Managing Home Time in an Owner Operator Trucking Job

A large portion of your success when taking on an owner operator job relies on your time management skills.  Incredibly enough, not only rookie drivers but also some seasoned owner operators struggle in this area.  Status Transportation reviews different ways of helping out owner operators because we want to you to succeed. A valuable piece of advice we can give you is to manage both your driving and home time wisely.

Managing your time includes planning how many consecutive weeks you need to drive and setting up a strategy to cover your expenses while you are home.  We strongly suggest driving at least 3 consecutive weeks and not taking more than 1 week of home time in order to maximize your owner operator pay.

A motivation to go out on the road

It doesn’t matter how many years of driving experience you have managing your home time is vital.  As a company driver, you used to go home and take a 34-hour break or two days off and you also had vacation time paid by the company, but when you become an owner operator all that is gone.  Now you go home and your lease trucking company is not pushing you back out the door like they did when you were driving a company truck.  This is mainly because the trucking company was paying for the truck, but now the truck payments come out of your own pocket.  To get to the point where you have one of the highest paying owner operator jobs you have to go out on the road, consider the following example.

A common scenario for an owner operator truck driver who doesn’t know the benefits of good time management is to go home and think  “I really don’t want to go to work tomorrow”, then he calls his truck dispatcher and says give me another day, then three days turn into four or five days and finally he to go back out on the road.  If payroll cuts off in the middle of the week you are only going to make enough money that week just to pay for your truck, but no paycheck.  In reality, no one has to be pushing you out the door, your motivation should be your desire to succeed and of course making sure you can cover your expenses so plan home time accordingly

How your home time affects your gross revenue

The amount of time you take off has a direct correlation on your monthly gross revenue.  The average month has 30.4 days (365/12), an average of 4.3 weeks (52/12) and because each year has 52 weeks then we can say there are approximately 104 weekend days each year.  

Assuming an owner operator goes out for 3 weeks in a row and heads back home for a week that means he would work 36.4 weeks in a year.  In those 36 weeks, you have to make enough money to pay for your truck, cover fixed costs and make a profit.  How are you suppose to make a profit if you go home every two weeks?

For example, as an owner operators at Status Transportation you can make a weekly average gross revenue of $5,000,  If an owner operator goes out on the road for 2 weeks and then comes home for a week this means he is only averaging around $10,150 gross revenue per month. On the other hand, if that same guy stays out 3 weeks in a row and goes back home for only a week every month he will make an average gross revenue of $15,150.  As you can see the difference between staying out on the road for 2 weeks instead of 3 consecutive weeks is very significant.

Covering fixed costs during home time

Covering your fixed expenses during home time requires some finance planning while you are out on the road. Fixed costs can vary, but for most drivers on a lease trucking job, fixed costs include the truck payment, insurance, tag, permits, fees, etc.  When you tally up all that it comes out to a set weekly amount.  

You have to be mindful of what that exact amount is because you will need to cover your expenses even during the week you are sitting at home.  Once you have a clear idea of what your fixed costs are, the next step is to plan a savings strategy factoring in the number of consecutive weeks you are out on the road. The formula is very simple, you take your fixed costs and divide them by the number of weeks you are out.

Fixed costs / Weeks out = How much money you have to save per week

Let’s say your fixed costs add up to $1,000/wk, if you are out 3 weeks in a row and go back home for a week then you need to divide $1,000 / 3 =  $333.33 and that is how much you have to save from each payment settlement so you can go home and have money to cover your fixed costs.  Part of enjoying your time off is also making sure you are covered for your expenses.  Of course the more weeks you drive, the less money you need to set aside per week from your net profits.

As you know when it comes to a lease truck driving job if the wheels aren’t turning you’re not earning, but the bills keep piling up.  The last thing you want to do is go home without any money and on top of that wait until you run the following week so you can get a paycheck.  It’s in your best interest to plan both driving and home time.  Take a couple of hours this week to gather all the information you need to set up a strategy and stick to it, very soon you will have one of the highest paying owner operator jobs.

For this and other resources on how to succeed as an owner operator truck driver please visit the Status Transportation blog at statustrucks.com

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