Starting My Own Trucking Company Advice

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Derek L.'s Comment
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Hello! My name is Derek. I’m 23 and have had my CDL for about 5 years now and last 2 years have had my A class. been working for this small trucking company doing local runs for 7 months now and am planning on starting my own company soon within the next couple years. Just looking for some advice on how to start the right way. My plan was to get my own authority so get all the permits I need, setup a business bank account, get insurance. For equipment I am planning to lease a sleeper tractor from Ryder right away along with the maintenance deal as well. Also leasing/finance a trailer so that I eventually only lease the trucks and own the trailers. I’m just looking to see if anyone has any experience leasing from Ryder, what to expect, and if it’s possible to lease from a different company like Ryder under my own authority without leasing onto them as owner operator. Is this a good idea and should I lease one truck from the start and try to hire owner operators? Any feedback is appreciated. Thanks!

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.

Owner Operator:

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

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

This forum is primarily geared towards helping prospective drivers be prepared as they begin their careers and help them through the challenges of their first year. An overwhelming majority of us are company drivers and feel leasing and O/O is not worth it but we do have a few that do so. Your more likely to get the information you seek through OOIDA.

Out of curiosity what are you being quoted for payments of truck and trailer, and what does Ryders maintenance program cost and cover? What is it that makes you want to go lease?

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.

Derek L.'s Comment
member avatar

I asked my own boss if he was to start over he would start with leasing trucks from Ryder and then eventually owning his own. Right now he has some of the trucks from the company he’s operated by but now he’s getting more Cascadias from Ryder. From doing some general research leasing from Ryder would cost $1,500-$2,500 a month and a lease plan that includes maintence fees per month that cover “bumper to bumper” including tires and brakes. Plus obviously insurance. It just makes sense for me to lease so I have more security and option to own at the end.

This forum is primarily geared towards helping prospective drivers be prepared as they begin their careers and help them through the challenges of their first year. An overwhelming majority of us are company drivers and feel leasing and O/O is not worth it but we do have a few that do so. Your more likely to get the information you seek through OOIDA.

Out of curiosity what are you being quoted for payments of truck and trailer, and what does Ryders maintenance program cost and cover? What is it that makes you want to go lease?

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.

Derek L.'s Comment
member avatar

I asked my own boss what he would do if he started all over. Right now he has some trucks from the company he’s operated by but now he’s getting a lot of Cascadia Ryders under lease. From doing general research Ryder charges $1,500-$2500 per month per truck lease and a maintence monthly fee which covers “bumper to bumper” and includes tires and brakes. I feel like it just makes sense to me to lease a newer truck and keep updating them rather than buying an old truck and worrying about maintence.

Banks's Comment
member avatar

Let's look at the numbers.

We'll drop Ryder in the middle at 2k a month with the maintenance and warranty.

We'll put fuel at $5/gallon and assume you're running 2,500 miles a week. That's $7,200 a month assuming you get 7 MPG.

Insurance requires too many factors for a guess, but we'll say 800/month. Tolls also vary and I have no idea what they cost because I've never had to care. There's also permits and such when they're required, taxes and broker fees.

That's about 11,000 a month in expenses, assuming Ryder actually covers everything. You'd have to make $6 a mile just to break even, because I'm guessing 75% of your miles would be loaded and customers don't pay for deadhead miles.

Deadhead:

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

Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi Derek,

I'm glad to see you have such good goals at your age. The biggest suggestion i have for you, and i know its kind of cheezy, is to sit down and write a business plan. That means contacting insurance agents with vin#'s, getting a copy of ryder's lease, researching the lanes you want to run, where you're going to get your loads from, contacting ooida as to how much to get your dot and mc numbers, etc. And only after you have everything down on paper can you see if it's even worth it.

Secondly, you need to be free of any financial obligations. Car loans, mortgages, credit card balances, student loans, hospital bills. etc. No debt. Thirdly, you need to save up, in my opinion, 50-60k. Cash in a savings account. If you can save up more, the better. Fourthly, you need to keep an ear to the freight market. You don't want to come out on a down year and get crushed with low rates.

I will tell you, most owner operators buy a used 3-4 year old truck, pay it off and buy a trailer. The reason is the sheer buying power after paid off equipment will outstrip any security you think you are getting when you're in a lease.

Good luck on your plans and keep focused.

Owner Operator:

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

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Thanks for the feedback. My plan was to supply some trucks and hire drivers or have owner operators under my authority. I don’t have plans on driving myself in my company I was hoping to dispatch and also run the company with a partner as well. Seeing all the feedback at first I did assume all the startup charges and anticipated monthly expenses of $10k-$15 and I know to make profit it depends how much the drivers can make me. I’ll look at the approach of buying a used 3-4 year truck and a driver as well as waiting for cost of everything to go down. I’m just assessing all options on how to run my company without driving myself.

Owner Operator:

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

Sid V.'s Comment
member avatar

Derek,

Consider some things. First, insurance and the FMCSA will not allow you to expand that fast. You have a limit of putting on one or two trucks a year. They won't let you build a fleet right away. Secondly, the more trucks you have the more your insurance cost. A lot of the time you make more money having less trucks because of this.

Lastly, and most importantly, think about the liability. If any of your drivers get into an accident it effects you and your company a lot more than the driver. The driver gets a citiation and you can fire them, but if the accident is severe enough you and your company are getting sued, over something you had nothing to do with, so you're going to have to set up an LLC, and payroll and hope nobody will come after your personal assets. Not to mention that your CSA score is at the mercy of other drivers. Once your CSA score gets low enough, brokers won't work with you.

I would reconsider your idea of sitting at home and dispatching and soaking up revenue, at least at the start. Not until you've built a fleet and that takes years of experience, hard work, and dedication.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

Fm:

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.
Derek L.'s Comment
member avatar

That’s very true. So would becoming an owner op and forming LLC/USDOT/MC and save up money then eventually hiring drivers to drive the trucks be the smart move? And establishing only a few trucks under my business?

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.

Andrew M.'s Comment
member avatar

That’s very true. So would becoming an owner op and forming LLC/USDOT/MC and save up money then eventually hiring drivers to drive the trucks be the smart move? And establishing only a few trucks under my business?

WHy did you decide to choose this path of personal career though?

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.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

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