Newbie Wants To Start A Trucking Firm.

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Kraken Daddy's Comment
member avatar

Hello everyone.

First, I am really happy to have found this site. My friend and I are contemplating starting a small trucking firm out of Atlanta, GA, with the idea of slowly growing it. I have a basic idea of what is involved, but I know there is much more for us to learn before taking the leap.

I have a background in Aviation (was a regional jet pilot for a few years) and I am AMAZED how much truckers and regional airline pilots have in common (duty times, ******* management, inept or idiotic dispatchers and crew schedulers, equipment issues, delays, only paid for block time (or miles driven), being pushed to fly in bad weather with broken aircraft, lack of home time, contracts, lies, time away from family, etc., etc., etc.) So, I get the "negatives" of trucking and I am hoping to do something "better" for both driver and company.

My last career was one of financial management (financial sales) which I HATED, but it did give me a decent ability to work with financial statements, projections, inflation, both variable and fixed costs, depreciation, etc. We have some cash available to buy a rig or two (depending if we go new or used) So, I think my partner and I have the core tools and knowledge to do something positive in trucking. What we need now is knowledge and wisdom from all of you to get going.

With your collective permission, would it be ok if I posted a series of questions and drew from your experience and knowledge?

Thanks so much in advance.

Chris

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Pete M.'s Comment
member avatar

Just like aviation... If you want to make a small fortune in trucking, start out with a large fortune... src="https://cdn.truckingtruth.com/smileys/undefined" class="smileyImage" /> rofl-2.gif

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

Just had a heads up, you are going to get a lot of replies as to why you are in over your head and destined to fail with trying to new company from scratch. It will be a extremely long up hill battle but it has been done successfully before.

Just so know you maybe biting off more than you can chew, trucking has a 3-5% profit margin with a lot of risk, chances of "getting ahead" are slim.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Welcome to our forum Kraken Daddy!

I'm a long time business owner. You may ask your questions, but we focus on helping new drivers or wannabes make a good start as company drivers. Your best source for the information you need would be the OOIDA WEBSITE.

OOIDA:

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Who They Are

OOIDA is an international trade association representing the interests of independent owner-operators and professional drivers on all issues that affect truckers. The over 150,000 members of OOIDA are men and women in all 50 states and Canada who collectively own and/or operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks and small truck fleets.

Their Mission

The mission of OOIDA is to serve owner-operators, small fleets and professional truckers; to work for a business climate where truckers are treated equally and fairly; to promote highway safety and responsibility among all highway users; and to promote a better business climate and efficiency for all truck operators.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

How is it that you “get trucking?”

(Scratches head...)

Yet you came in here asking for knowledge?

I don’t think you have a clue about this business other than what you have read on the inter web.

This link can serve as your first reality check: Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving

So if you want to cut-your-teeth and become an entry level driver, that we can help you with. Otherwise...defer to Old School’s suggestion.

Kraken Daddy's Comment
member avatar

OK, fair enough. What I meant by "I get trucking" is that I have worked in the transportation industry. I suppose I was premature in saying that as you would be if you said you "get aviation", fair reply on your part. Truly, I am simply seeking wisdom from experienced operators who have had to manage their own P&L... maybe that isn't you.

Here are a few questions:

1) How many miles does the "average" driver drive weekly/annually? What percentage of your annual miles are dead head miles?

2) What are the best load boards to get started? I know the brokers take a large cut, but where do you start?

3) As a driver, what are the most important things a company can offer (i.e. health and life benefits, 401K ,profit sharing, fixed schedule, pay per mile, paid time off)?

Thanks in advance.

Chris

How is it that you “get trucking?”

(Scratches head...)

Yet you came in here asking for knowledge?

I don’t think you have a clue about this business other than what you have read on the inter web.

This link can serve as your first reality check: Becoming A Truck Driver: The Raw Truth About Truck Driving

So if you want to cut-your-teeth and become an entry level driver, that we can help you with. Otherwise...defer to Old School’s suggestion.

Kraken Daddy's Comment
member avatar

True dat. I have no idea why people try to make money with airplanes.

I understand anything transportation is a commodity, so margins will be very thin and have to come with volume. I have calculated my share of Revenue Seat Miles and Passenger Seat Miles.

