Comments By Robert B. (The Dragon) yes, I breathe fire and other sideshow tricks

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Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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90 day waiting period for Leasing

I agree but in many cases I'd have to question how much a company claims to care about their drivers when they advertise the hell out of a program with a failure rate even higher than their turnover.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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Load boards

In the case of where I'm at, we're allowed, as company drivers, to search the load boards if we're going to be in an area where freight can be sketchy. I've done it once when I was in southeast Wyoming and loads were scarce. I found the load, sent the info to my load planner and she was able to get more money on the load as well. It's a very rare occurrence but a nice tool to have available.

Posted:  2 weeks, 3 days ago

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90 day waiting period for Leasing

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Just wanted to bring attention to this group from training blogs. According to a Jim Palmer student you cant go lease until you have at least 90 days in A seat. Meaning JP knows new CDL holders should not jump right into leasing...not that 90 days is enough, but hey, I like the idea of a waiting period.

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90 is not enough. Should be more like 730 day waiting period!

Even better, don't offer lease at all lol.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Actual Annual Lease Op Numbers

I'm just curious, are these numbers specific to Prime Lease Ops? I do agree that leasing is not the best idea for both a new driver or even a veteran one. A $4K a month truck payment is just insane to be honest. However, I don't understand why one shouldn't become an O/O by purchasing a truck new or used. If you do your research and know your numbers than I think it can be very profitable. I'm not suggesting to go out and purchase a truck as a new driver. As Rainy pointed out, a new driver needs to learn the industry, manager his/her truck, create a rapport with their dispatcher, etc... first but after a year or more I think it's very possible to be an O/O and be successful at it.

Want to make money as am owner OP? I'll give you a very real number that you need to shoot for every week to cover all expenses, medical insurance, taxes and money set aside for catastrophic repairs. That number is 10k a week in gross revenue. That's half a million a year to that truck for a guy running one brand new truck with a brand new trailer. With the rates that the larger carriers pay, you'll be lucky to average $2 a mile every mile to the truck meaning you'd have to run 5k miles a week. If you can see where I'm going with this, you'll be married to that truck with no time for anything else.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Actual Annual Lease Op Numbers

Robert (Dragon), or Sid V if you dont mind sharing, how do you handle your quarterly tax payments? I'm not real knowledgable about taxes but just curious how you estimate what your income would be for the quarter as i believe you're supposed to pay taxes at the beginning of the quarter. Do you pay the quarterly taxes based on the income or break it down to what you would actually owe after the deductions you take?

Myself, I put aside 23% at the time and sent that in based on an estimate of projected revenue before the deductions. At the end of the year was when all the deductions were figured in and as Old School mentioned, your CPA is going to use any available deduction you're eligible for, if that's what you want them to do. It's a numbers game that people are playing but the reality is still there that unless you're someone working with specialty commodities who has been in the game for a long time, you're better off letting someone else foot the bill. I never went into the lease program intending to buy a truck, I did it so that if someone asked, I could give a legitimate account on how it works and just how risky it can be.

The saying in trucking is very true, if you want to be a millionaire, start with 2 million. It wasn't always this way but those days are long gone.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Actual Annual Lease Op Numbers

I did this for many years as an independent contractor & I still had to pay. The determining factor is following industry stands. Trying and claim too much to pay as little as possible will get you a dreaded audit by the IRS. If your good CPA is worth this weight, you'd pay about 20k in taxes for 100k in earnings.

If you want to test that? You'd better have the receipts for your deductions. Otherwise, you'll be facing some serious problems.

I once spoke with a lease OP in Prime who broke it down like this, he only ran his truck at 60 mph tops, he ran routes that avoided as many tolls as possible. He cleared $100k but he also trained. That was after paying $24k in taxes. Did I see his paperwork? No. But he was willing to show me, I just didn't want to get that involved since my butt is staying company regardless.

My disagreement is that by the time you deduct, fuel, insurance, truck payments, per diem and everything else, your tax liability is significantly less than 100k. There are a ton of write offs that a lot of people never claim but are eligible for which are perfectly fine and will not leave you as a target for an audit. Besides, if you've set up an LLC like you should, the fear of an audit is significantly less as long as you're playing by the rules and doesn't effect your personal accounts, assets etc.

