News, Interviews, and Happenings From The Trucking World
States work to toughen up left-lane-hogging laws
Friday Short Haul - Pilot Flying J name change, CRST-Swift lawsuit, Schneider named innovator
Seven drivers named as TCA's Highway Angels
Travel advisories and restrictions announced for Midwest weekend storm
Friday Short Haul - Senators demand GPS app updates, Jason's Law survey, ATA applauds USMCA, FMCSA's truck crash survey
Research group recommends a national autonomous truck policy
A glimpse into driving long-haul in China
Friday Short Haul - Court blocks AB-5, SBTC vs. FMCSA, Can Opener Bridge
Loses appeal: Walmart ordered to pony up $54 million to drivers
WIT and Walmart seek nominations for Female Driver of the Year
Friday Short Haul - Sweatshop on Wheels, judge exempts truckers from AB-5, Fleetwood closes doors
Trucking Truth's top stories for 2019
Random drug tests of drivers to double in 2020
Friday Short Haul - New EV semi, tonnage down, turnover up, Grapevine fatality, runaway truck tires demolish car
Trucking industry goes out of its way for Christmas charitable giving
Fuel card provider hit with FTC lawsuit
Friday Short Haul - Driver coercion, zero emissions, driver fatalities
Hard enforcement for ELD compliance now in effect
State CDL agencies get reprieve from drug & alcohol clearinghouse deadline
Friday Short Haul - JB Hunt's Wreaths Across America, Plus.ai butter run, states look for zero emissions
Carriers muster to pick up Celadon drivers, employees
Will Amazon's pay-per-day plan influence the industry?
Freight volume and rates downturn turns into a 'bloodbath'
Friday Short Haul - Independent contractors getting booted out of CA, winter weather resources, ransomware attack
Knowing when to say goodbye to an unprofitable shipper
Schneider donates trucks; Congress considers women-driver-friendly bill
Friday Short Haul - CTA files lawsuit against California, Highway Hero nominations sought, video of "Move Over" crash
Tesla announces new electric Semi model
Not everyone happy with potential FMCSA clearinghouse delay
Friday Short Haul - AI taking driving jobs, CRV scam, Truckers protest AB-5, ELDs quit working
Investigators cracking down on truck accident fraudulent lawsuits
So you want to start your own trucking company?
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA emergency exemptions, snow plows, FedEx employee bribery charges
Human smuggling via big rigs on the increase
Carriers, drivers look at ways to deal with California's AB-5
Friday Short Haul - Millennials and trucking, Truckers Christmas Group, Navistar settlement
Too many drivers still don't know to "Move Over"
Are trucker strikes a thing of the past?
Friday Short Haul - Passenger car drivers, spotted lanternfly, women drivers
OOIDA makes final push for better HOS rules
Car-truck crash fatalities continue to increase
Friday Short Haul - Amazon's fleet of day cabs, legislator's disclosure, WTA petition
ATA chief takes on truck-accident lawyers
Lonely on the road? Get a furry friend
Friday Short Haul - Lab-grown meat, fraudulent freight brokering, FMCSA HOS committee, FMCSA Clearinghouse
UPS takes giant leap in its drone delivery program
Female drivers are safer bet for trucking companies
Friday Short Haul - Embark gets financing, FMCSA announces safety grants, Covenant exits Mexico routes, and trucking statistics
Emissions standards battle heats up between the EPA and California
Smog checks in the future for California truck drivers
Friday Short Haul - Volvo Dynamic Steering, Meals for 18 Wheels, speeding crackdown, OOIDA opposes legislation
Telematics could be insurance-premium-saving boon for fleets
54 percent of survey respondents still not impressed with telematics technology
Friday Short Haul - Walmart video, it's churn, not shortage, California's independent contractor bill, hemp drivers plea
TCA honors three Highway Angels
Now they're talking about "smart" trailers
Friday Short Haul - Detention-time comments, truck orders decline, diesel fuel shortage
Berkeley study says reducing independent truckers can alleviate climate change
Clearing up concerns about the drug and alcohol clearinghouse
Friday Short Haul - Hurricane Dorian, Speed limiter bill, Thank a Driver campaign
Georgia jury awards $280 million for truck-driver-caused multi-fatality
Friday Short Haul - New eCascadias, Top cities for truck driver jobs, Push against driverless trucks
Decision on California drivers' employee/contractor status coming down to the wire
UPS jumps on autonomous bandwagon with TuSimple investment
FMCSA publishes proposed HOS rule changes
Fleets, drivers coming to like automated manual transmissions
CVSA asks for new truck crash study
Friday Short Haul - HOS revisions delayed, AEB mandate proposed, Koch sued for sex discrimination
Kodiak Robotics takes lead in autonomous truck industry race
New York City combats rash of cyclist/truck clashes
Friday Short Haul - CRST wins lawsuit, OOIDA opposes insurance hike, UPSNav
Mechanics shortage equals driver shortage in intensity
DOT announces almost 1$ billion in grants to fix infrastructure
Friday Short Haul - DOL on sleeper pay, UPS drone delivery, Geowiz ELDs
FMCSA takes a look at assault, harassment of female and minority drivers
It's hot out there, what's a trucker to do? Can't idle.
