Rookie Doing Power Only As O/O?

Topic 29833 | Page 1

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Jason H.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey folks, I've been reading here for years and finally decided to join. Hurray for first posts!

Anyhow, buckle up because this will probably be a pretty long post. I'll try to keep it as clear and concise as I can.

We're almost ready to purchase a fifth wheel RV and travel full-time. Meaning we'll pick a new place to stay for a week-month at a time. We have access to military base RV parks (more on why later), so we hope to make good use of that. I currently work for a major tech company in sales, but I'm getting burned out. Hypothetically I can continue my career on the road, but I'm not sure how appealing that is anymore.

We have three young kids (ages 5, and twins that will be 4 this summer). All of that noise had me thinking of ways to have a quiet office space. Toy haulers were an option, but we didn't like the layout enough. Couple this with how flipping expensive a one ton pickup "rated" to tow that much weight costs. The short and the long is that we're buying a class 8, and plan to convert the sleeper to an office space.

I have yet to look at the truck in person, but it's a nicely maintained 1989 Kenworth K100 King Cab (super long sleeper for a COE). I'm not worried about being able to tell if it's a good truck for what we need.

About experience: I was trained by the Army to drive trucks (88M) for the National Guard (hence military base access). My unit does it a fair bit, but really only a couple times a year. Where I make a little more experience gravy is hauling the heavy tracked guns around the state multiple times a year. I also drove local Class B for a while last year after COVID hit and I was getting home from Basic/AIT. I have my Class A with all endorsements except school bus. So some, but not a ton of experience.

My question to you fine folks: Would I be a fool to look at doing Power Only runs wherever we are? For example, we pull into the St. Louis area with our fifth wheel in tow (with my wife driving the Suburban separate) and get to our campground set up, and blah blah. Then I get work doing a PO run somewhere and back, or whatever. We'll also be renting our home out, and that alone will likely *net* us over $1k a month (including paying the mortgage, taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc). That same mortgage is also what is going to pay for the truck and the trailer.

Condensed and clarified: Are there companies I could contract out to, to haul sometimes but not all the time? I don't think our finances will require constant running.

Please help me sort this mess out, and figure out if I should just keep the truck registered as a motorhome, or put it to work too.

Mikey B.'s Comment
member avatar

Hey folks, I've been reading here for years and finally decided to join. Hurray for first posts!

Anyhow, buckle up because this will probably be a pretty long post. I'll try to keep it as clear and concise as I can.

We're almost ready to purchase a fifth wheel RV and travel full-time. Meaning we'll pick a new place to stay for a week-month at a time. We have access to military base RV parks (more on why later), so we hope to make good use of that. I currently work for a major tech company in sales, but I'm getting burned out. Hypothetically I can continue my career on the road, but I'm not sure how appealing that is anymore.

We have three young kids (ages 5, and twins that will be 4 this summer). All of that noise had me thinking of ways to have a quiet office space. Toy haulers were an option, but we didn't like the layout enough. Couple this with how flipping expensive a one ton pickup "rated" to tow that much weight costs. The short and the long is that we're buying a class 8, and plan to convert the sleeper to an office space.

I have yet to look at the truck in person, but it's a nicely maintained 1989 Kenworth K100 King Cab (super long sleeper for a COE). I'm not worried about being able to tell if it's a good truck for what we need.

About experience: I was trained by the Army to drive trucks (88M) for the National Guard (hence military base access). My unit does it a fair bit, but really only a couple times a year. Where I make a little more experience gravy is hauling the heavy tracked guns around the state multiple times a year. I also drove local Class B for a while last year after COVID hit and I was getting home from Basic/AIT. I have my Class A with all endorsements except school bus. So some, but not a ton of experience.

My question to you fine folks: Would I be a fool to look at doing Power Only runs wherever we are? For example, we pull into the St. Louis area with our fifth wheel in tow (with my wife driving the Suburban separate) and get to our campground set up, and blah blah. Then I get work doing a PO run somewhere and back, or whatever. We'll also be renting our home out, and that alone will likely *net* us over $1k a month (including paying the mortgage, taxes, insurance, upkeep, etc). That same mortgage is also what is going to pay for the truck and the trailer.

Condensed and clarified: Are there companies I could contract out to, to haul sometimes but not all the time? I don't think our finances will require constant running.

Please help me sort this mess out, and figure out if I should just keep the truck registered as a motorhome, or put it to work too.

So help me clarify here, you want to buy a 1987 Kenworth and convert the sleeper into an office, you intend on hauling the camper with the Kenworth with the wife and kids following you in the suburban. You will park the camper at random places across the country where the wife and kids will stay while you actually drive the Kenworth on loads returning to the family when you are done delivering?

