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Intermodal 101: Comparing Owner Operators & Company Truck Drivers

Published on:
May 8, 2019
Truck Driver in Cab

The future is full of opportunity, it just takes a bit of initiative to reach out, find your place and grab hold.

When it comes to over the road trucking jobs, one of the biggest questions swirling through the minds of truckers is whether they should be an owner operator or a company truck driver.

Naturally, the skill set needed for each career is the same, but the circumstances vary greatly. When it comes down to it, making a decision depends on your goals as a trucker.

Once you fully understand the responsibilities and profile of each, it’s up to you to make the next step towards success in an industry that offers much for those who want it.

But first, we’ll give you a clear overview of what each position is all about.

Owner operator vs company driver

An owner operator is a truck driver that owns their own rig be it a tractor or tractor trailer. They can work independently or lease their truck to a trucking company.

A company driver is provided a truck to drive by the company they work for as an employee.

Owner Operator pros & cons

There are many benefits to being an owner operator, but it isn’t the career choice for everyone


  • The main benefit is the freedom to choose.
  • You get to make your own schedule, giving you power to take off when an emergency arises or you have a special event on the horizon.
  • Your truck is all YOURS. That means you can customize as you see fit. So, if you want to slap that giant tiger sticker on the side of the engine, let your creativity flag fly.
  • Owner operators tend to make more money than company drivers because they handle risk/insurance on their own.


  • The freedom makes planning flexible for you, but you need to actively seek out loads to keep your schedule filled with enough work to pay the bills. The unpredictability can be stressful.
  • Start up costs are expensive and upkeep of your truck eat into whatever money you make each month.
  • You might not have as many options when it comes to insurance benefits.
  • Handling truck maintenance and paperwork all on your own can be time consuming, expensive and stressful.

Company driver pros & cons

You get less freedom as a company driver, but more job stability.


  • You can separate work from home life because you don’t have to file your own paperwork or maintain your truck.
  • There are no start up costs involved and your paycheck won’t have to go towards truck repairs.
  • With the driver shortage in effect there are a lot of golden opportunities for work with companies that offer competitive benefits.
  • You can always count on a full schedule of work and a paycheck, meaning less financial worries.


  • You make less money than an owner operator because the company handles all risk factors.
  • You won’t know what truck you’ll be driving, hence comfort on the road might be compromised. Some companies will offer a few choices to drivers though.
  • Your schedule will be full and you won’t be able to take time off as you please.

If you have questions about truck driver jobs in Indiana, contact Keystone Lines for more information on available driver positions.

Courtney L.

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