Friday Short Haul - Utah truck rollovers, aging truckers, lifetime CDL bans
Truck-mounted LED billboards coming under fire
Trucker 'drones on' with unique approach to teaching driving skills
Friday Short Haul - Rhode Island tolls, human smuggling, contractor vs employee status
ELD mandate deadline looming, many still not compliant
New "boot" device being deployed to threaten Walmart overnighters
Friday Short Haul - Prime Inc vs Amazon, mother fights HOS changes, truck drivers appreciation week
Proper way to fly the American flag on your truck this Fourth of July
Roundabouts are becoming popular; but are they best for trucks?
Friday Short Haul - Skills test proposal, driver shortage, hemp sentencing, driverless trucks
Experts warn of active wildland fire season
More states signing on to enlist truckers against human trafficking
Friday Short Haul - Shippers of Choice, insurance rates, wheel spikes, WIT award
Freight numbers not holding up to 2018's highs
Truck safety group urges purges of drug abuse drivers
Friday Short Haul - Self-driving certificate, truck platooning, trade war stacking up cargo
HOS waiver coming soon for fireworks haulers
FMCSA takes a further look at detention time
Friday Short Haul - Autonomous delivery, HOS rules changes, CDL retest
Roadcheck 2019 in effect this week
Hemp arrest prompts USDA memo
Friday Short Haul - Waymo big rigs, Move over sting, Under-21 comments
Severe weather prompts renewed emergency declaration
Memorial Day holiday is prime time for cargo thefts
Friday Short Haul - Hauling hemp, road rage fatality, new rules for autonomous vehicles
Autonomous trucks on USPS test run
Future era of cab-less trucks will be the end of HOS rules
Friday Short Haul - FMCSA under-21 comments, Tesla autonomous car crash, 24,000 drivers sign contract with YRC
Under-21 interstate drivers getting serious look by FMCSA
Trucker Buddy program matches drivers with a classroom; everyone wins
Friday Short Haul - Driver awarded $80 million, ODFL driver wins, loading dock black hole
Storm breaks out from Rockies, slams into Midwest, South
Capacity issues have shippers looking at private fleets
Friday Short Haul - HOS rules, dark skies, Falcon drivers
'Bug' permits now required for four eastern states
Simulator use is catching on for schools, carriers
Friday Short Haul - Thinking electric, Penske opens charging station, border crossing crisis, railroads taking trucking business
ELDs might not be the panacea that was hoped for
Truck drivers may soon see "phantoms" driving yard trucks
Friday Short Haul - Nikola big rigs, WIT welcomes Peterbilt, Oregon crashes, Border crossings
Carriers claim financial benefit of putting up drivers in hotels
Uber's IPO application reveals interesting data about its freight brokerage business
Friday Short Haul - CDL examiner arrested, tolls proposed for trucks, marijuana use on the rise
Smart Load Board will get carriers the loads they need
Huge lines and long wait times greet carriers at Mexico border
Friday Short Haul - Marijuana, ATA campaign, personal conveyance rules
Over-the-air downloads revolutionize parameter updates
Don't get scammed by skimmers
Friday Short Haul -- New Cascadias honored, motorist survey, U.S, Xpress awarded, rest stop parking
Legislators address underride collisions, propose more underguards for trucks, trailers
Motorists soon may encounter a different kind of truck convoy
Friday Short Haul -- Women in Trucking, irate motorist, FMCSA eases HOS, Safe-Cap
Recent survey shows cost of roadside repairs is rising
FMCSA announces drug and alcohol clearinghouse website
Friday Short Haul - Swift settlement, driver shortage myth, TCA Best Fleet award
The hidden danger of looking but not seeing
Accident scammers target trucks for financial payout
