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Trucking Question And Answer - Question 1

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Im thinking of getting into the trucking business - not necessarily as a truck driver, but by opening my own company. Currently Im an (old) 28 year old student getting a degree in computer science.

The reason I want to get into trucking frankly is two fold -
1) Computer science doesnt interest me, but its a somewhat easy way to pay the bills.
2) Ive tested a method to cut fuel consumption by 4-7%.

Not much, I know. But it might be enough to give me an edge in the business. Do you have any advice?


I would say that you should stay far away from the idea of owning any trucks or starting a trucking company of your own. With no experience in the industry and no connections to anyone for freight, fuel discounts, parts discounts, and drivers for your trucks, you would have pretty much no chance of success whatsoever. Even guys who have spent their entire lives in the industry struggle to break even with their own trucks. It's a losing game - you don't want to get involved in that side of things.

A 4-7% difference in fuel can be a very, very big deal, but not for one man trying to start a small company. The big companies get volume discounts on fuel that will match or beat whatever savings you can come up with, and then they'll really beat you on cost with the discounts they get on tires, equipment, parts, and repairs. Trucking is a commodity business - you don't want to get into the ownership side of that game.

However, if you really have come up with a way to save fuel, and you want to get involved in the trucking industry, I would suggest getting in as a consultant to some existing companies. My best idea would be to approach some of the smaller companies that have anywhere between 10-100 trucks and talk to them about your idea. Any company larger than that and you will have a tough time getting their attention. They want fancy credentials or they won't believe you're worth their time.

A smaller company may listen though. Fuel is indeed the largest cost for these companies and anything you can offer them that helps will indeed be a big deal. A 4-7% difference in consumption can mean the difference between making money or losing money for a lot of these companies so they very well may listen.

One other thing to be aware of is engine warranty. Whatever method of fuel savings you come up with can not void the engine warranty or none of the companies will touch it. Now if it's a smaller company whose engines are no longer under warranty - you may be in luck. But nobody will take a chance on hurting any of their engines at their own expense.

I hope these thoughts helped and I wish you the best of luck!

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TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare you for a great start to your trucking career.