Comments By Larry B.

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  • Larry B.
  • Joined:
  • 7 years, 5 months ago
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Posted:  3 years, 5 months ago

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High road training question

I'm about 9 months out until I retire and can finally start my next career as a truck driver. I started the high road training a couple days ago. Is that too soon do you think? Can it be reset so I can do it again when it gets closer to the time I take my permit test? I'm just anxious to get started.

Posted:  6 years, 2 months ago

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Any truck to stay away from O/O

Larry, I'm not sure if that was just a quick response or a rude one. OS is a wealth of knowledge on here and is merely trying to ask some simple questions to make sure the OP doesn't potentially set himself up for failure. Now, if we want to get down to technical answers, I could write a book for this guy but there are plenty of factors involved.

1. What's your budget 2. What do you plan to haul 3. Where do you plan to haul 4. How long do you plan on keeping it 5. What creature comforts do you need/want 6. Does fuel economy matter 7. Does style matter 8. How new does it need to be 9. What level of mechanical knowledge do you have

I can go on but you see my point. This is one area where I have a bit of knowledge since I used to build and work on the big boys for a living and still turn wrenches when I have to. Preference is all based on opinion.

Sounds like you are very qualified to answer his question, so why not ask him those questions and help him in his research?

His question was specifically what is the best equipment to invest in.

Now if his question was "do you think I can make money as an Owner operator?" Then OS opinions would have been right on.

Seems a lot of people come here for specific answers to their questions and all they get is lectures.

Posted:  6 years, 2 months ago

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Any truck to stay away from O/O

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A big question would be, what's your budget?

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Robert has a good question, budget may dictate the whole thing, but I have a little different angle on the question.

Let's just say you had a budget of 100,000 dollars, or maybe even half that. Is that your ability to borrow, or is that extra cash you just have laying around with no good purpose?

Now, what is your purpose for going owner operator? If your reason is "to make more money," then what evidence can you produce to support your belief that you will indeed make more money as an owner operator? We recently had one of our long time members in here who after a brief time as a company driver decided he wanted to make more money, so he became an owner operator. He was in here telling us how great it was going (and for the record, I personally think this guy has a great head on his shoulders, and he seems to be doing okay with it for now, but all honey moons are good if you know what I mean) He made the outrageous claim that he was making five or six times the amount he was as a company driver! Parrothead66, I've owned a good amount of trucks, I was in business for thirty years before I retired and started driving a truck as a company driver, and when it comes to business and making money, you can't blow smoke up my backside - I've experienced all the highs and lows of being an entrepreneur. I cried B.S. - as much as I didn't want to embarrass the gentleman, I knew there was no way he could be making that kind of killing. You want to know what the real disturbing thing about the whole discussion was? He really thought he was making that kind of money, but after asking him all the right questions, he had to admit that he was paying himself around five or six hundred a week - Do you know that a new driver in training at Prime makes more money than that?

If your motivation is simply to make more money, then use that good head God put on your shoulders and ask yourself a few questions. One of which should be "Why is it that all these trucking companies are advertising that they are seeking to hire owner operators?" Do you seriously believe they are just wanting to find some people that they can pay a whole lot more money to for moving their freight? Here's another one for you. I think about this one everyday when I am in the truck stops. "Why is it that about twenty nine out of thirty owner operators I see out here in the trenches are in an old wore out truck (usually twenty plus years old) when they are supposedly making so much money that they need a wheel barrow to take the money to the bank each week?

Now let's get back to Robert's very astute question. If you've got cash in the bank that you are just wanting to spend, then just keep doing whatever it was that enabled you to put that cash away like that. Trucking's risks are very high, and you are a beginner in the truest sense of the word. Why would you want to take those kind of risks at losing what some folks work a lifetime to put away for retirement?

Do you know how to forecast business risks, losses, or profits? I do, and I can tell you that for owner operators, it all seems like roses at the beginning, but hold on to your steering wheel, because about three to five years into this game and your dream may become a nightmare of epic proportions.

Okay, I've given my dire warning, and I'm sure some are laughing and ignoring it. I've gotten accustomed to the fact that everybody thinks I'm so wise until I start opening my mouth about the problems of truck ownership.

