Freelance Versus Contracted – Which Is Best For a Haulier?

In the current industrial panorama of Western society, it would appear that becoming a haulier is a valid career path. Transportation – and haulage in particular – is one of the fastest-growing fields in the ‘civilised’ world, and demand for professionals in its numerous sub-categories is never at a low. When added to the relatively inexpensive costs of a career in the field – as compared to the potential earnings it can yield – these factors could contribute to make a career in haulage a very appealing prospect indeed.

However, even after a decision has been reached, a future haulage driver is still faced with one pressing doubt: is it better to sign a contract and become one of the drivers in an already established company, or to go into business on one’s own, as a freelancer or self-employed contractor? The answer, of course, is that both have their advantages and setbacks, briefly detailed in the piece below.


As the Western world progressively offers more and more conditions for the average citizen to strike out as an independent businessman, so too do many certified drivers choose to go the freelance route as opposed to signing up to an existing fleet. This, of course, offers a number of advantages, including the fact that – by virtue of being one’s own boss – schedules become considerably more flexible. It is effectively possible for a freelance haulier to work only when he or she wishes or is able to, making this an excellent option for people with other commitments, such as children or studies.

The downside is, of course, that unlike its corporate equivalent, a freelance driver job offers no guarantees where salary, taxes and benefits are concerned. Whereas a regular contract with an established company will guarantee a paycheque for a certain amount at the end of the month – regardless of hours worked or loads hauled – a freelancer must rely on the number of contracts he or she can acquire in order to survive each month. This means a job as a freelancer will offer considerably less financial security than a position as a contracted driver for a corporate company. The situation becomes even trickier for drivers who own their own company and have others in their employ; in this case, not only must the owner pay all their employees, there will also be overhead costs that need covering. Anyone who values a steady and reliable paycheque may not be suited to this option.


For a contracted haulier, the situation is the exact opposite: a certain amount will be pretty much guaranteed at the end of each month, but it will be obtained at the expense of flexible hours and the general sense of ‘freedom’ being self-employed entails. A driver under contract to a large or pre-established company will need to obey company policies and procedures, as well as abide to the weekly hours they are given. Therefore, while this type of work may suit those less prone to taking risks, it will be much less accommodating to out of work activities or commitments.

In the end, the choice of whether to freelance or go with the more conservative option of contracting is down to the individual’s personal goals and approach to their professional life. Both types of haulier definitely have their space in the current industry, and neither should be considered inferior to the other.

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