Why Drivers are Making the Shift to Owner-Operator Trucking

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If you have paid attention over the last few years, you have very likely noticed the large increase in the number of motor carrier authorities. Much of this increase is due to the major shift to owner operator trucking and small fleets with 5 Power Units or less. 

Maybe you know someone who has recently become an independent owner-operator or started their own fleet. Maybe you’re a truck driver considering making the change yourself. Various data sources report there are over 710,000 owner-operators in the United States in 2024—double the 400,000 figure from 2020. And there's a good reason for that.

Why Owner-Operator Trucking is Growing

There are two underlying reasons for the change:

Trucking Technology Has Improved 

The main, transformative reason is that there is newer  technology in place that allows owner-operators and small fleets access to what was previously only available to the mega fleets.

Dan Lewis, the CEO/Co-Founder of Convoy, said that thanks to technology, “a robust, healthy network [of trucks] provides a higher quality of service than a dedicated fleet.” 

The information and operational gap between owner-operators and mega fleets has decreased dramatically, and before long, owner-operators will lead. Trucking technology is leveling the playing field, giving owner-operators and small fleets the same information and data advantages as mega fleets. With this shift, many truck drivers feel the benefit of independent trucking now outweighs that of driving for a major carrier.

The Next Generation of Truckers Has Different Priorities

There’s the technological shift, and then there’s the generational shift. As industry expert Ruslan Shamanov wrote on Freight Caviar

The older generation of truck drivers is retiring, and the newer, younger stream of truckers with an entrepreneurial mindset are becoming owner-operators.

Have you ever walked into a business and immediately been able to tell who the owner was?

You see them running the show proudly and efficiently getting done what needs to get done. Their motivation and their work ethic, that is the second reason. Take a mega fleet driver who is told where to go and when to go home –  how do you think their motivation compares to a non-force dispatch owner-operator? The non-force dispatch owner-operator making their own schedule will typically drive 10 hours a day, whereas a mega fleet driver may be driving 7 hours a day.

The independent owner-operator is all about getting the job done, quickly and safely, on the loads they choose, then getting back home to family on their terms. It generally offers a better work-life balance, as megafleet drivers are simply not given the freedom or the tools to directly benefit themselves based on their skill and their work ethic. 

The shift to owner-operator trucking aligns with Generation Z’s prioritization of life outside of work, with 42% of adult Gen Z workers reporting work-life balance as the top priority when searching for a job. Comparatively, money was only the top priority for 16.5% of respondents.

Having a Reliable Partner In Your Owner-Operator Trucking Journey

While the shift to owner-operator trucking is exciting, it can also be intimidating for many drivers. That's why having a reliable partner like CloudTrucks is crucial in navigating this journey. With our experience and expertise, we can help you achieve success as an owner-operator on your own terms and with guaranteed revenue.

How Does The Owner-Operator Program Work?

So how does this partnership between you, the truck driver and business professional, and CloudTrucks work? You lease on to our authority, but you also run your business and choose your loads and when you run as you see fit. CloudTrucks Virtual Carrier helps you every step of the way. Our main goal is to help you run your trucking business as efficiently and profitably as possible.

Partnering with us on Virtual Carrier means you would run your business under CloudTrucks’ authority and insurance, with access to tons of loads (including direct shipper loads), instant pay after proof of delivery, revenue guarantees to ensure you don’t fall behind because of one or two bad weeks, fuel and maintenance discounts, back office support for booking loads and getting paid for accessorials, and help with safety and compliance.

What’s the Cost of Being an Owner-Operator at  CloudTrucks?

With CloudTrucks, 18% of what you make pays for your access to the Virtual Carrier product, while you keep 82% of everything you make. So for every dollar you earn, 18 cents pays for your access to CloudTrucks’ platform and services, and a lifestyle change that gives you freedom to choose how and when you run. 

So, while none of us can control factors like the price of diesel, why not pay the lowest cost for what you can control? If you are a safe and hard-working professional who wants to become an independent owner-operator, join the owner-operator trucking shift and sign on to join Virtual Carrier.


Technological advancements and generational mindset shifts are leading more truck drivers to make the switch to becoming owner-operators. Running your own trucking business gives you freedom to live the life you want to live and take greater control of how much money you earn. While taking the plunge into entrepreneurship may be intimidating, Virtual Carrier softens the blow by ensuring help every step of the way. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about becoming an owner-operator. Happy driving!

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