Minneapolis, MN Transportation Law Attorney, Jason Engkjer, discusses the owner-operator model in transportation law and what he sees happening to it in the future.
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The owner-operator model is changing. And I think we all can recognize that. I think it’s going to continue to be a feasible model, and I think it’s going to be a good model for the transportation and construction industry. But the difference is going to be is that clients need to ensure that if they’re going to run this type of model with their drivers that they need to do it correctly. Have the correct corporate organization in place. Ensure that your contract with your owner-operators is compliant with certain regulations including Truth and Leasing Regulations. Practically understand that you need to treat, and you should treat, independent contractors, owners-operators differently than your employees. They need to be talked to differently. They need to be handled differently. They need to be separated from employee drivers and other employees.
So those are things that you have to understand and accept. Many times clients want to I don’t want to say cut corners, but may not necessarily understand that what they’re doing isn’t or could potentially jeopardize the owner-operator model. And so keeping clients advised of those particular issues and telling them, “Look, if you’re gonna be doing this, do it correctly, and here’s how you do it correctly” will only serve to benefit them going forward. Because when they do it incorrectly, that’s where they run into problems. They’re gonna be dealing with issues from regulatory agencies as well as civil actions as well.