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Freight Rates and Volume Prove to Be Biggest Hurdle During Pandemic, According to Survey

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

LAKEWOOD, COLO. – July 23, 2020  – Earlier this month, ATBS conducted a survey of over 300 owner-operators about the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses. This survey sheds some light on how the pandemic has affected owner-operators overall and the use of relief programs and relaxed regulations intended to help drivers through the crisis. 

When it comes to financial aid, 81% of owner-operators received the $1200 Economic Impact Payment, 53% applied for a PPP Loan, and 30% received funding. ATBS assisted 25% of the owner-operators in the survey with their PPP loan applications. 

When asked about emergency relief efforts, the majority of owner-operators surveyed have not had to operate outside of normal regulations during the crises. For example, 87% of those surveyed said they have not had to drive beyond HOS rules, 95% have not had to operate with an expired CDL, and 96% have not had to haul a load above weight limits. 

According to the survey, freight volume and freight rates are the areas where owner-operators were hardest hit. Freight volume has dropped by 50% or more for 35% of the owner-operators surveyed, while 11% claim freight is nonexistent. As for rates, 47% of owner-operators said that freight rates have dropped by 30% or more. However, 65% of the owner-operators are still running during the pandemic, and only 6% have had to furlough an employee or independent contractor.


When asked how the virus has affected them in other ways, 83% say they have not had any trouble finding masks or other PPE for themselves or their employees. In terms of freight type, 36% of drivers have moved relief freight related to COVID-19.

Owner-operators that are interested in utilizing the services provided by ATBS are encouraged to call 866-920-2827 or visit for more information.

About ATBS American Truck Business Services (ATBS) is the largest tax, consulting, and bookkeeping firm in the transportation industry, with over 20 years of experience working with owner-operators and independent contractors. Since 1998, ATBS has helped over 150,000 clients earn more money, reduce stress, and drive a richer life. In 2016, ATBS developed the RumbleStrip line of service packages, which includes back-office solutions for truck drivers in every stage of their careers. For more information, visit

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