Please Allow Me To Get Something Off My Mind...

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Old School's Comment
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I can't tell you how many folks are still contacting me about my response to Steve Marshall several months ago. It really is troubling. I even recently heard from a lease operator at Prime who told me of a couple of other lease drivers in our forum who were shocked that I recently responded to “Randall” in such a positive way, since I know he is a lease operator, and I said that he had my respect. I don't know why the lease operators in this forum take it so personal when I speak out about misinformation concerning leasing or owning trucks. Misinformation is the key word here. I am a full blooded capitalist who has owned more trucks than most of us will ever own. I loved being in business, and I am all for those of you who want to be your own boss. I also know the heavy weight of responsibility that business ownership lays upon a person and/or a family – it can be all consuming. My experiences in trucking have proven to me that I don't need to take the risks involved in the ownership of my equipment to still do very well at this job. When a person can distinguish between gross and net they will find that a good hard working company driver will by far come out on top most of the time. I say most of the time because there are always a few folks in the mix who seem to get lucky, but I can assure you that for each one of you that makes a success at leasing a truck there are about thirty losers attempting the same thing.

For the record, I have a great deal of respect for Steve Marshall. He is obviously a very smart guy who is a hard worker. If one were to take a look at all his posts in here from several years back, those things would be obvious about him. My only concern in that exchange were his remarks about making five or six times the amount of money now as an owner operator , and as far as I remember, that is the only thing that I addressed. Why would I get bent out of shape over those claims? First off I know they cannot be true. I'm not saying Steve is lying, I'm just concerned that he has yet to grasp what his costs are in this venture. Simple logic would tell each of you that we all would be jumping on the bandwagon of truck ownership if that was the truth. This is Trucking Truth, and it is our purpose and mission to be honest and upfront with folks about how this career works. Secondly we do our best to help folks get honest and helpful information on how this whole career works and how to make a decent start in it. I have the unique position of having owned my own trucks in the past, and therefore I have something like thirty years of exposure to the harsh realities of owning some of the fastest depreciating assets a business owner can ever purchase.

If you are wondering why I didn't have anything negative in my response to Randall it is because he in no way said anything that was misleading. He simply stated he was being successful, and that he was enjoying what he was doing. That is all good and fine! Now had he said he was making five or six thousand a week, then I dare say I would have spoken up.

Here is the reason you will see me rise up and defend the truth about trucking: I do not want to see any of the rookies in here get duped by false information. It happens all the time, and it is something I find very disturbing. Just last week I was minding my own business in a favorite little restaurant that I frequent, when my waitress comes over to my table, sits down and says, “would you mind if I asked you something?” This is not a restaurant at a truck stop, and I had bob-tailed my truck into their parking lot – which is why she knew I was a truck driver. She told me a story about her twenty three year old son who just started truck driving about eight months ago. Apparently he had been convinced from something on the internet that he “would not get any miles,” unless he leased a truck from his employer. She rather emotionally shared with me how she was still having to support him because he just couldn't make it, and was actually getting negative paychecks! I find this type of thing very disturbing, and if you want to know why I will defend the truth, even at the cost of having some of you lose respect for me, then that is a great example of how this misinformation causes such disdain for our profession. Here is a young guy who, if he is a go-getter, could easily be making about fifty grand in his second year – that is if he wasn't having to pay the maintenance and make the truck payment that his employer should be making on their own equipment! Now he is reduced to having to call his Momma for help every week because he is dead broke, yet he has the distinguishing title of lease/operator!

Continued...

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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I've know for quite a while that we have lease operators in here and I am glad for them to be lease operators. I will not allow them to blow smoke though. If you want to share your numbers with us, make sure that you understand them, because I can assure you that we understand them.

Why am I sharing all this? Well, partially it is because my good friend Ernie jumped in here the other day with a statement something like, “Well, I know I'm gonna get blasted for this” when he decided to tell us he was going to lease a truck when he returned to Prime. We aren't going to blast Ernie for any such thing – Ernie full well knows what he is doing – he's been there, done that. He understands the risks, and is willing to take them so that he can get some of the advantages that he sees in the whole leasing arrangement. Ernie has my respect also, I know that he will do what it takes to make it work. Secondly it is because of some of the comments “Rainy” made the other day about her trainer's pay. Here is a great example of someone new to the business seeing some big numbers and thinking that is all take home money. Thirdly it is because we have newbies in here all the time, some of them “Lurkers” who are still trying to sort all this stuff out. “Miss Red” is wanting to lease, and even asked us not to respond to her in one post, because she already knew what we would say. So, we left her alone. She has her reasons, but it is just not prudent to start out your career as a lease/operator.

