Owner/Operators are a crucial part of many businesses, but they can also be challenging to manage alongside company trucks and drivers. Integrating Owner/Ops smoothly into your day-to-day operations can reduce headaches and minimize confusion when it comes to payments and reporting.
Create a Vendor Record for the Owner/Operator
The first step in creating an Owner/Operator in Tailwind is to create a Vendor record for the Owner/Op. To do so, follow the usual steps for creating a Vendor, and select one of the ‘Owner/Operator’ types on the Vendor Type list. Under Insurance, you can either enter the Owner/Operator’s own insurance information or – if they are using your insurance – you can select ‘Use Branch Insurance’. This will pull the insurance information from your own company details.
Once you have filled out all the relevant information, click ‘Create’ to finish creating the record.
This Vendor record is what you will use to pay the Owner/Operator. But first you will need to enter the Owner/Op’s equipment into your system.
Create and Assign Equipment Record(s)
The next step is to add the Owner/Op’s truck to your Equipment list. As before, this is very similar to creating an Equipment record, with one important difference: when creating the Tractor, set the ‘Owned By’ field to ‘Owner Operator’. When you do so, a new field labeled ‘Owner’ will appear. Select the Vendor record you have just created for your Owner/Operator from this list.
You may also want to repeat this step for any Trailers owned by the Owner/Op, particularly if you have a revenue-sharing agreement or other payment agreement in place based on the Trailer usage.
Creating Automatic Payables for Your Owner/Operator Vendors
The system now knows that this particular truck is owned by the Owner/Operator vendor. This will allow you to set up Automatic Payables that apply whenever the truck is assigned to a Dispatch.
If this is the first Owner/Operator you are setting up, you may need to add an Expense Item before you can add the Automatic Payable.
Example of Owner/Operator Expense Item
The most common way to pay an Owner Operators is some form of Revenue Splitting. To create the required charge type, navigate to the Configuration menu (via the
on the top right of the page) and select ‘Financial’, then ‘Expense Items’.
Here is an example of an Expense Item used to pay an Owner Operator 75% of Revenue. Note that the list on the bottom will include all Revenue items you have created in your system: selected items will be included in the Revenue used to calculate the payable to your Owner/Op.
Once you have created the Charge Type you want to use to pay your Owner/Operator, you will need to set up an Automatic Payable to define the circumstances under which they should be paid.
To do so, start by opening up the Vendor record you created for the Owner/Operator. Then click on the ‘Add Automatic Payable’ button on the lower right side of the record view.
The ‘Auto Add If’ field includes several options for triggering the creation of a Bill for this Vendor, all of which relate to the Equipment owned by the Owner/Op being assigned to a Dispatch. In most cases you will want to set it to “Tractor Owner on Dispatch.” The ‘Charge Type’ field should be set to the Expense Item you created earlier.
In the case where an Owner/Operator receives extra revenue splitting when they use their own trailer, you will want to create a separate Expense Item and Automatic Payable to be used for this situation showing that lesser percentage. An Owner/Operator Vendor record can have multiple Automatic Payables: the system will apply all the ones whose ‘Auto Add If’ criteria is met.
Of course, the specific settings you choose for these payables will depend on the particulars of your agreement with the Owner/Operator in question. For more details about how to handle different arrangements, you can read more about creating Automatic Payables and creating Revenue and Expense Items.
Optional – Creating an Owner/Operator’s ‘Driver’ Record
You may also want to create a Driver record for your Owner/Operator; while all the payments will go through the Vendor (and linked Equipment) records, being able to assign the Owner/Op as a Driver to the Dispatches they are driving will be useful for record-keeping purposes.
To do so, simply create a new Personnel record for the Owner/Operator, selecting the ‘Driver’ flag to indicate that they are a driver. Then, under the ‘Driver Type’ field, select ‘Owner/Operator’.
Enter any additional information you want to track, and click ‘Create’ to finish creating the record. You will now be able to assign the Owner/Op as a Driver on any Dispatch.
In the case where there is a specific driver driving the truck who is not the Owner/Operator (but is employed by the Owner/Op), you can do the same thing but select ‘Owner/Operator Driver’ for the Driver Type.
Remember that these Driver records are not used to pay the Owner/Operator – that is handled through the Vendor record! They are simply for record-keeping purposes, to help you track who is driving where. If your Owner/Operator is always the one driving their truck, you do not necessarily have to create a separate Driver record – you can simply assign their truck to the Dispatch, without assigning a driver at all. However, creating the Driver record can help avoid confusion, lead to clearer documentation (Trip Manifests, etc.) and generally make it more obvious who is driving what routes.
Once you have an Owner/Operator set up in your system, you will probably want to start assigning them to Dispatches.
Once the system is set up to automatically create Bills for your Owner/Op, you can use the Owner/Operator Pay Wizard to actually pay them.