Profile For Cade C.

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    1 year, 2 months ago

Cade C.'s Bio

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Posted:  10 months, 2 weeks ago

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Livestock Hauling Update

Sorry I was late to the replies folks. Between getting a family settled into a new home and trying to make miles to get the income rolling, I've been a little busy as of late.

I'm way on the east side of Colorado, about 13 miles from the Kansas border. I formerly did run a crane over in Colorado Springs for my dad. Thing are significantly slower than the last 3 years. Since I've left, Dad has pretty much kept up with everything with just one machine. The cow hauling deal is sort of fast then slow then fast then slow. Freight is a weird deal right now, but obviously there's a little shallower pool of livestock haulers. Working for an established outfit helps a lot.

I'd say the main thing is keeping the truck and trailer clean and sharp, and that takes a little extra effort maybe over pulling a reefer for a big box trucking outfit. But there's the pride and comraderie that's a pretty excellent benefit. I think these guys would do about anything for eachother.

Pulling liquid fertilizer, there was surge even with the baffles. But it was predictable. Cattle, you never really can tell when they might get a wild hair to move around. Usually, you try to prepare them for a curve by entering it with a little pull in the direction of the turn, then "catching" the load as they get braced for the centrifugal force. But if there's a little extra pull on the wheel one way, the cattle will move back in the opposite direction, so you have to "catch" it before it compounds. Generally, a cattle trailer will lay over in a bad scenario over a reefer or dry van because the livestock will cram to one side and throw off the balance. Having a crystal ball to foresee 10 miles ahead of you would be mighty helpful! Of course I think we all could use one with big trucks.

Worst case with a secure load, you can lock 'em up to avoid a mess. But with cattle, locking the brakes likely throws down an animal or several, possibly injuring them severely. And I explained why taking the ditch isn't a great option with them scrambling around to repsond to trailer movement. So really, we do our best to stay out of sticky scenarios. To make up for extra caution in populated or sticky areas, we generally are moving at a pretty lively pace down the straight and level stretches. I suppose that's why most have had a cattle pot blow their doors off. More time on the road, more shrink, less money to the guy cutting our check.

But, as I said, we would just as soon observe the letter of the law in any and all scenarios, and the vast majority of the time, we operate like any other truck. It's simply the nuance of having a live animal on board that complicates matters at times.

I really enjoy it. Having too much fun, as Darryl Singletary said. Y'all stay safe, stay loaded.

Posted:  11 months ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

If you could write about your experiences hauling livestock, that would be great! That's one area of trucking that seldom comes up on here.

Working on an update post right now! Been an adventure these first couple months.

Posted:  11 months ago

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Livestock Hauling Update

I orginally came here to post about potentially striking out on my own as an owner/operator. Obviously now more than ever, insurance and new authority are barriers to entry if you're on your own and young, which I am. So I started working for a smaller livestock hauling outfit, roughly 5-10 trucks at any given time out rolling.

These are some of the best folks I've ever worked with. A great mix of understanding the modern environment around animal welfare, driver safety, and balancing a life with a family, but also having that "old school" mentality of getting things done and driving some sharp rigs.

I've been fortunate in the last couple months to get a pretty good mix of everything from long stretches on interstate to picking my way down gravel or two-track road with a load on board. I haven't really left the mid section of the US, but my "web" continues to expand every week, going to a new place or on a different run. I've gotten to run with other trucks and on my own, and enjoy aspects of both.

I will say, 250 miles felt like an awfully long drive on my first week. Today, I made that same run and it felt like a cake walk. So I am hopefully "wearing in" to the groove. Obviously, stock hauling is a little unique in the motor freight world. Once you have a live creature on board, the wheels pretty well need to turn non-stop to the destination. There is a wide array of nuance to this within different routes and different customers. But in general, the goal is getting them there smoothly and rapidly to keep them healthy and avoid "shrink."

Another thing I knew of but hadn't yet partaken in was washing out a full size pot. That is quite a chore depending on the weather and type of stock hauled and for how long. The gist is, I am very thankful to those fellows that don a rain suit and wash out trucks for a living all day long. By and large, they do a really nice job, but I also get my share at the local washout to try and save a dollar where we can.

Sum total, I love doing it. The time away from family hasn't been nearly as tough as we were prepared for, and working out of a central hub where we recently purchased a home, I am able to be home more often than I anticipated. So really, I have to say this is a pretty ideal scenario, and I look forward to what this stage of life and work has to offer, and of course what I can offer to these fine folks and their nationwide customer base.

I feel pretty fortunate to be doing what one fellow driver described as "the top job in trucking," I think referring the legendary history and unique aspects of bull haulers/cow wagons/cattle pots. I don't for a second think of myself as all that and a bag of chips out on the road, but two big chrome stacks and 53' of beef trailing behind does make one feel like he's a part of a long and storied history and helping to write the next chapter.

In any case, it was reccomended I share an update at some point about the specialty aspects of stock hauling, and there's some of it. Not to mention that in spite of our best efforts to load trailers properly and divide stock into proper compartments, your load is alive and moving. So, beware curves and shoulders at your peril. I have two goals on the road, and that is to bring in the truck and trailer right side up and myself and the stock in good health.

Safe travels to all of you out there on the roads and holed up in the sleeper for the night. I fortunately get a hot shower and my own bed this evening, and we'll crack out again on a new adventure tomorrow!

Posted:  1 year ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

Congrats!!!

Stay safe with those critters!