Okay, I've said my piece now, and I will still keep defending the truth. I am sorry if it gives some of you a dimmer view of me, but hopefully you'll get over it! smile.gif

Nomad Novelist's Comment
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Pure. Unadulterated. Gold.

This is why I'm glad I found TruckingTruth before any of the other trucking forums.

Awesome post, Old School. Thanks so much for articulating your thoughts on this issue.

James R.'s Comment
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Yea i'm obsessed with information accuracy as well. You shouldn't be surprised to see me take opposite sides of the same argument in two different threads because i'm filling in information that may not be included on either perspective and will do so adamantly.

Anyway you're right about the misinformation, it seems to be a major theme for some reason. The amount of lease operators that brag about their massive gross incomes while ignoring every expense, even company drivers that brag about their best one week earnings and say that's their average. I've met owners that claim the only way you can possibly make money trucking is by being an owner. This is why i always ask lease operators or owner operators about their net and usually they won't answer, and even if they did if they haven't been doing it very long even that net is not value able because they haven't been going long enough to experience all of the setbacks that add up over time. That kind of misleading information doesn't help anything. I actually met an owner of several trucks a few weeks ago and got into a conversation with him about this very topic and he was very quick to say it's not worth it for most people and that most of his peers/friends that were doing the same thing have gone underwater and failed at it during hard times when problems crop up. I still believe that lease operating should be illegal, not because of a person ability to decide whether or not they should do it, but because the companies have in interest in keeping you on the hook by playing with your income and that's deplorable.

It's actually kind of bummed me out that people aren't as forth coming about their income averages here as they were when i joined and was considering starting trucking. Seeing every ones averages, including guyjax's posted w2's, allowed me to jump in with a reasonable expectation of what to make.

Owner Operator:

An owner-operator is a driver who either owns or leases the truck they are driving. A self-employed driver.

James R.'s Comment
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Oh and just to add, i think the reason that most lease operators or owners don't answer what their net earnings are is because they actually don't even know.

James R.'s Comment
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Lastly i think this post is so long that most people will glance at it and move on. rofl-3.gif

Nomad Novelist's Comment
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Lastly i think this post is so long that most people will glance at it and move on. rofl-3.gif

To their detriment.

I'm new to trucking, but I've been a small business owner a long time, and advised other small business owners as well. Old School is speaking truth. Sadly, too many who Lease, aren't, or simply don't understand the underlying math which shows that the profitable, are exceptions.

Me? I'm getting into trucking precisely *because* I'm tired of the burdens of running a business. I'll be a company driver and proud of it.

J Johns's Comment
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Lastly i think this post is so long that most people will glance at it and move on. rofl-3.gif

This lurker read it. I'd be interested to see links to these conversations for context, but I know I've read some.

Stevo Reno's Comment
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I enjoy some of these long posts and perspectives by those who are more "in the know" ! OS, Always has good interesting posts as do others. I know nothing of the industry not being in it yet, but do know a couple people who HAVE been O/O's and they couldn't make it, and either went to being company drivers.

1 neighbor I had in California,who lived across the street, from the little interaction I had with him, he was the type to blame everything on his companies. He jumped ship at least 3-4 times I lived there! every couple months, he brought home different company truck!

I'm no dummy, and even not ever being a driver (yet), I know enough, that for me, I'd NEVER consider even "trying" to own & operate! Besides, living an all cash lifestyle, not on credit the past 25+ years. If don't have the cash, I don't need it lol I don't like being locked into any monthly payments or debts. Having been a diesel mechanic many years, I see how unexpected break downs can happen, no matter how old or new a truck may be.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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For the curious minded, here is a link to the thread where Steve gives us an update. I didn't intend on linking to it because the original post was lengthy already, but there probably is some valuable things in here for folks to see. I only hope it just doesn't renew the volume of contacts I receive from people thinking I was too hard on our old friend Steve. He has made some great contributions to Trucking Truth, one of them was his epic post concerning his Prime training experience.

People tell me that Steve took such offense at my handling of this conversation that he is determined to never come back. I certainly hope that is not true, and it was certainly none of my intention in the exchange. I hope he continues to be successful, and prosperous in his trucking business.

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