Friday Short Haul - Snow on the roof, bypassing toll road, Waze under fire
Retailers blame driver shortage for price increases
Drivers' smartphones may be clue to road roughness
Friday Short Haul -- Freight rates, HOS changes, tonnage reports
New tax changes hit drivers hard
FMCSA to implement under-21 interstate driver program for former military
Friday Short Haul -- Connecticut tolls proposed, hydrogen fuel-cell trucks, cell phone use
Congress committee looks at state of America's highways
Number of cargo thefts is down; but dollar value about the same
Friday Short Haul -- Crossing the border, CA sues FMCSA, Lobbying against larger trucks
Detention - A problem still in search of a solution
February Highway Angels honorees named
Friday Short Haul -- C.R. England announces pay raises, eCommerce impact on trucking, TCA announces best fleets
Is a guaranteed minimum pay the solution to the driver shortage?
Long CDL testing wait times cost economy billions of dollars; not helping driver shortage
Friday Short Haul -- Walmart hiring, Uber Freight App, Speed-limiter Law, America's Road Team
Cranking -- The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
California survives challenge to its low-carbon fuel standards
Friday Short Haul - Highway robbery ... autonomous trucks ... new trailers
LithiumHub enters jump-starter market with Jumpbooster JP30
2019 Looks Good For The Transportation Industry
Raymond Burt named TMC Trainer of the Month for February 2018
TMC Transportation Announces Recipient of Prestigious Wheel Master Award
TMC Transportation Named The Home Depot’s Flatbed Carrier of the Year For Fourth Straight Year
Pay Raises & New Peterbilts for PAM Drivers
New DOT Drug Testing Rules Effective Jan 1, 2018
Amtrak Derailment: Trucks Haul 270,000 Pound Locomotive Engine During Cleanup
Pepsi Places Largest Order Yet For Tesla Electric Trucks
Kavin Hallett named Trainer of the Month for October 2017
Over 100,000 Truck Drivers Likely Have Undiagnosed Sleep Apnea And More Testing Is On The Way
Drivers Share Their Best Tips, Tricks, And Secrets For Life On The Road
Drivers Are Losing Money By Taking The Wrong Approach
Truckers and Guns: What Is and Is Not Legal
Preparing To Go Solo For The First Time? Experienced Drivers Share Their Best Advice
The Truck Stop Survival Guide: Advice From Experienced Drivers
The Worst Cities For Traffic In The U.S. For 2017
We Ask Drivers How They Would Make The Logbook Rules Better
Self Driving Trucks Are Not Coming Anytime Soon
So you want to start your own trucking company?
Last Updated: Mon, November 4, 2019
The mission of Trucking Truth is to help prospective new drivers make important decisions about starting their driving careers – like, which training/licensing method is best, and which are the best companies to begin driving for, among others.
And, while many independent-minded new drivers initially believe they would be happier going on their own as owner-operators, Trucking Truth generally discourages new drivers from taking that route.
A recent article at TruckStopsDirect.com provides some cold, hard facts that should be considered by prospective owner-operators seeking to start a trucking company under their own authority.
We'll start with the bottom line as illustrated by TSD: The top five trucking companies in the United States can barely muster a 2 percent to 7 percent profit margin on their huge operations.
For example Knight-Swift; which became America's largest trucking company after the merger of the two mega carriers in 2017, reports a net income in 2018 of $419 million from a gross revenue of $5.344 billion. This meager profit margin of 7 percent actually puts Knight-Swift on the high end of profitability for a large trucking firm.