What do you need the office space for? Seems like truck driving will be your job for 10-14 hours a day. I would say skip the Kenworth, sell the suburban and surely the cost of a semi and the sale of the suburban should cover a couple year old pickup. What you are proposing seems like a logistical nightmare and probably considerably more expensive than you are thinking. Think about it, you have to maintain 2 vehicles and a camper, the insurance on the semi is really high by itself but you'll be insuring and maintaining all three. It sounds a lot like a poorly constructed compromise because you want to drive a truck but your wife doesn't want you gone all the time. If you can do your job remotely, ditch the Kenworth and the suburban and buy a pickup to haul said 5th wheel otherwise be honest with your spouse about your desire to drive a truck for a living. Just my thoughts, hope it helps. Am I understanding your intentions properly?

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

I realistically do not see how this would be feasible, it would be a insurance, licensing and probably log book nightmare. To save on insurance and regulations you would need to register the Kenworth as a RV, but it would also need to be registered and licensed as a semi truck for when you want to pull a load. Which would make logging a nightmare since the truck movement would always need to be logged.

Plus insurance will be all but impossible to get without a few years of accident free commercial driving, if you did find some insurance company to cover you the costs would be incredibly high you would probably never make any money.

Are the 5th wheels even the same? When ever I see a 5th wheel for a camper it is always much smaller than on a semi, the larger one on the semi may damage your 5th wheel camper.

Jason H.'s Comment
member avatar

Should have clarified, if we hypothetically did the PO stuff, the truck wouldn't be converted to an office. Honestly, typing it out helped me see the madness of it. We'll still be buying a Class 8 to pull though.

To answer about the hitches. They're similar, but a little different. The kingpins are different sizes, but can be swapped on the trailer. The trailer will be getting an air ride pin box so it doesn't get the snot beat out of it.

As to buying the pickup, we ruled it out because no matter what we buy it won't be big enough to hold the whole family (shooting for one more, hopefully soon). So we'll still need the second vehicle. Plus, as "heavy duty" as pickups are, they get worn far faster and are expensive to fix. I've spent a lot of time deciding between an HDT hauler and a one ton pickup, the pickup just doesn't make sense. Plus, no matter what, I need sleeper space for an office. I'll get fired within the week if my kids are in the same space with me while I'm trying to conduct conference calls. In fact, this alone might rule out a cabover.

The desire to travel is just to travel. I'm trying to get creative on possibilities to earn while we're out without me being stuck with this tech sales gig.

I appreciate the feedback, it felt pretty crazy when I hatched it up today, and I see that that feeling is correct.

Keith A.'s Comment
member avatar

This sounds like a lot of work to kinda sorta try holding on to a job you're not even sure you want to keep.

How are you going to school your kids if you move around like this?

Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi jason,

A lot of people try to do trucking as a part time gig or something they can do on the side. Unfortunately, it's just too cost prohibitive.

Power only loads have a lot of problems with them. First, they require a return trip. There's just not enough loads out there to risk getting stuck somewhere and not being able ti find a load. Secondly, in my experience, they only want to pay about half of what a load with a trailer pays. You can not afford to operate on half pay because your expenses are basically going to be the same as if you had a trailer. You need the same amount of fuel, repairs and auto liability coverage. The only thing you save on is physical damage coverage on a trailer, which is very cheap.

If you want to get your authority, your going to have hefty bills right off the rip. Plates are between 1500- 1800 depending on the state. Insurance for a new venture will run upwards of 25k, which they require a 20% downpayment. Not to mention quarterly ifta miles reporting and 1099 taxes.

Almost all insurance companies require at least two years of experience before they even talk to you.

But, if you're still interested in pursuing this dream, the only place I've ever seen that offer enough loads is jb hunt. You might want to try contacting them.

Jason H.'s Comment
member avatar

This sounds like a lot of work to kinda sorta try holding on to a job you're not even sure you want to keep.

How are you going to school your kids if you move around like this?

This sounds like a lot of work to kinda sorta try holding on to a job you're not even sure you want to keep.

You're not wrong about not necessarily wanting to keep this particular job, but for what we want to do it's probably what I've got. We're working towards slowly building a rental portfolio too, but that won't provide all of our needs for a while yet.

As to how we'll school, we're going to homeschool. We've been on longish trips with them before, and it's been awesome to teach them about the world they see around them. Plus obviously the regular stuff too. The full time RV community has some surprising resources for families. Groups that are dedicated to meeting up when nearby, and even some that travel in groups sometimes.

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

I hate to jump on the negative bandwagon here but I also don't see how this would work. I get wanting the class8 to pull the camper and I also get wanting to run loads to make money. But the only way this would be feasible is if you have enough money to pay for everything without the truck contributing. Because your truck isn't going to make any money, in fact you will be lucky to make it break even. So you would basically have to be retired with a big enough retirement account to support all your expenses, and be old enough to take money from it, to make this work.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

Hate to jump on the negative bandwagon as well, but Ive looked into PO options. At least with many companies that do offer a Power Only program, they require the max age of the tractor to be 3 years or less. Also, you must have a maintenance and repairs program in place or use theirs at a premium Im sure. Also, as others have pointed out, the expenses of the regulations, equipment and insurance required just to be in business as a PO or OO are far higher than the revenue that can be generated part time.

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