Freight Rates and Volume Prove to be Biggest Hurdles During Pandemic, According to Survey

October 2020

LAKEWOOD, CO… ATBS recently 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.

A visual summary of some of the key findings can be seen in the attached infographic. Owner-operators that are interested in utilizing the services provided by ATBS are encouraged to call 866-920-2827 or visit for more information.