Overdrive Magazine

May 2019

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May 2019 | Overdrive | 29 @truckbossshow STREAMING 24/7 News • Gear • Reviews Demos • Rig Report How-to's • Trade Shows TruckBossShow.com Kevin Rutherford, leading a seminar at the Mid-America Trucking Show on getting operating authority, focused on the challenges of that transition and tried to scare off those who weren't prepared for becoming a one-truck motor carrier. "In business, we usually trade risk for reward," said Rutherford, a former small-fleet owner who hosts a satellite radio trucking show. It follows that owner-operators assuming the risks of run- ning independently should profit the most in a strong market such as in 2018. "It's not what the numbers show, though," he said, citing year-end data from owner-operator financial services provider ATBS. "The independent owner-operators across the board made less in 2018 than owner-operators leased to carriers." ATBS 2018 averages showed that for all owner-operators, net income rose $5,178 for the year, hitting a record high of $65,360. Independents averaged $64,216. The largest segment of leased operators, dry van, earned $66,655. "I think the difference in the net income likely has to do with the wide variety of independents we work with," said Todd Amen, ATBS chief executive officer. "There are some part-timers that don't put in a full year's work. They'd skew the average low. We certainly had independents that earned over $100,000 net last year. As an average, the leased guys would probably show more simply because they all work hard all the time." The most common instances of independents missing out on upside potential, Rutherford said, happen when they aren't pre- pared to operate by their numbers, such as tracking cost per mile and other critical indicators. Properly running as a small motor carrier also means embracing new responsibilities, Rutherford said, such as cultivating regular customers and handling compli- ance matters that had been handled by fleet management. The rush to establish new small fleets is a byproduct of the healthy trucking market following the last recession. The number of registered carriers with six or fewer trucks grew by 72 percent from February 2012 to July 2018, according to Qualified Carriers, a compliance and safety consultant. That's an increase of 78,624 fleets, from 109,009 to 187,633. e risks and rewards of going independent Kevin Rutherford warns leased operators to be well-prepared before securing operating authority. Hear an edition of the Overdrive Radio podcast featuring Rutherford's MATS talk at OverdriveOnline.com/OverdriveRadio. BY MAX HEINE

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