Today, we’ll be discussing some of the pros and cons of driving a commercial truck as an employee of a company. If you are a newly-licensed CDL driver trying to decide whether to work as an employee (or company driver) or an independent contractor, you may find this post helpful.

We want to help you make the best choice for you. In this blog, we’ll be talking about the pros and cons of driving a commercial truck as an employee or company driver. Let’s get started!

Why is driving a commercial truck as a company employee better than driving as an independent contractor?

Job Security

When you drive as an independent contractor, you have a lot more flexibility, but you also have less of a guarantee of continued work. That’s why job security is one of the major reasons that drivers choose to become company employees.

As an employee, you will have the certainty that the company you are driving for will give you work first. If your first concern is making sure that you always have work, driving as a company employee may be the best fit for you.

No Maintenance Cost

As an employee, you won’t have to worry about the maintenance costs associated with driving a commercial vehicle. Since you will be driving a company-owned truck, the company you are working for will be responsible for all vehicle maintenance.

You can avoid other expenses related to the vehicle if you are working in a company. Most of the necessary insurances will be paid by the company, as well as certain licenses and other fees, and even fuel costs. You’ll have less stress on the job knowing that those expenses are taken care of.

No Startup Cost

Driving as an owner-operator has a lot of advantages, but it can be difficult to get started because of the cost barriers. Purchasing your own commercial vehicle is a huge expense and often requires a lease, which may not be an option for everyone.

There are also certain licenses that you will need to obtain before starting. In some states, you can take your CDL tests without any prior training or education; however, in some states (including South Carolina), it is required that you take a CDL driver’s training course before taking your CDL licensing test.

Consider all of these costs before deciding whether to become an employee driver or an owner-operator. You may find that the costs outweigh the benefits, but for some drivers, the expenses are prohibitive and a deciding factor.

Steady Paychecks

At the end of the day, we’re all working to make money. Although owner-operators can often get paid at a higher rate, employees have a steadier rate of pay. Sometimes knowing exactly what each paycheck will look like is preferable. If it is important to you that you have the security of a consistent paycheck, working as a company employee may be the best choice for you!

Insurance and Retirement Benefits

When you think of employment benefits, what comes to mind first? You probably think of health insurance, right? Health insurance is certainly one of the most important benefits, and paying your entire policy out of pocket can be expensive.

A good insurance plan can be a deciding factor for you when choosing an employer for you. So it only makes sense that some drivers will choose to work as a company employee in order to take advantage of the health insurance benefits offered by the company. However, health insurance is not the only employment benefit to consider.

A few other common employee benefits include life insurance, dental insurance, retirement contributions, and paid medical leave. You should also consider benefits like paid time off, vacation days, and paid holidays. You may want to ask about employment benefits at a few of the companies you are considering before you choose whether to drive as an employee or an owner-operator. 

Schedule Stability

If you want a flexible schedule or more control over your schedule, you may prefer to drive as an owner-operator. However, if you prefer to work in a consistent environment with a stable work schedule, driving as a company employee may be the best fit for you.

In this case, you may not have the opportunity to choose which days you work or not, but you’ll know that the hours will be steady, and for many drivers that is preferred.

What are the cons of driving a commercial vehicle as a company employee?

Less Flexibility

The flipside of the stability you’ll get from driving as a company employee is that your job will be much less flexible. You’ll have to follow a set schedule and will have less opportunity to request the schedule you want. If you have a complicated family life or just value certain schedule preferences, you may want to consider whether working as a company driver is actually the right fit for you.

Less Control over Equipment

Driving as a company employee means you won’t have to worry about purchasing your own equipment. However, the downside of this option is that you won’t have a say in the equipment that the company gives you. You may have to drive a truck that doesn’t have the amenities that you prefer. You may even have to drive a stick-shift truck rather than an automatic.

Work as per Company Guidelines

Independent contractors are able to make a lot of their own rules (within reasonable limits), but company-employed drivers have to follow every rule set by their employers. For instance, you may have more uniform guidelines or other rules about how you execute your tasks. Be sure to consider whether you are okay with the guidelines before you decide to become an employee of a company.

Less Earning Potential

If your biggest concern is earning the largest paycheck possible, working as a company employee may not be your best option. However, it is important to consider that the lower pay that you will receive as an employee will balance out by the employment benefits that your employer will offer you. In terms of earning potential, the best choice depends on your personal life and financial circumstances. You may want to consider speaking with a financial advisor before making a decision.

Less Negotiating Power

Is it important to you that you have the ability to negotiate pay, schedule, and other aspects of your job? If so, you may find that driving as an owner-operator is a better fit for you than driving as a company employee. On the other hand, if you prefer not to worry about negotiating the best outcome, you may prefer to drive as an employee so that you don’t have to think about negotiating!

Work-Related Tax Deductions

The ability to claim work expenses is one of the greatest benefits of working as an independent contractor. Sometimes, as an employee, there are expenses that you still get stuck with but can’t write off on your taxes. You should always ask a potential employer about the expenses you’ll be expected to incur before you begin employment. However, these small expenses may be worth it for you in order to avoid the tax complications that come with working as an independent contractor.

So, is driving as a company employee the right choice for you?

Choosing whether to become an owner-operator or drive as a company employee is a major decision. Take your time and examine the pros and cons of both options before you decide. Maybe you’ll decide to try out both before you settle into a permanent career path. If you’re ready to make your decision, we’re hiring! We hope you’ll consider driving for BW Mitchum as either an owner-operator or an employee. You can learn more about our employment opportunities here.

In our last post, we continued a discussion about exercising on the road. Finding time to exercise may seem difficult when on the road, but your health should never take a back seat! We discussed some of the risks that come with sitting for prolonged periods of time, as well as the benefits of exercise and some easy exercises that can be done on the road.

We hope you found this article informative, and we hope to see you back on the blog soon for more tips and insight on topics involving truck drivers. If you are currently seeking new opportunities in the commercial trucking industry, we are always interested in adding new talent to our team! Thank you for reading!