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Owner Operator Expenses You Should Be Aware Of as a Trucker

Being an owner operator is ultimate freedom as a trucker, but it comes with a cost.

Trucks and trailers

Purchasing a truck can cost anywhere from $110,000 to $125,000 ¬- with a trailer included. Real Truckers offers trailers for owner operators, so you have one less thing that you have to worry about when you are getting started.

While you may spend most of your money on fuel, your truck will probably be your second largest expense. These expenses include the payment you make on your truck, as well as your regular maintenance and the amount that you spend on tires.

In order to get a clear picture of how much money you will likely spend on maintenance, it is best to set up a maintenance account for those costs.


Insurance for an owner operator is going to be more costly than it would be for company truck drivers.

Owner operators who are contracted to a specific company could spend a couple thousand dollars on insurance. Owner operators who freelance could spend $10,000 or more.

With insurance, truckers must remember that a lower monthly payment, could mean a higher deductible. This is fine if you are healthy and have no accidents, but if something unexpected comes along, you could be left spending thousands on hospital costs.

There are several different types of insurance that are required for truck drivers:

  • Occupational Accident

  • Physical Damage

  • Personal Health Insurance


Fuel for your truck is going to be the largest expense that you deal with as an owner operator. On average, the amount of money an owner/spends on fuel each year ranges from $50,000 to $70,000.

A simple calculation to keep track of what your fuel costs will help you stay on top of your fuel expenses. Divide the average miles per gallon (mpg) of your truck by the cost of fuel per gallon.

Once you have that number, you can multiply by the number of miles that you expect to drive in a year. This will give you your estimated cost per mile for fuel.

Although this calculation is a good way to estimate your fuel costs, how much you spend on fuel can vary by trip and load. There are many factors that will affect the cost, so it is best to speak with the Real Truckers community about your individual circumstances.

Professional Services

Owner operators must take care of their own finances since they are in charge of their own business. Truckers can hire accountants, bookkeepers, or our friends at Drive Logistics to take care of these things so that they can focus on their job. These services do not come free, so truck drivers that choose to employ these services must keep these regular costs in mind.

Use Discount Fuel Cards

At Real Truckers, we offer fuel cards with significant discounts so that you can save on the expense that hits you the hardest. We know that you spend the bulk of your money on fuel, but we want to make sure that we help you keep it as low as possible.

Our partners at Drive Logistics, we have discount fuel cards for truckers to save on fuel costs. Please contact us if you have any questions about figuring out your yearly fuel costs or to get your fuel card.

Shop Around for your Truck Tires

There is no way to get around the cost of tires, but there are ways to keep costs low. You could spend anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 depending on where you shop and what tires you end up buying. While going for the cheapest tires may seem like your best bet, remember that quality matters too.

Food & Drinks

Often, truck drivers who are out on the road will rely on quick and easy meals to keep themselves going and these costs can add up over time. There is a small upside, however. Owner operators can apply a tax deduction on their yearly taxes known as “per diem.” This deduction accounts for 80 percent of $66 per day truckers are out on the road. This means that drivers can deduct $52.80 every day that they were out on the road on their taxes each year.

Let your voice be heard on the 'The Truckstop' Facebook group, the largest online community for RealTruckers.

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