So You Want To Own A Truck

Topic 28262 | Page 1

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PJ's Comment
member avatar

Here is an example why not to own a truck and be a company driver.

I started my week on friday. Drove 225 miles picked up a load heading for st paul mn. Everything went smooth and I even had enough time on the load I stopped by the house for my 10 hr break. It was all set to be a really great week.

I got up sat morning and headed out. Got about half way between Chattonnaga and Nashville Tn and I heard a quick metallic sound. No warnings or anything on the dash. Truck lost all power. I got it off the roadway thankfully.

After several troubleshooting conversations with my mechanic it was determined it was the turbo that came apart. The truck gets through the shop on average once a month. It had just been in the shop for service 2 weeks prior. My mechanic is very good and takes care of any little thing early. Problem is there is no type of preventive maintance for a turbo. Truck has 632k for mileage.

Towed into a very good shop in Chattonnaga. They found the exhaust side impellar came apart. It took out my dpf and doc filters and the oil charge cooler. Truck hopefully will be done late today.

Total bill: 1k or so for towing 12k for repairs I have had the truck for 2 years and I have been smart with my money so that stress is not there for me.

So for anyone thinking about buying or leasing a truck. Think about something like this happening and ask yourself. Can I afford that. Not only the repair bill, but the lost revenue. I live 3 hours away so I’m at the house instead of in a hotel.

I have thought about posting this or not and finally decided to for the simple reason we have folks come through here that think owning or leasing a truck is such a great idea. These are the type of things you really need to consider instead of thinking your going to make more money than a company driver.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Wow PJ...

Honestly Man that is really unfortunate. I’m glad you posted the cold reality of truck ownership.

Thank goodness you are an astute business man and have a good accountant.

Safe travels and I hope you are back to generating revenue shortly.

Superlejera's Comment
member avatar

How much money have you make in the last two months?

Old School's Comment
member avatar

PJ, when I owned my small fleet of trucks I learned about the costs of operating these class 8 trucks. Everybody thinks it's cool to own a shiny big rig, and to be honest, it is pretty cool. What people don't realize is the ongoing costs are potentially life altering.

I feel your pain on this experience. I had a turbo come apart on me once that resulted in a total rebuild of the engine. Metal fragments went into all the cylinders completely destroying my Caterpillar engine. Fortunately, I could afford it, but it was not the kind of experience that motivates one into wanting to be an owner/operator. I am quite content these days to leave those unexpected surprises to my employer.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I'm sorry you had to endure it.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

OS you are so very right. Thanks G.

I have made some good money with this truck. I can afford this. I have been smart with my money and more to the point. I alwsys knew this day may come.

My point is many people do not look at things this way. They look at bigger paychecks. All the revenue the truck makes is not profit, or for the driver. I see people leasing trucks alot. They think they are going to make so much more without realizing the whole picture.

I will do ok through this, many would not. It hurts for sure. My profit margin for this year will take a huge hit. For those reading this. I have a substantial income outside of trucking that pays my household bills. Many people rely on trucking to support their family. If this was my case I would be in serious trouble with an incident that happened in the blink of an eye.

I appreciate ya’ll for your kind words. I knew the risks when I bought my truck. I am prepared for those. I want those who aren’t well prepared to think about this situation long and hard before jumping into this part of trucking.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Andy Dufresne (a.k.a. Rob's Comment
member avatar

PJ,

I had read this when you first posted, but had not commented because I have been so busy.

You were the first person I met from the forum and I was very impressed with you right off the bat. I have admired you since.

I wanted to thank you for sharing this as well as express my condolences at your misfortune. It sucks when bad things happen to good, diligent people.

Some day we will me again and i will be able to reflect on the wisdom you gave me at that first meeting after having been out on the road for while.

Dm:

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
It sucks when bad things happen to good, diligent people.

I've thought a lot about this conversation lately. Several times I started to make another comment but decided against it. Rob's comment makes me return to my original thought. Here's the thing I've been wanting to point out.

Business owners, or truck Owner/Operators, are diligent people. They do everything they can to make their business work. There is a phenomenon, or law of business, that we often overlook. It's called the "return to means." If I call it the "law of averages" it may sound more familiar to most of us. Every industry has an "average" amount of profits produced by those in that sector. Trucking is no different. You will seldom ever find a large successful trucking operation exceeding 7 or 8 percent profits over a span of 8 to 10 years. In fact, it's generally lower than that.

Like every other truck owner before and after him, P.J. started off feeling great and looking good. His numbers were good, his pride of ownership felt good, and he was getting to do things just the way he wanted. Who wouldn't be feeling good about life when you're rolling down the highway in a classic Peterbilt like his? He was stacking up Benjamins and having the girl of his dreams right along side with him. It doesn't get any better than that!

But wait a minute!

Life and business isn't all rainbows and roses. There's still that bugaboo known as "averages." There's no getting around them. They are called "averages" because they are basically inevitable. They happen to good people, bad people, and yes, even to diligent people. You can't run a business without experiencing the same issues that others face in that business. In an asset based business like trucking, our assets have wear and tear. They decrease in value, and they eventually need to be replaced. It's all part of the calculation that determines our outcome, and there are well established mean averages.

I think it's great that P.J. has been so open with us. He's being honest with himself too. There is very little "wiggle room" for an Owner/Operator to realistically make more money than a good solid company driver. To be honest, in today's business climate, most of the Owner/Operators I know are not producing the kind of income that really good company drivers are.

If you were to compare a ten year span of tax returns between a solid company driver and an Owner/Operator, I'd dare say you'd be quite surprised at the comparison. "Averages" are really hard to overcome in the long run.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Auggie69's Comment
member avatar

OS you are so very right. Thanks G.

I have made some good money with this truck. I can afford this. I have been smart with my money and more to the point. I alwsys knew this day may come.

My point is many people do not look at things this way. They look at bigger paychecks. All the revenue the truck makes is not profit, or for the driver. I see people leasing trucks alot. They think they are going to make so much more without realizing the whole picture.

I will do ok through this, many would not. It hurts for sure. My profit margin for this year will take a huge hit. For those reading this. I have a substantial income outside of trucking that pays my household bills. Many people rely on trucking to support their family. If this was my case I would be in serious trouble with an incident that happened in the blink of an eye.

I appreciate ya’ll for your kind words. I knew the risks when I bought my truck. I am prepared for those. I want those who aren’t well prepared to think about this situation long and hard before jumping into this part of trucking.

Hope you're back on the road.

Remember: Always, always, ALWAYS play with house money ;)

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
PJ's Comment
member avatar

Thanks Rob, I appreciate your kind words. Old school is very wise and very much on point here. The riggers we put this equipment through is very intense. Stuff is going to break at some point. All the parts that came off were factory oem parts. They lasted 8 years. If the new ones last that long someone else will be replacing them. I seriously doubt I will be driving then.

I shared this here so that anyone can see “what can happen”. I see so many drivers jumping into leasing trucks, usually used ones from the company they are working for and have zero money to back them. Well guess what. If this happened they would be on the hook, just as if they owned it. I have been around some in this world and I prepared myself for this day to come. Most don’t.

This year I will make far less than a good solid company driver. I’m ok with that. This works for me, in my situation. I’m estimating I will make right about the same at year end that I made my rookie year out here. Again that is estimating. We still have a long way to go before the end of the year.

Gunsmoke and I are back on the road and we are again making money. That’s what we do. Heading up to st paul again.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Gunsmoke and I are back on the road and we are again making money. That’s what we do.

I love that! Great attitude P.J.

Keep those wheels rolling!

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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