As an Owner Operator in the Trucking Industry, you get the freedom that a lot of careers don’t offer. Your job literally moves with you and can be completed anywhere in the United States.
Finding which state offers the best loads, simplest driving requirements, best fuel prices, and calculating your rate among many other factors will all help you decide where you can be the most profitable.
What is Trucking?
Trucking in a nutshell is getting products from one place to the next by way of a truck. In the case we are looking at it is big trucks and trailers.
The trucking industry is not only one of the largest industries in America it is also one of the most critical to keeping shelves stocked in stores and other vital goods from companies to consumers.
What Are The Best States For Trucking?
This can be kind of a loaded question depending on what factors are making up your overall decision, as well as what type of area you prefer to live and work in the most frequently.
- Texas – Not only is Texas one of the largest states in the United States it should come as no surprise that they are one of the top states to run a trucking business. Of the 7 categories that we factored in, Texas ranked in 4 of them including having no personal income tax, simpler state regulations, the largest number of truckers that live there, and most truck driving jobs available. With so many large cities in one state, there is always something that can be moved in Texas. You will want to factor in that some of those larger cities are going to include some not-so-pleasant traffic jams, but for the most part, it would be a great state to run your trucking business. Add on top of that the overall great weather there makes it a great option for when you’re not working.
- Wyoming – With wide open spaces and also being a state with plenty of goods that need to be transported out Wyoming came in second ranking in 3 of the 7 categories we factored. They had high scores in the no personal income tax category, the best average salaries available, and the lowest cost in trucking insurance. With lower overhead and less congested roadways, if a country setting is what you’re looking for during your off-hours this might be a great option for you to try.
- Oklahoma – Oklahoma ranked in two of the categories that we factored including low cost of living and simpler state regulations. We ranked them above some of the other 2 category states because they are also known for having lower fuel prices which in today’s market can be a huge deciding factor if you’re wanting to be successful in the trucking industry.
- Washington – Ranking in the top categories for Simpler State Regulations and No Personal Income Tax Washington comes in at number four. One factor to consider on this one is being on an extreme side of the United States like this could limit available loads versus a state that is more centralized. The categories it ranked in though make it very appealing if you are just starting out in the trucking industry by making it a little bit simpler to get going.
- Mississippi – Another state that ranked in two categories was Mississippi. It came in as a top state for the low cost of living as well as best rates for trucking insurance. This along with being in an area where you could have a lot of different freight options available help it to round out our Top 5.
Some other states that ranked in multiple categories but didn’t quite make our mark for the Top 5 were Alaska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California however they also had some larger negatives such as higher fuel prices, stiffer regulations for permits, and transporting goods, and congested freeways which can end up really hurting your overall profit margins. (Well, all but Alaska on that last one).
How To Get Your Commercial Drivers License (CDL) in Your State of Choice
While each state has its own rules and regulations for commercial driver’s licenses there are some basics that are the same across the board. The typical minimum age requirements are 18 to drive intrastate and 21 to cross state lines as a commercial truck driver.
You would first need to go to the state you are living in and download the free CDL manual from the state’s licensing website. Be sure that you get the one from the state’s website as there are some sites out there that will try and charge you for this. Study the manual and pass your test and you will be on your way to obtaining your CDL.
After that, you will need to get a medical certificate to upload with your license. These are completed by DOT-registered physicians and come with specific paperwork that they complete. You can not use just a yearly physical to pass this requirement. They are also typically an out-of-pocket cost and not covered by health insurance policies.
When you have all of that in order and are headed to the DMV you will need to have your birth certificate, social security card, and proof of residency.
What Are The Requirements to Become an Owner Operator
After you have obtained your CDL and are ready to hit the road you will need to cover some other basics in your journey of becoming an Owner Operator.
The most important aspect to have covered is to have start-up cash. As in any other industry, you are going to have to spend money to make money, and at the beginning, the spending will definitely outweigh what you make until you get set up and get a steady income rolling in.
Acquiring your DOT and MC numbers for your LLC will also be included in those first steps. You will also need to get your IFTA registration, permits, insurance, and all other paperwork in order.
Conclusion: The Best States for Trucking and Owner Operators
Our Top 5 States included Texas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Washington, and Mississippi. While all of the states have different pros and cons these were the overall best options across the board.
At the end of the day, you will need to sit down and decide what all factors are most important to you and your trucking business and see what state would be the best fit.
Once you’ve figured out the basics of your business, you’ll reach a point in the industry where you’ll want to limit the amount of time spent in the office, and more time spending it on the road, avoid the deadhead of the office by enlisting a lightweight TMS like Truckbase, which is designed with you in mind. Sign up for a demo today and learn why truckers are switching to Truckbase.