Final word: it is my opinion that the risks associated with truck ownership far outweigh the possible rewards. There are, and have been a few, who have done well at it, but there are interstates paved with the tears of the many who tried it and suffered the uniquely predictable consequences.

So to answer the original question....why don't you just say "I have no idea"

Posted:  6 years, 2 months ago

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Truck Fleets with automatics transmissions

What fleet or fleets has primarily or all automatic transmissions? Just finished driving school and have no desire to drive a stick.

So to answer the question, so far we have:

Trans Am

US Express

National Carriers

Maverick Transportation

Car Com family

Raiders Express

Averitt Express

Anyone else have knowledge of companies with Auto transmissions?

Posted:  6 years, 2 months ago

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West Side Transport

Were you planning on doing local, otr, or MWR with them? I'll be MWR.

What does MWR stand for?

Posted:  6 years, 2 months ago

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Failed drug test from former employer

Those are DOT driving jobs. The OP was asking about failed drug test (ie, Walmart) prior to CDL in which no database exists.

Posted:  6 years, 2 months ago

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Failed drug test from former employer

There is no such thing as a "failed drug test data base"

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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First week in the books- Prime Inc TNT

4. Learned a wealth of knowledge from my trainers. He is a owner-op at prime with 7 trucks under him

Don't say that too loud, some folks around here say that's just not possible.

Congratulations! Sounds like you are doing great and enjoying it!

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

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Maybe the ones that have come through here and went on to build a successful owner operator business don't have the time to frequent your forum anymore

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rofl-3.gif Oh my friend you don't know truck drivers at all I'd say. They'd swim across the Atlantic just to say, "I told you so!"

Heck, if I thought there was a ton of money in it I'd be doing it myself! Wouldn't we all?

Im glad you consider me your friend. Wish I knew how to use those cute little avatars.

Not everyone is in it for the money

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

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My mistake I apologize. I read your post wrong. I at first thought you said you had 6 trucks. I missed you retiring from your manufacturing business. The trucks were a part of that?

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That's correct!

Gotcha. So this trucking thing is your second career then and your not doing it for the money. That's my plan too, I probably wouldn't try it if I needed miles to pay the bills

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

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And just because you failed as an owner operator but have found success as a company driver doesn't mean it can't be done.

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Larry, where ever did you get the idea that I failed as an owner operator? You are reading this stuff with your own conclusions already established, and because of that it is no wonder you are completely missing the point of the discussion.

My mistake I apologize. I read your post wrong. I at first thought you said you had 6 trucks. I missed you retiring from your manufacturing business. The trucks were a part of that?

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

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I would even venture to say he's making 5 times what he was at Prime because he has real assets.

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Well then congratulations my friend! You too have the gift for "Owner Operator Math".....it's the math that dreams are made of!

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Hey I told you I don't have a business degree. 😀 I'm just a cop.

So now you are calling him a "blow hard". Nice.

Maybe the ones that have come through here and went on to build a successful owner operator business don't have the time to frequent your forum anymore. Or just maybe they tried and you guys gave him the "Steve" treatment and just laughed and moved on, like I have a feeling Steve will do

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

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Sorry I'm not here to defend Steve. He doesn't need defending. It just p...ses me off when people that haven't figured out how to be a winner has to criticize those that have.

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Ya know Larry, I'm not sure why I'm even going to stay in this conversation, because it seriously doesn't bother me to be misunderstood, even when it is from well meaning folks. I suppose you think I am being critical, when that is the farthest thing from my mind. Steve himself stated he was making five or six times as much money as an owner operator, but after a few simple questions from me he dialed it way back to claiming he has been paying himself 500 dollars a week. Now the way I do business, and I do know what it takes to be a winner (I retired from my custom manufacturing business after thirty years of producing tens of millions in sales), it appears to me that Steve is making less than he was at Prime. I don't know how you guys do your math, but paying 7500 in quarterly taxes regularly, or even putting fifty thousand in a maintenance account is not considered making money - that money is already allocated, it just hasn't been needed yet. But it most probably will be at some point - I had six big rigs in my fleet, and that was only part of our fleet - there were other trucks and vehicles also - and I learned my lessons about running trucks down the road from the school of hard knocks. I consider myself to have a worthless Ph.D. in managing the expenses for a fleet of trucks.

