Being an owner operator truck driver means you are given more freedom regarding the miles you drive, are eligible for higher pay, and get the ownership of a key asset, your truck. There are many things that are important to owner operators before they decide to lease their truck to a transport company. To help our fellow owner operators make a vital career and business decision, we have organized a list of the best owner operator companies to work for in Canada:
Here are the factors to consider when choosing the best owner operator companies to work for in Canada:
Pay-per-mile or percentage of revenue?
Pay-per-mile or percentage of revenue are the two most common type of compensation methods used by motor carriers. Pay-per mile and percentage of revenue can sometimes appear to be in one or the others favor but it is important to do the calculation before deciding.
$0.70 per mile
80% of revenue
$0.70 per mile for 1000 miles is $1000 gross pay
80% of revenue for $1100 is $880 gross pay
At first, it appears that 80% of revenue will earn you more money but the pay-per mile will net you a higher gross.
If you are being paid per mile, it is important to know how many miles you can expect from dispatch each month.
If you are being paid by percent of revenue, it is important to know the average freight rate for the type of loads and lanes you’ll be hauling for.
Pickup and Delivery
Is the trucking operation pin-to-pin meaning the process of picking up and delivering loaded trailers is only a matter of drop & hook? It is important to understand this because it will usually consume much of the driver’s on-duty hours to make one or multiple deliveries that require live loading or unloading of freight. If there is a combination of drop & hook and live load/unload, be sure you are getting compensated for the deliveries
Many companies have a truck/trailer repair shop at their terminals. This gives the owner operator the opportunity to have access to a mechanic quickly and usually at the carrier’s discounted rate. Saving several dollars per hour on service labor can help your bottom line.
Discounted Insurance Premiums
Trucking companies have multiple trucks in their fleet which gives them a discount on their insurance premiums. This is often a savings of hundreds of dollars per month depending on your insurance policy. Ask if you can join the company’s insurance program and you’ll find out the savings on different insurance policies you can get including motor truck cargo and non-owned trailer coverage.
Many owner operators are not familiar with escrow accounts. An escrow account is in an account where money deducted from the owner operator’s pay is stored for possible expenses that the company may incur in the future. For example, if an insurance freight claim is the fault of the owner operator, a carrier can protect itself with an escrow account that covers the deductible. In general, $2000 is the amount of money held in an escrow account. An escrow account may be established by requiring the owner operator to pay the amount at the time of hiring or more commonly by deducting money from each pay-cheque. It’s also important to ask the carrier if they pay interest on the money in the escrow fund.
Electronic Logging Devices
The ELD mandate effective December 18, 2017 will require all U.S.A motor carriers to utilize electronic logbooks to track their driver’s hours of service records. If the carrier you plan to lease onto operates in the U.S., there is a good chance they use electronic logging devices. Understand the implications of e-logs and know if you are comfortable with using them to track your HOS.
The company’s work culture must be a respectful one. If you feel that working at a trucking company means not being treated as a dependent contractor in a dignified manner, then consider a company that does.
Now that you know what to look for when becoming an owner operator in Canada, here is a list of the:
Best Owner Operator Companies to Work For:
Challenger Motor Freight
Challenger Motor Freight is a motor carrier that has been established since 1975. They have an owner operator program with 2300 miles per week on average for single drivers. They offer a variety of different freight delivery services to their carriers so the type of freight an owner operator may haul can vary. They prefer power units that are no older than 3 years. However, if your truck is in good working condition, it may be approved after review from their maintenance department. Satellite unit, sensor trackers, and electronic logbooks may be required. You can purchase pre-approved trucks from their partner re-seller Next Truck Sales which is apart of the fleet leasing and sales program for Challenger Motor Freight. Furthermore, Challenger has a driver referral program which gives owner operators the opportunity to earn incentives to refer new drivers to the company.
CN Rail’s subsidiary CNTL has one of the best owner operator programs. CNTL covers five ports in Canada and has mainly intermodal work for its O/O’s. They offer waiting time pay after 15 minutes for local operators and after 1 hour for highway operators. Due to the size of CN Rail’s operations, they have access to a heavily discounted fuel rate. Because the company’s operations extend to the U.S. owner operators may be subject to a pre-employment drug test. CNTL accepts aerodynamic trucks that are equipped with roof and side fairings
Quik X became a part of Transforce International in 2011. They operate across Canada and the continental United States. Their truck specification requirements are straightforward with the primary requirement being a working Jake brake and 400+HP. They are ideal for owner operators who wish to drive as a team.