The trucking company with the second-largest fleet, JB Hunt, reported a 2018 profit margin of 5.6 percent.
XPO Logistics; which is a full-service brokerage as well as providing transportation services, reports a 2.2 percent profit margin for 2018.
"Big Orange," Schneider National, ranks fourth in size and is very diversified in the industry, managed a profit margin of 5.4 percent in 2018.
And, finally, the ubiquitous Werner Enterprises ended 2018 with a 6.8 percent profit.
Of course, there are many factors affecting a carrier's profit that must be taken into account like weather, the economy, fuel prices, or the age of the carrier's fleet that affects repair costs, for example, but it is evident that these large trucking firms aren't banking huge net profit percentages.
Expensing a start-up
So, what does this mean for the new driver thinking about going independent owner-operator, and even dreaming of starting a small trucking company?
TSD figures that a bare-bones one-tractor, one-trailer startup would need at least $46,000 in start-up capital.
That's assuming the prospective trucking company owner would be willing to start with a used tractor in the $30,000 price range, and a used dry van trailer in the $15,000 price range.
There are issues, of course, in starting with an older big rig that could potentially have multiple million miles on the engine, drive train and chassis. Higher maintenance costs would have to be figured into the annual expense budget.
But a tractor-trailer rig is merely a giant parking problem without having the proper credentials to take it out on America's highways to begin earning revenue.
TSD figures that authorities and incorporation costs, a necessary start-up expense, could run $1,000.
The prospective new trucking company owner must file incorporation papers, setup a business checking account, get a business license if required where he or she resides, and acquire all of the relevant authorities from FMCSA and the DOT.
These requirements are not trivial. They include:
- Federal DOT Numberh2Motor Carrier Number
- BOC-3 Form (filed)
- Standard Carrier Alpha Code (SCAC)
- Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) Permit
- International Registration Plan (IRP) Permit
- International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) Permit
- Understanding of Form 2290 (Heavy Highway Vehicle Tax Return)
- Other permits if applicable: Hazardous Materials, Alcohol, Oversized, and/or Overweight (these are dependable on what type of loads you haul)
These are bare-minimum expenses for a start-up on the cheap. One school of thought is to buy higher-priced, newer equipment in order to save on maintenance costs. That philosophy can add up to a six-figure investment before the very first dollar is earned.
Earning the revenue
TSD used figures compiled by DAT that show that over a year's time a dry-van load brings in an average pay of $1.85 per mile per load. That's assuming an average of about 9,000 miles every month for a year; which will generate a total annual revenue of about $199,800.
That sounds like a decent return on that initial $46,000 investment … but wait.
With each mile that the truck rolls down the road it is accumulating expenses – some that are more obvious, like fuel, and others that are hidden or deferred, like insurance or maintenance.
The new one-rig trucking company owner can figure that 30 percent of the total annual revenue is doing to get knocked down by fuel costs. Some years will be better than others, but this is on average.
Then there's insurance, which could amount to $10,000 to $15,000 per year, but that cost is dependent on the insurance company and the driving record of the owner-operator. Legislation is currently pending that would increase the required minimum coverage to $5 million, something that will surely affect the premiums.
Is the start-up trucking company going to hire a driver? Wages and all of the deductibles, worker's comp, Social Security, etc., need to be figured in.
An excellent article at BigRigHQ.com titled, "Complete List of Owner-Operator Expenses for Trucking," lists most of the fixed and variable costs of being an owner-operator. The bottom line is that these expenses will take up about $1.33 of each $1.85 in revenue earned per mile, per load.
Given the additional burden that owner-operators and one-rig trucking company owners bear in having to do their own paperwork, maintain their own authority, renew licenses and permits, find their own loads, provide their own retirement benefits and health insurance, lose revenue when a truck is down for repairs, keep track of everything for tax purposes, and many other hidden psychological and physical drains on their health and well-being, it begs the question – is it worth it?
Strong Santa Ana winds last week overturned trucks on I-15 near San Bernardino last week. This mishap would be a minor setback for a company driver, but a major disaster for an owner-operator or a one-tractor trucking company.
San Bernardino County Fire Department
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