Owner-driver information

Find out important information about being an owner-driver in WA, understand the typical operating costs for your business and your rights as an owner-driver.

What is an owner driver?

Under the Owner-Driver (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 an owner-driver is someone who runs a business transporting goods (not passengers) in heavy vehicles supplied by them. The owner of the business must also operate one of the heavy vehicles that they own but may use other operators to operate their other heavy vehicles. 

An owner driver can be a natural person, company (except a publicly listed company) or partnership.

What is a hirer?

A hirer is a person or company who engages an owner-driver under an owner-driver contract.

Owner-Driver Information Booklet and Information Form

The Owner-Driver Information Booklet is a practical resource to help owner-drivers to successfully operate a business. The booklet provides useful information including:

  • owner-drivers and hirers rights and obligations set out under the Owner-Driver (Contracts and Disputes) Act 2007 and the Owner-Driver (Contracts and Disputes) (Code of Conduct) Regulations 2010. 
  • Guidance for negotiating and terminating owner-driver contracts. 
  • Safe and sustainable payment rates. 
  • The role of the Road Freight Transport Industry Tribunal.

It is a legal requirement for a hirer to provide an owner-driver with a copy of the Owner-Driver Information Form before entering into an owner-driver contract with that owner-driver. 

Understanding your business costs

The Owner-Driver Guideline Rates give indicative rates based on the typical operating costs of an owner-driver business based on the type of vehicle being operated.  It provides pre-calculated rates in both per kilometre and per hour dollar amounts for both metropolitan and regional driving environments of 13 heavy vehicle and combination types. 

Tools such as the cost of operations worksheet and the interactive cost calculator can be used to develop customised business operating costs by updating over 100 different itemised business costs compared against a set of base figures for evaluation. 

It is a legal requirement for a hirer to provide an owner-driver with a copy of the current Owner-Driver Guideline Rates before entering into an owner-driver contract with that owner-driver. 

Using written contracts

An owner-driver contract can be written, oral or a combination of both. It is a good business practice to use written contracts to provide clarity for both owner-drivers and hirers and to minimise disputes.

Model contracts

Owner-driver contracts donít have to complicated. 

A model contract has been developed for use by owner-drivers and hirers. It is not compulsory to use the model contract but it might be useful as guidance on standard contract terms. You can make changes to the terms of the model contract to better suit your business needs but be mindful that any contract term canít displace the provisions of the Act, for example minimum notice periods.

The Model contract is made up of two parts, the first part is the standard contract and the second part is the schedule to the contract, which both parties must fill in. The schedule sets out who is party to the contract, services to be provided under the contract, the approved drivers, agreed payment rates, period of the contract and range of other matters such as any variations to the standard contract.

Giving notice of contract Termination

Generally, from 1 June 2023 onward, a 90 day minimum notice period applies to all owner-driver contracts that are 90 days or more in duration and a 7 day minimum notice period applies to all owner-driver contracts that are less than 90 days in duration, with an option for payment in lieu of notice. 

Notice of termination is to be provided in writing and must include the date on which notice was given and the date on which termination is to take effect. Further information about contract termination is available in the Owner-Driver Information Booklet.

Road Freight Transport Industry Council

The Road Freight Transport Industry Council members represent owner-drivers, hirers, the community and government. Current members are: The Department of Transport (Chairperson), Transport Workers Union WA, Western Roads Federation, Success Transport and Markís Haulage.

The role of the Council includes:

  • Reviewing the Code of Conduct and Guideline Rates.
  • Promoting the Model Owner-driver Contract and Schedule and encouraging compliance with the Code of Conduct and Guideline Rates, and
  • Providing advice and recommendations to the Minister about the owner-driver industry.
Page last updated: Thu Jun 1 2023 1:54:39 PM