Family Center - Tell it to Tillie

Q I have been driving for four years. I want to become an owner-operator. Where do I start?


The first place to start is to talk to other owner-operators. Do NOT just go out and buy a truck and hope for the best. There are a lot of things to consider before buying a truck. The main thing to consider is whether to buy a new or used truck. I advise people to avoid lease-purchase options. For the most part, these plans are not in the owner-operator's advantage. You will also need a business plan. You will need to research companies that will work with owner-operators. You can also look into finding brokers who will help you find loads. Be careful doing this as not all brokers are honest. Do your homework on them.

A good place to start would be the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). Another good source of information is The Successful Truck Owner Operator Catalog-2007 Edition, which you can download here on Good Luck!


Q I would like to start a career as a truck driver and I would like the name(s) of companies that offer training and will help me get started. I would need 1-800 telephone numbers so I can get a hold of them. Can you help?


I could spend hours looking up companies for you, but I won't. You will need to do some leg work on your own. Here on the JobNet is an online application that will go out to a large number of companies. You can also use Google to find trucking companies and their websites. Most companies have 1-800 numbers. Another option is to go to the local truckstop and pick up one of the free trucking magazines and start calling from the ads.

If you do not have a CDL and current employment as a driver, you will need to attend a trucking school. Some companies offer their own training. But I will tell you to start with the companies and get pre-hired so you know you are not wasting your time and money getting a CDL. Also, find out from the companies what schools they work with and hire from.


Q I have a CDL permit, for one year with my state. I'm going to a trucking school. Do I still need to get a CDL permit from them (the trucking school)?


No, you have one. The most you may need to do is transfer your current CDL permit to the state where the school is located. You may then have to transfer your CDL license to your home state.

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Due to the amount of questions we receive, we are unable to answer all of them individually. We will answer as many as possible in this column.

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