I am just trying to get a reasonable idea of expected expenses and revenue.

Thanks!

Chris

Just like aviation... If you want to make a small fortune in trucking, start out with a large fortune... src="https://cdn.truckingtruth.com/smileys/undefined" class="smileyImage" /> rofl-2.gif

Big Scott (CFI Driver/Tra's Comment
member avatar

This site is designed to help people get a good start as company drivers. We highly recommend people get their start with Paid CDL Training Programs. As you have zero knowledge or experience in trucking, it would be best for you to get out here and do it for a year or two before you decide to jump in the way you describe. We get treated pretty well out here. We always offer people our starter pack.

After all that if you are still insisting on doing it your way, I suggest you go to OOIDA .

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

OOIDA:

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association

Who They Are

OOIDA is an international trade association representing the interests of independent owner-operators and professional drivers on all issues that affect truckers. The over 150,000 members of OOIDA are men and women in all 50 states and Canada who collectively own and/or operate more than 240,000 individual heavy-duty trucks and small truck fleets.

Their Mission

The mission of OOIDA is to serve owner-operators, small fleets and professional truckers; to work for a business climate where truckers are treated equally and fairly; to promote highway safety and responsibility among all highway users; and to promote a better business climate and efficiency for all truck operators.

Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Chris,

I'll answer your questions but understand you are asking some basic questions in a very complicated field where there is high startup costs and very little room for error. Half of running a business is the legal side like getting authority, insurance, and paperwork, permits, etc.

If i were you and serious i would start by driving a couple years and maybe training with an o/o.

1. Otr Drivers usually drive between 100k to 120k a year. Deadhead miles vary, but i usually drive between 100 and 200 miles to get to my next load.

2. The main load board is DAT. You will not be able to sign up without a dot#. There are other boards offered by other companies like landstar, jbhunt, coyote, tql, and convoy just to name a few. None of these companies will let you even look at their loads without having your authority and most of them require you to have an active authority for a certain amount of time before you can book loads with them.

Deadhead:

To drive with an empty trailer. After delivering your load you will deadhead to a shipper to pick up your next load.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

And most boards i know of are a paid subscription.

As most of us are company drivers we do not deal with Profit to Loss ratios. That is a lease op and owner op requirement. As company drivers, all we worry about is getting our miles or hours depending if OTR , regional , dedicated or local. we dont deal with load boards and brokers.

My company offers many bonuses for safety, fuel economy, on time delivery, christmas bonus, all of December staying out bonus. i get other incentives and bonuses when compared to other drivers on my fleet managers board, about 100 drivers. We have a match 401k, and health benefits whose premiums are cut in half after the first year. this is a driver retention incentive. We have state of the art terminals including indoor basketball courts, 24 hour gyms, hotel like "bunk rooms", pool tables, spas for hair nails massages and facials including a steam shower, a movie theater, and serious discounts on Prime own hotels and a casino. Our terminal even has short term storage lockers, dog kennels and pet washes as well as long term parking. A 24 hour cook to order cafe, a mail room with boxes to rent and a huge store where i can buy Nikes, undies, tools, and much more.

Most drivers want a decent cpm , home time more than 4 days per month (typical OTR), and more regional routes that let you get home more often. Of course the other things you mentioned, paid vacation, holiday pay, christmas bonus. Many drivers love their OTR company but when issues at home strike, they need to go elsewhere to be home.

And the things you mentioned in your first post about all the negativity...most of that i never deal with. The large companies have newer equipment they maintain and we shutdown in bad weather and no one questions us.

Most of the negative stuff you see online is a bunch of sour grapes from people who tried and failed as drivers.

Look up my company, Prime, and almost every negative comment or review is from a newbie who thought he could lease a truck and start an LLC and failed due to lack of knowledge.

It has been suggested you drive first because it is like me saying..."Hey...i want to open a neurology practice, and since my brother is a surgeon i know what i am doing. Would you be my first patient? I cant wait to cut open a skull ad operate."

i posted all about Prime to give you an idea what you would be up against. if someone like yoi said "come work for me" i wouldnt leave what i have. And honestly, you wont be able to insure new drivers.

Ill answer any questions you have to the best of my ability.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Fleet Manager:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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