Like I said, I'm not trying to justify doing it, been there done that. I'm just trying to add a little light to the tax situation which is something nobody addresses aside from bringing up paying them.

Posted:  2 weeks, 4 days ago

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Actual Annual Lease Op Numbers

Not to try to sway anyone towards a lease because I won't but I do want to address the issue of taxes since it's constantly part of the conversation. If you hire a good cpa and use all the deductions available, a reasonably smart lease driver will pay very little, if any income taxes because virtually everything is a deduction. You'll look like crap on paper once it's done so making a major purchase could be more difficult but the tax liability will be very small.

Posted:  2 weeks, 5 days ago

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This is why we post/pre trip

Recaps?

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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My next Ride!

Detroit only uses spec parts, Fitzgerald does not. It keeps the cost down a little bit but when you're talking longevity, a couple grand for a full factory warranty isn't going to break the bank.

Posted:  3 weeks ago

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My next Ride!

They're very nice trucks, I drove one for a little over a year and a half. The ride could be a bit better but all in all they're solid, with quite a bit of room. The real kicker with Fitzgerald specifically is to get one that has a Detroit remanufactured engine and not one built by Fitzgerald. The warranty is different on their in house rebuilds and isn't recognized at most locations.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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Actual Annual Lease Op Numbers

They're literally setting people up for failure and don't feel the least bit guilty about it, that's the sad part. The company I'm with has a lease program but there's very few drivers in it. One of the biggest differences though is that nobody is buying a truck, they get cycled out every 3 years just like the company trucks so everyone is always in a new truck. Our trucks aren't cheap either , not that any are but to buy this 567 I'm in, set up the same way costs right at $194,000. The W9 is $205,000.

Posted:  4 weeks, 1 day ago

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Actual Annual Lease Op Numbers

This is a perfect example of why doing a lease with the vast majority of carriers is such a bad idea. $2 a mile is the absolute minimum a truck needs to generate and it's also the number that a lot of actual owner operators look for as a bare minimum. Large carriers can survive on lower rates because of the volume of service provided and they could care less how many people try and fail in a particular truck because one way or another, that truck is going to make money.

Posted:  1 month ago

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All those O/O's making "so much money"

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It doesn't necessarily have to be art for the Smithsonian to pay enormous rates. Sometimes it just takes a bit of thinking out of the box. This was a mine move in northern Minnesota that the company I work for pulled off. It was a one day move going a whopping 3 miles and paid very very well.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Axle weight question

Not tire size but tire weight rating. The majority of steer tires are rated for 6,600# but you still have to make sure that the axle is rated accordingly. The tires might be rated for a combined weight of 13,200 but the axle might only be rated for 12,000. You'll rarely ever have an issue regarding the weight on the steer axle though if the load is balanced relatively well, the major concern is going to be on your drives and trailer set.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Flat-bedding Is Easy!

Just got my first set of steel coils out of Worthington Steel, and I can say...at least for me, FB'ing is hard as ****.

My ass was kicked after leaving there.

Coils really aren't that bad. There are a few tricks that make life much easier but I don't know that the company you work for would allow you to use them. They're perfectly legal and save time and effort.

Posted:  1 month ago

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Is Freight Slow Right Now?

I never stop moving and am definitely not complaining. In fact, one of the owners spent the first part of the week ordering about 8 million dollars worth of specialty trailers for new contracts.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Flatbed fun

If they do get you, it'll only be an axle violation which is the fine only. Considering you'll only be around 155# over on the drives, it wouldn't be that much of a fine lol.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Flatbed fun

Ever since I've been with Prime we've been required to close the axles in NY, CT, WY, CA, and FL. That's with our 53 footers. 48s are fixed position spreads

So it's a company policy then. CT, CA and FL are the only states requiring it. CT allows 36k on the trailer when closed and Florida allows 44k on the trailer. Or for around $65 if I remember correctly, you can purchase a yearly permit for Florida allowing you to run open.

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Flatbed fun

When did New York start requiring closed axles?

Posted:  1 month, 1 week ago

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Manual or Automatic?

99% manual here with otr being 13 speed and the heavy haul being 18. We have maybe half a dozen auto shift but the driving test for orientation is in a 13.

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