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Owner-operators find solace in contractor roles as market turns

CRST offers owner-operators alternative to giving up businesses

Image: Jim Allen (FreightWaves)

Owner-operators are often characterized by their rugged independence. These skilled and experienced professionals provide their own equipment, set their own rates, and make their own rules. Owner-operators who are wary of the changing market can align with larger carriers as contractors, allowing them to keep their trucks and still preserve control of their businesses.

“Owner-operators and fleet owners should be encouraged not to give up on their business” Marcus Schneider, CRST’s director of enterprise capacity development, said. “While some owner-operators might feel they cannot remain profitable in the current market, they should know carriers like CRST are here to help keep their entrepreneurial spirit alive.” 

Aligning with a carrier’s independent contractor fleet provides added resources that assist with the stability of their long-term success — in both good and bad market conditions. Owner-operators are currently facing increased fuel prices, surging equipment costs, and skyrocketing insurance rates. These factors — coupled with declining linehaul rates — make aligning with larger carriers prudent for many business owners.

When owner-operators align with companies like CRST, they have options to benefit from all the cost savings afforded to large companies. This means lower fuel prices, more accessible maintenance options, and a plethora of industry intelligence they can use to run their businesses. This kind of realignment can help contractors keep their trucks on the road.

“CRST can often provide options to help reduce their overhead expense, increase their revenue and ensure these contractors are set up for success,” Schneider said. “CRST offers a robust customer base that provides contract freight volumes and rates. CRST also provides contractors access to our maintenance program, allowing access to our extensive vendor network and our negotiated rates on parts.”

“Leaders of successful businesses are forced to adjust as market conditions change, which helps provide stability for long-term growth and success,” Schneider said. “Owner-operators are facing some challenging times, and many are finding that aligning with a carrier is best for their business.” 

Change is par for the course when it comes to running a thriving business although, according to Schneider, some contractors initially balk at the idea of suspending their own DOT operating authority. Once they understand that it can readily be reinstated, they realize the benefits of running under a larger carrier outweigh these regulatory requirements. Ultimately, while contractors are working under the CRST banner, they are considered experts on their own businesses and trusted to make their own decisions.

“At CRST, contractors still have the autonomy to choose their schedule and the freight they run,” Schneider said. “In fact, CRST offers options for contractors to utilize a load board, giving them visibility to all our freight and the ability to handpick which loads they run based on their preference of rates, length of haul, and destinations.” 

“CRST provides a vast array of driving positions, as a contractor or a company driver,” Schneider said. “A strong customer base, across many kinds of freight types and delivery services, provides a diversified portfolio that keeps your truck profitable and allows for career path options if you ever desire a change.”

Ashley Coker

Ashley is interested in everything that moves, especially trucks and planes. She covers air cargo, trucking and sponsored content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.