Absolutely! Fotunately I grew up on a ranch, so that's helpful to staying out of sticky spots in the trailer, but like all things, lots to learn and it's good to keep an open mind and sharp eye. Glad I've got several months of warm weather before we gear up for winter driving.

Posted:  1 year ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

Recently started hauling livestock with an established company. Room for O/O down the road if I want to do it. Getting plenty of seat time, and I get to be around my favorite creatures all day.

Figure it’s a perfect place to learn and pay dues and improve my abilities.

Thanks again for the advice and all the helpful articles and discussions.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

My man first thing you need to do is develop a business plan. Realistically find what margins are going to work for you to be successful. Do you have the stones to be away from your family for extended periods? Some guys start with money and some start with nothing. You are the master of your destiny. I personally been a company guy 4 years and setting up to buy my first truck this year. Take a real hard look at your situation develop a plan and see it through.

Yessir, I agree. Don't have spit for a business plan. Been in reactionary mode, and a good friend who has a few decades of life on me got a hold of me and read me the riot act. Plus the helpful commentary gleaned here. Still just wired to where I reckon I can do anything that needs done. But absolutely digging a whole lot deeper on the red tape and expenses and nuance. Think I've got a couple lines with some very reputable small outfits where I can brings them some extra value and perhaps earn a little more performance compensation. We shall see. Not in a hurry.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

Sorry I missed this Ryan.

Just wanted to reiterate THANK YOU to all that took time to post. Still doing a lot of sorting through a mountain of options. Better to have them than be without. I'll pop back in when we finally get it sorted.

I realize I did a rather poor job of highlighting the livestock side of my "work" history since I've never really considered my livestock a job. But I've hauled cattle a fair number of miles in pickup rigs on my own and with some of the "real haulers" by the potload. Been steeped in it up to my neck my entire existence. I guess running a day cab for JBS between Greeley and Hereford, TX isn't a bad option, but I'm probably better suited to work with ranchers/cattle buyers and navigate the ugly backroads of ranch country for my time investment. Trying to find the niche where my skills are best utilized and where I can be competent, yet am amply challegned so as not to atrohpy my skill set. Always trying to keep growing and learning!

Thank y'all again.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

Thank you also Bigfoot anf Old School.

I believe that is indeed the consensus on freight rates. We in the crane deal are of course also pinched by the fuel/tires/everything and the substantial slow down in work. Of course, working as as operator sort of protects you from that, so long as you're moving enough to keep the company liquid.

I had a couple productive talks with livestock outfits today. Seems to be plenty of critters moving and some opportunity if you're ready to get in there and rock and roll, which I hope I am. Haven't met a challenge I couldn't find a way to meet thus far.

But I do think rolling around and building a reputation without being on the hook to pay for the truck, breakdowns, insurance, and etc might be the right way to get started. At least from the standpoint of financial stress on the family. Plus puts me back around cattle/livestock every day, which is ultimately where I'd like to be. Suppose if I stick with what I love and am willing to work, the chance to buil the business will grow from doing a good job and enjoying it. People pick up on that pretty quick.

Thank you all for the warnings and advisement. Very helpful to the decision making process.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

Well I have never been one to favor getting a sugar coated story over the truth. That info there is pretty cut and dry, so I would assume it's accurate!

Apologies if I threw this in the wrong spot, but I think I got great info from you two already. That's a pretty fine kettle of fishes, eh?

The slow down is going to get us all I reckon. Probably better to be an hourly operator and scrape the budget for a year then haul off on a truck. I have been unpleasantly surprised by "values" of used trucks while I've been shopping on Truck Paper and local adverstisements.

The only caveat I could offer to this is I come from a ranching background and have hauled cattle/livestock on my own in a pickup rig, and helped/rode with a couple pros in the real pots. I have an "in" to hauling livestock back and forth along essentially I-25 from Montana to NM/TX, and I wonder if I shouldn't get a bit more serious about talking to that gentleman about how he's paying. He's all O/O, then provides trailers. Maybe he has an idle truck and I can get a year in that way. Sounds like I need the experience under other auspices before I'll be trusted.

Was the same deal with the crane. I've made a decent hand I think, but even 3 years in, I often get the side eye being a young buck.

Thank you for the honesty. Rather make a slow decision than a catastrophic one. Appreciate the time you took to tell me.

Posted:  1 year, 2 months ago

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5 year CDL Driver Striking Out as O/O

Picked up my CDL 5 years ago working for a big fertilizer company. Held D/T, tanker, hazmat endorsements. Ran tanker and dry van, did a little bit of everything on the side for other local guys. Left at the start of Covid to work for my family running a 32 ton mobile crane. Picked up my crane certs, let the hazmat go. Been craning like crazy ever since. I am fairly handy on a lot of construction equipment, now have a few thousand hours under my belt in a crane cab, and of course my tractor/trailer mileage from my first 2 years.

Construction is getting pretty slow here (CO), and family dynamic has shifted. Looking to move back into a more rural area and truck for a living as an owner operator. I am fortunate to have the means and timeframe to get my authority, purchase a truck, get insured, etc. I am really struggling on figuring out how worn out of a truck is "safe" to buy and what type of trucking I'll need to do to make ends meet. Thinking of starting with a day cab with a wet kit. Have 4 young ones at home, hate to be OTR more than every so often. Would be highly motivated to get out and haul whatever I needed, even if I have to load the trailer by hand.

Any insight into warning on trucks or pitfalls new folks fall into would be most appreciated. Thank you.

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