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How Did Owner-Operators Perform in 2022?

Updated: Mar 10

Owner-operator State of the Union

Regardless of whether we are talking about Freight Rates, Miles, Fuel, Maintenance, or Profit, 2022 is best summed up as a year of change for owner-operators.

Interested in learning more? Check out our full Independent Contractor Benchmarks and Trends Webinar, where we give a more in-depth recap of how owner-operators performed in 2022!

Freight Rates

From May 2020 through April 2022, we saw one of the biggest increases in spot market load volumes and rates in the history of trucking. But in April of 2022, while contract rates remained somewhat stable, spot market rates and load volumes began falling dramatically. Here are some numbers to illustrate this shift in the market:

Peak - November 2021

  • Loads: 240 loads per 1 truck looking for a load.

  • Rates: $2.49 per mile (without fuel surcharge).

Today - February 2023

  • Loads: 55 loads per 1 truck looking for a load.

  • Rates: $1.80 per mile (without fuel surcharge).

That is a 77% drop in the number of loads available and a 28% drop in rate per mile (net of fuel surcharge). These major declines have caused a significant number of owner-operators that were running on their own authority to leave the spot market and lease on to carriers where load volumes and rates are currently more stable.


The miles that owner-operators run continue to decline year after year. Here is a look at the annualized miles for owner-operators over the past couple of years:

  • 2nd Quarter 2021: 100,000 miles

  • 4th Quarter 2021: 95,000 miles

  • 2nd Quarter 2022: 90,000 miles

  • 4th Quarter 2022: 85,000 miles

As you can see, this equates to a shocking 15% drop in owner-operator capacity (miles) in