It’s a bad time to be an owner-operator in the trucking industry, as gas prices don’t look like they’re coming down anytime soon. After a couple of years of a booming economy for OOs, it may be time for some of these drivers to settle down and drive for a big company.
It’s simple, really — gas prices continue to surge and OOs pay out of pocket for these expenses. While the larger trucking companies can take on expenses like this, it leaves OOs earning lower pay than they would like. With other expenses on their budget, profit margins are looking low for many of them.
But it’s not just OOs. In fact, some would consider OOs pretty lucky, as they’re still making really solid money. But small trucking companies are not and as gas prices continue to surge, we’re starting to see more and more of these companies shut down.
91% of companies are at risk of shutting down due to high gas prices
I just said smaller companies are at risk — so let’s define what a smaller company is. South Carolina Trucking Association CEO Rick Todd defines it as a company with “six or fewer” trucks. Perhaps even more terrifying — companies of this size account for 91% of trucking companies, according to Todd via Fox News.
If you’re a company driver, there is good news here.
The good news is that you won’t have trouble finding a job; at least not in the immediate future. There’s still a major shortage of truck drivers and even though you likely will not have the same available CPM rate, there are plenty of high-quality companies out there thriving like Whiteline Express, which continues to increase its pay for over-the-road drivers.
But for more than a handful of companies, profits are not high enough to do this. A lot of the same companies that are advertising 75-80 cents per mile for company drivers will not be able to offer those same prices. Actually — scratch that — they won’t even exist anymore.
A lot of these companies are shutting down with no warning, too. Look at Freon Trucking, a company that filed for bankruptcy after failing to pay their employees for weeks. Apparently, the company owes up to $16,000 to some employees. And Freon wasn’t even a tiny company — their company had around 25 drivers. This is the unfortunate risk you run when you drive for a smaller company in 2022.
If you’re a company driver, be careful out there. Until the economy, and specifically gas prices, stabilize, only jobs at large companies are safe.