I'm all for being winners in the game, trust me there is no bigger risk taker than I have been in business, but the cards are stacked against you in this trucking business. I don't expect everyone to believe me, but I still have a responsibility to share with you what I know is true. So many people don't really understand how difficult it is to actually "make" money at this - they see those big checks coming in, and they are getting to write some large checks themselves, and it all seems like a yellow brick road. In the trucking business there are some really stubborn things that we call means and averages - and if you understand those words then you know they cannot be avoided. During the "honeymoon" they seem so distant, but like a wolf after it's prey, they have this nasty habit of nipping at your heels and then one day grabbing you by the legs and pulling you down to fight with you. If you can overcome them then you are the victor, and Steve is certainly taking the right steps to do that by setting up his maintenance account, and hopefully a few other back-up plans. My experience in watching this industry is that very few actually succeed at beating those wolves - the failure rate is astonishing - I have a lot of respect for Steve - I remember when he was first in here years ago. I want him to succeed, but if he seriously believes he is making five or six times what he was making at Prime, then he still has a lot to learn about business.

I spoke up because I don't want to see any of you guys deceived into thinking it is going to be easy to make a killing by becoming owner operators - it just is not the case.

Im pretty sure he doesn't think it's easy. And just because you failed as an owner operator but have found success as a company driver doesn't mean it can't be done.

I don't have a business degree but I think most start up companies don't even take a salary for the first couple years. So for Steve to pay out what he is, and pay himself a salary of $2000/per month, I would say he's doing pretty good. I would even venture to say he's making 5 times what he was at Prime because he has real assets.

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

I take my last sentence back. I do believe old school and Bret are very successful. As are a lot of company drivers ( I plan to be a company driver, I have no desire to run my own business).

It is nice to see someone succeed as an owner operator when most don't. Just like most small business fail in the non trucking world. But when you accuse people like Steve of "throwing numbers around" as if he's lying that is what's frustrating.

And Realist, I think you are a winner too :)

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

I think the point trying to be made by people here is you made a blanket earnings statement. Even I, a firmly wanting to be company driver but still a newbie, said, "Wow!" Now, imagine if I had said wow and then decided, screw company I'm going to go do what Steve does and be rich because Steve says he makes 5-6 times more than what I will! I'd invariably fall on my face because I have none of the experience.so.

You would fail because you didn't do your due diligence, not because of anything Steve said.

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

Steve, I really am glad to see you doing well. It's just that some of the numbers you threw out are a little unsettling to me. Really glad to know about your hefty maintenance account - that is important. My concerns are that you keep telling us about what the loads pay, that is typical talk for Owner Operators. As a former business operator I was more focused on my costs. That is where most new business owners stump their toe.

If you don't really have a good accounting system set up yet I highly recommend that as a priority. It will help you to see things in a different perspective. A good accountant is also important, especially if you can find some one who is familiar with the trucking industry.

There are a lot of expenses that I would think you should have that you don't mention, but I'm not expecting you to give us the whole picture. I just don't want to see you get squashed or blind-sided unexpectedly. We wish you the best, but we try our best to keep folks from falling prey to some pit-falls we recognize. When we see someone coming in here saying they are making five or six times what they were as a company driver, we feel compelled to sound the alarm. It just doesn't happen like that, and if it did we would all be running our own trucks. But the sad part is, that if one person says something like that in here, then there are a couple of hundred hungry truck drivers wanting to get on board that train who are going to fall flat on their faces. That is why we start raising red flags.

It appears some folks just don't want to believe that's it's possible to succeed as an owner operator. Steve you have obviously thought this out, put together a business plan, have your goals and are actually reaching them! Some people are leaders and go getters in this business and some are happy just being a company driver (which is what I will do).

Even if you had a million dollars in that expense account, some would still say your are doing it wrong and will fail.

You have already had success in one career and I really believe that you are on your way to an even better 2nd.

