How to Budget for Your First Year as an Owner Operator

You’re a newly registered owner operator here at Crete Carrier, now what? You are now responsible for your success on the road. A great way to ensure you are successful is to develop a structured budget.  We have compiled some recommendations to consider while developing your first year’s budget.

First steps

 Consider your biggest costs

 Truck payments: You likely just purchased your truck and will have recurring loan payments. This should be a priority in your budget. It may also be in your best interest to have additional savings set aside for early repairs and maintenance.

Fuel costs:  Without fuel you cannot do your job, so accurately budgeting for fuel costs is pertinent to your success as an owner operator. Budgeting roughly $1,200 per week or $5,000 per month is a safe bet. A benefit of being an owner operator with Crete Carrier is that fuel tax is figured by Crete Carrier Corporation and is taken out of your settlement. The tax generally runs between $30 and $40 per month.

Insurance costs: Consider your insurance costs. Crete Carrier offers group rates on your health, dental, and vision insurance. For more information in our insurance, click here.

Maintenance: Our drivers are required to get a PM service every 50,000 miles. If you choose to get this service at a Crete Carrier shop, you will receive significant discounts on your maintenance services. Our labor services are under $60 an hour, which is something to consider when you’re trying to maximize your revenue.

Consider additional costs

Taxes: We always recommend meeting with a company that specializes in truck taxes, such as ATBS. In meeting with a company like ATBS, you are able to set up bookkeeping, accounting, a profit plan, taxes, and much more.

License & Permits: Crete Carrier will cover the upfront license and permit fees and deduct $44 per week from your paycheck until your plates are paid for. After the first year, you are given a bonus payout of any mile over 90,000 that will pay your plate and permit for the next year.

Per Diem: Our owner operators benefit from per diem. As an owner operator you can write off $50.40 in business expenses per day. These expenses can range from meals to sunglasses.

Mobile Communications Device: Depending on the pay package you choose, you will need to budget roughly $40 per month for a mobile communication device.

Take home pay & budgeting

Finally, consider what portion of your paycheck you will send home to your family.  This is specific to you, and you probably already have a good idea of how to split your check between business and home.

Below are examples of what your weekly budget could look like. The first is a weekly owner operator budget for a driver who purchased and financed their truck through Crete Carrier. The second budget is a weekly budget for a driver with his or her own truck and who has no monthly truck payment.

Owner Operator Budget Example 1 – Truck Payment to Crete Carrier

Owner Operator Budget Example 2 – Truck Owned by Driver

With many variables specific to you, each budget will vary. The above suggestions can be used as a guide to help develop your custom plan and ensure your success on the road.