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How much does an owner-operator make?

February 19, 2020

how much does owner operator make

It is impossible to simply list a revenue number regarding how much an owner-operator truck driver generates. Revenue from owner-operator to owner-operator can vary, as an example, the annual revenue of owner-operators who lease-on with Schneider can be anywhere between $100,000 and $235,000+ each year, depending on how he/she manages their business.

Although we cannot provide you with an average amount the typical owner-operator generates annually in revenue as each business is unique, we can list the influencers that have the most significant impact on how much owner-operators bring in.

What influences how much an owner-operator makes:

1. What type of freight they haul.

How much owner-operators generate is likely dependent on what type of freight they haul. As an example:

  • Van Truckload owner-operators who lease-on with Schneider haul a large variety of freight and can make more than $175,000 (solo) or $235,000 (team) in annual revenue, or about $500-$750 (solo) or $800-$1,000 (team) each day.
  • Tanker owner-operators who haul liquid bulk commodities for Schneider may bring in about $210,000 or more in annual revenue.
  • Depending on their location, some owner-operators lease-on with Schneider and run their business doing drays to and from the ports while averaging $100,000-$130,000 each year in revenue.

Before doing further research about what an owner-operator’s revenue looks like, consider thinking first about what type of freight you would want to haul so you can better narrow your results.

2. How they select their loads.

Where they select their loads from can have a huge impact on how much revenue an owner-operator can make. For example, if you choose to use a freight broker or dispatching service to find freight to haul, there will be a fee associated with it. On the other hand, load boards are often free, but they don’t always pay the best rates.

See our full list of ways to find loads as an owner-operator here.

3. How they get paid.

What lease program you choose has an influence on how much revenue you will generate as an owner-operator. There are two major ways owner-operators earn revenue:

  • Percent revenue of the load: Often, when owner-operators lease-on with a company that has its own load board, they are paid a percentage of the load. For example, Schneider VTL owner-operators receive 65 percent of line haul revenue and 100 percent of fuel surcharge and accessorials.

    The advantages and disadvantages are that, when rates change, so do owner-operator revenues: when rates go up, revenues go up and when rates decline, revenues decline. But, generally, percentage contracts pay more than mileage-based systems.
  • Mileage: Usually when owner-operators obtain their loads from a load board or lease on with some carriers, they are paid per mile. These rates vary between what load board they use, what type of freight they haul, etc.

4. What their expenses are.

Expenses typically have the greatest impact on an owner-operator’s business bottom line. Expenses can be fixed, like insurance and truck payments, and varied, like fuel, expenses on the road and truck maintenance.

See our full list how much it costs to be an owner-operator here.

5. How often they haul freight.

One of the many reasons company drivers become owner-operators is the freedom it allows. Having the ability to select your own loads provides for predictable home time and the option to have any schedule you want.

Owner-operators who work more of a part-time schedule are obviously likely to generate less revenue and less net profit than one who is out on the road each week.