Owner Operator

by on Fri, Nov 12th Categories: articles (510 Views) 0 comments

The guide to becoming a box truck owner operator

A box truck is a chassis cab vehicle with enclosed cuboid-shaped cargo space, also known as a box van, cube van, bob truck, or cube truck. If you own one of these, and you want to transition earning an income from transporting cargo and making deliveries, you will need to navigate through a lot of legal stuff. It's not just that you can also lease out your trucks and everything that comes with them to gain a menial income. Or even own multiple, but that would be a different ball game.


Right now, we're going to focus on how to become a box truck owner-operator. But, first, let's understand a bit about them:


What do they do?

A truck driver who owns or leases a box truck moves cargo and makes deliveries is known as a box truck owner-operator. While box trucks are not semi-trailer trucks, they can be used to hook additional freight. They are typically 4 to 7 meters long and have a cargo bay. Owner-operators of box trucks hire companies to use their equipment and human resources for short or long-distance shipments.

What are the benefits of this kind of trucking job?

Trucking as an owner-operator gives you greater freedom and independence. Being your boss entails having complete control over your work schedule and hours. Because you own and operate your own company, you have full control over all costs, from vehicle type and unique features to fueling selections. Plus, at the end of the day, you keep 100% of the profit.

How do you become one?[1]

You must first own and operate a well-maintained box truck to become a box truck owner-operator. You must have a current driver's license. In addition, most businesses will demand that their drivers pass a background check and a vehicle inspection. Your box truck should also have a hitch and a lift gate installed.

What kind of license do you need?

For operating a conventional box truck, a standard Class C driver's license is usually required. If you're worried that your box truck might fall into the Class B category, you should have it weighed and contact your local DMV for more information about the Class B license. The majority of box truck drivers do not require a Class B vehicle.


How to get a DOT ID? Why does it matter?

Like many other terminologies in the trucking industry, Motor carrier operating authority is interchangeable with trucking authority, MC authority, DOT authority, MC Number, and USDOT Number. Most of the time, both terms are used simultaneously.

The FMCSA assigns you a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number. It identifies you as a carrier that transports goods across state lines. The FMCSA website is where you can apply for your USDOT number.[2]


Note: You'll need to form a firm before applying for an USDOT Number. The FMCSA will ask you questions about your business operations.


Your trucking company's MC and USDOT numbers serve as unique identifiers that allow the FMCSA to conduct inspections, track your safety scores, conduct compliance checks, and more.


To get an operating authority, you must get through the following steps:

  1. Forming your own company: Before starting the paperwork, you need a company and other business basics.
  2. Application for authority with FMCSA: Each sort of authority has a $300 filing fee. It's a lengthy procedure, so be sure you have all of the necessary information before beginning. Remember to check if you require the intrastate authority in your state as well!
  3. Insurance: Obtaining trucking insurance is a significant barrier for new trucking companies to overcome, so do your research. Without proof of insurance, your authority will not be deemed "active authority." Insurance premiums might be highly costly. To discover the best insurance rates, fill out the applications entirely and speak with the insurance firms about your organization and plans.
  4. UCR: The Unified Carrier Registration system (UCR) is a funding mechanism that allows states to enforce motor carrier safety requirements. The UCR imposes fees according to the size of the fleet and must be renewed every year.
  5. IRP: The International Registration Plan (IRP) is a registration reciprocity agreement between the US, Washington, D.C., and Canadian provinces that allows interstate carriers to pay fees depending on their annual miles in participating jurisdictions.
  6. IFTA: Interstate motor carriers must file IFTA (International Fuel Tax Agreement) taxes on fuel purchases every quarter through the taxing authority of the carrier's base state.
  7. HEAVY VEHICLE USE TAX: You must file a Heavy Vehicle Use Tax return, or form 2290, with the IRS each year if you possess a vehicle with a gross weight of 55,000 pounds or more. In addition, four states impose additional weight distance charges on hauling inside their borders. You'll also need to complete registrations in Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon if you plan to transport routinely through those states.


Making money with your Box Truck?[3]

Box trucks are typically 10–26 ft (3.0–7.9 m) long and classified as Class 3–7.9 m. (12,500 lb. to 33,000 lb. gross vehicle weight rating). They frequently have a roll-up back door that looks like a garage door.


You can choose from a variety of box truck sizes, including:

  •     18-ft box truck
  •     22-ft box truck
  •     24-ft box truck
  •     26-ft box truck


Going for a box truck size from 24 feet to 26 feet would be the right choice to maximize your profits and make a better margin. With these trucks, you get more storage space for your cargo, maximizing the load you can carry in one trip. To figure out which shipments are profitable and aren't, you'll need to compute your RPM (rate per mile). Also, be aware of your truck's size and capacity limits so you don't take on loads you can't handle.

Being a new authority, how to deal with freight brokers?

Finding loads is one of the most challenging tasks for every new trucking company with a new motor carrier authorization. Most startup trucking companies must rely on brokers to find loads or backhauls. The issue is that many brokers refuse to cooperate with any trucking firm until it has been in operation for 30, 60, or 90 days. Some brokers would make you wait up to a year or even six months.


There are other options for overcoming this obstacle. Here are a few of the pointers when it comes to working with brokers while you're just getting started:


  • Don't try to hide your inexperience. They'll figure it out, and you'll be wasting both your and their time.
  • Before you start hauling cargo, be sure you have everything you need.
  • Before you haul cargo for someone, ask if you may use them as a reference if you perform a good job.
  • Don't be scared to ask a lot of questions to ensure that you get everything right. Because they prefer to work with professionals, you must be a professional. Ensure that all of your paperwork is in order, easy to read, and is filed as soon as possible.
  • When it comes to pickup and delivery, be punctual. (I recommend getting there at least 30 minutes early.) If they require it, use their monitoring app.
  •  Return calls promptly if brokers ask you to.






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