy. You think you can take on all aspects of growing a business and by sheer force of will make it work.

The sad truth is, you’re wrong. Seek out the advice of mentors or others with experience and know-how. Invite suggestions and ideas. Understand that as resourceful as you are, there will always be parts of the business you shouldn’t handle yourself. See Post:  Should I get my own DOT Authority:  Click Here

And, they match most all the Owner Operator failures that I’ve personally seen in past 25 years that I have been an Owner Operator Recruiter, including the time I’ve worked with CRST Malone Flatbed, since 1999.

Quick Example:  An Owner Operator that I recruited finished orientation and accepted a load to Jackson, MS.  He called me just outside Jackson with a blown head gasket and said he was going to limp on in to Jackson and get another truck to power his load while he was being repaired.

By the next time he called, he had a Diesel Mechanic come over and look at his tractor, the damage was just shy of $8,000.  He had hurt a lot of other parts and pieces by continuing to drive the overheated damaged truck on in to Jackson.

Care to guess how much money he had in his own personal maintenance account??  You guessed it, not a thin dime.  Boom!  He was out of business until Malone was able to put him into a fully warrantied Lease Purchase tractor.  He ended up selling his old truck as scrap.

But, I sincerely believe that Reason # 2 for failure as new business owner, say new truck owner operator is due to personal reasons and , may be the number 1 Reason for all new business failures, but especially in trucking business.

Some common Personal Reasons for failure to make it in the trucking industry as a successful Owner Operator are:  (And those we hear all too often after starting)

“I’ve got a wife/husband and kids at home, or sick relative and need to be home more often to be with them, take care of them”, etc.

IF THIS IS YOU, Here is the simple fix for this issue:  DO NOT, I REPEAT DO NOT GET INTO THIS BUSINESS IN THE FIRST PLACE AS a  Regional or over-the-road truck DRIVER!!!

Don’t put yourself and everyone else who is working to help you through it all in this situation in the first place.  STOP and think.  A TRUCKING JOB MAY NOT BE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU, at least not right now.


Please do take the time to read the other valuable Tutorials on our sites to help you succeed as a Professional Owner Operator:  Click Here

You’ll be glad that you did; and smarter too!  (Maybe:-))  Buck.