Owner-operators brought in record pay in 2018

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Owner-operators in 2018 on average earned $65,360 in take-home pay for the year — a record-high income for a segment that saw a big boost from strong economic growth and robust per-mile rates.

That average comes from ATBS and is based on more than 15,000 leased and independent owner-operators. ATBS is the nation’s largest owner-operator business services firm. 2018’s income average was 8.6 percent, or $5,178, higher than 2017’s average of $60,182.

However, miles dropped 5.8 percent to 103,800 — the lowest average miles on record for owner-operators, says Todd Amen, president of ATBS. It’s “a result of independent contractors making record money and higher pay per load,” he said.

Of the segments broken out by ATBS, leased flatbedders fared the best in net income, averaging $77,720. Leased dry van haulers netted $66,655, and leased reefer haulers, $53,798. Independents averaged $64,219.

Amen predicts a flat year for owner-operators in 2019.