Are you interested in being an owner-driver but not sure how to make it work? Peter James has been an Ontime Delivery Solutions owner-driver for 25 years, loves his job, and has some valuable tips for anyone who may think owner-driving is for them.
Peter took on a job as an owner-driver in 1993 following a redundancy after 19 years as a bank manager with the then State Bank. “I was looking for something different. I did some odd jobs for a while before seeing the opportunity to become an owner-driver.”
While Peter was confident he had the temperament to be a delivery driver, he did not yet own a delivery vehicle. Once the job was secured through Ontime, Peter arranged to purchase a van through Chadstone Toyota. “Because I had previously taken a redundancy I was able to arrange good finance terms.
“My accounting experience tells me that it’s best to have some money behind you before taking the leap into owner driving – ideally you would cover half the cost of the vehicle. Otherwise, you are working hard just to pay off the vehicle, and you never know when you may need to undergo repairs.”
Working conditions have been key to Peter sticking with Chadstone Toyota since 1993. “It’s been incredibly stable. I love it because I work for a great company, and find the people at Ontime are also fantastic. I do 38 hours a week, which suits me fine.
“I wanted a job which was permanent and allowed me to pick up the kids every day. Family friendly hours were the main thing, and Ontime told me this was possible as an owner-driver.
“I could do more if I wanted but work-life balance is important to me and I get it here – I don’t need to do difficult hours or shift work, I have a regular start and finish time each day.”
Peter says lifestyle is the number one benefit of being an owner-driver. “I could earn more as an accountant, working longer hours stuck behind a desk but I don’t want to sit behind a desk anymore. Having those regular, family friendly hours has been fantastic, and still important now as I care for my elderly mother.
“Being with Ontime also allows me the ability to take a month off, which is not always easy with delivery driver work. I can go off to Bali and surf for a month and Ontime will cover me, putting in a replacement driver.”
Does Peter recommend being an owner driver? “Yes. But it’s important to plan ahead. You need to be careful not to be starting with nothing, to avoid owing 100% of the vehicle’s value. It’s ideal for people who already have a little bit behind them and want to do something reliable.”
Are there any downsides? Not if you have a positive attitude, according to Peter. “Your ability to do well in this industry and enjoy the work comes down to your own work ethic and attitude.”