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Pre-Hired at Melton Truck Lines

Super Excited! I have in hand my pre-hire letter for Melton Truck Lines. I start CDL training in one week at Pinellas Technical College. I have my TWIC card already, Passport and studying for the Haz-Mat test. Any Melton Drivers or for that matter Melton Trainers out there that have any advice for Orientation and time on the road with my trainer? Thanks in advance.

Also I am retired Military and am used to being away from home for long periods, so 3 - 4 weeks out doesn't concern my very much.

I was under the impression that you had to have 1 year Otr experience for Melton. Glad that's not the case. Congrats!

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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Time for an owner-operator update

Congratulations Steve. Looks like you're doing great. I too am a police officer. I have 3.5 years to go before I can retire and pursue my truck driving plan. I can't hardly wait. I've been burned out with this job for awhile now (been doing it for 25 years). Caught the trucking bug about 8 years ago. I'm beginning to feel like I'm getting close now. Who knows maybe by the time I retire you might have a whole fleet and I can drive for you👮🏻

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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My 3 week school experience at C1 Driving Academy in Indianapolis, IN for Swift Transportation

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It looks to me like Swift will not be out anything if you move on so if you have that gut feeling then you should do what YOU think is right. Don't be pressured by anyone to continue on with them. They are not out anything.

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Nobody is saying Swift will be out anything. He signed a contract and he intends to pay them the tuition he'll owe. So Swift will get their money. In fact, it's probably better for Swift that he pays the cash and moves on because that way they got their money back risk-free. They didn't even have to put a rookie in a truck and keep their fingers crossed.

We're not telling him to stick with Swift for the good of the company. We're saying he'll be in a safer place as a rookie driver because Swift has already invested the time and money into him. As long as he stays and shows promise that he'll turn out to be a safe, productive, driver then Swift will stand by him. They'll allow him to make some mistakes and learn his trade so they can recoup their investment in him.

But if he moves on to another company, they have no vested interest in him. If he gets in a little fender bender 3 or 4 weeks after he gets started with them they'll likely let him go. Then what? Who is going to want someone who left one company immediately and then got fired from the next immediately after that? A rookie is a high risk proposition to begin with. A rookie who has proven he's willing to jump ship at the drop of a hat and has already gotten in a wreck and been fired? Who is gonna take that level of proven risk?

That's our position on it. He's free to leave Swift and we're behind him no matter what he does. But it's our job to let him know what type of risk he's taking by jumping ship. It's a matter of short term gains versus long term gains. Personally I've always focused on doing what makes sense for me 3-5 years from now. I'm not interested in taking big risks on little short term gains. Especially right out of the gate with a brand new career. I'm gonna take the safest, surest path for a while until I build a foundation under me. Then I'll shoot for the most money I can make.

Ok that makes some since. Maybe if you would have worded like that the first time it would have come across better. Seemed like you were kinda attacking him and talking down to him a little in your first response.

I see where your coming from better now, thanks.

So with that reasoning though, you seem to be saying that paying for a private school yourself is a bad idea because as an "free agent" you won't have a safety net if you have an accident. I thought most agreed its better to put yourself through school and then hire on with a company with no contract at all.

Just don't hit anything Tazzy and you will be good to go😉

Posted:  6 years, 3 months ago

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My 3 week school experience at C1 Driving Academy in Indianapolis, IN for Swift Transportation

Tazzy,

thanks for the insight on the C1 training. The way I read your first post you basically went through the C1 three week training offered by Swift. The contract said if you continue with Swift they will deduct the cost of the school out of your pay over a period of time and eventually will even pay you back for the training if you stay with them?

Now that you went through the training you have a little bit better idea about this company called Swift and you have a bad taste in your mouth about them and wish to move on to another company.

They didn't pay you while you were going through training.

Sounds like it is just like you described. A loan which you are going to pay back.

It looks to me like Swift will not be out anything if you move on so if you have that gut feeling then you should do what YOU think is right. Don't be pressured by anyone to continue on with them. They are not out anything. And if the contract did not specifically say that you had to drive for them for a period of time, then if I was you I would pay for the school, say thank you, and move right on down the road.

You sound like a good guy and I wish you luck on whatever you decide.

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