Advice, Owner Operator?

Topic 6636 | Page 1

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Karl A.'s Comment
member avatar

So my mentor is an owner OP and has a brand new Kenworth which has been awesome.. Before I had talked with this guy I had this negative perspective of leaseing a new truck.. But this guy kinda broke it down to me without his personal numbers and swears by it.. Now he is a million mile no accident driver and he made the jump to owner after 3 years.. So I asked this guy knowing what he knows now if he was me what would he do. He tells me I have safe driving habits and could easily make a career out of this, that if he was me to apply in 6 months for an owner OP bc it will be more freedom and less politics with work..

I am looking for advice on both perspectives

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Ricky A.'s Comment
member avatar

I have had 2 oo mentors and have talked to alot within the company's. First off everyone here will recommend that you wait, and i think thats a good idea. From what i have seen with oo in my company is the ones who are having a hard time are the ones who get a used truck with 400 to 500k miles. Problem they run into is repairs and they have no maintenance account built up. If you buy new by the time large repairs start coming, you got money in escrow. I have talked to alot of happy oo's. Good luck

Lucky13's Comment
member avatar

Ricky, the best advice I can give you after driving for 3 plus years is.....wait. That may not be easy to do, but I can match every rose-filled picture that a lease operator tells me with a horror story. A truck is a big expense, and it takes big dollars coming in to keep those wheels rolling. Most lease operators have to drive team with students or they won't be able to make those weekly payments. In the time I've been driving, I've thought about owning my own truck. Owning, not leasing. For now they are just thoughts, and maybe that's all they will be. There's a good bit of cash to come up with when you want to own a truck. After that, there is the risk of starting a new business, and the headaches that come with it. Many drivers at the company I'm with have sold their trucks and gone back to being company drivers because the hassle and expense of ownership wasn't worth the extra money. Keep in mind they were owners, not lease operators. Leasing a truck from the same company you get your loads from is the worst deal in trucking, no matter how good they make it sound. The payments are so high you have no choice but to keep driving team or you will constantly be in the hole. Your best course is to learn trucking and to survive your first year or two. At that time, you will have gained more knowledge and experience, which will be a great aid to you in making an informed choice. Good luck in completing your training. After you're done you'll be assigned a truck that the company will maintain for you. They'll buy all that fuel too....and the tires, the repairs, the license plates, the insurance....etc. Have them pay all of those big bills so you won't have to.

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I agree wait till you get lots of time out here to decide what you really want to do or if you really want to stay in trucking. Second thing from my perspective is never take a lease purchase through a company. If you want to be an OO then save up and buy your own. There is really very little more money to be made driving your own truck over what you can make as s driver. The "money" to be made is in the first couple of years that are mechanically worry free. You take the "extra" then and invest it in something that will allow you to show a positive return while being able to draw against it when you start shelling out $10-15,000 repair bills. I used to have my own and I've driven for OOs. One woman owner said you had to have five trucks to make any money. One will be broke down, one will need a driver and hopefully the other three would pay for the two!

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.

Lucky13's Comment
member avatar

Sorry, I think my reply was directed more at Karl, but anyway, if you're a new driver, especially one in training, stay the heck away from company lease programs. It's the absolute worst deal out there. The payments are usually impossible to make unless you run teams, and even then, the numbers are not in your favor.

Chiefmac's Comment
member avatar

Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?

confused.gif

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

If you are going to own your own truck then you need to specialize. To me a true owner op is someone with their own authority. Anyone can pull a box around. The 3% margin thrown around on here may be correct for the large fleets but I can tell you that a small owner operator that knows what is going on can make well above that. People say that you barely make above a company driver with all the headache. Not true at all unless you lease to someone. If you run truly independent you can make much more and if you specialize there is even more to be made.

Now even with all that, if you suck at sales then stay a company driver. It takes more skill than just driving a truck to make it in the world of trucking as an owner operator. If you are the kind of person that could not sell water to someone stranded in a desert then owner op will not be for you. If you can sell ice to an Eskimo but can not keep the paperwork straight enough to wipe with then owning your own truck is not for you. To have any chance of succeeding in a greater than survival mode (making the company driver money or less) then you have to have a little of both skills, being able to sell and being organized.

Take my old boss for an example... Very good at sales but sucked at paperwork. I never even took a drug test for him. Well he is now out of business but still has the note on the trucks to pay. Only took him 3 years to run it into the ground. He also had the thought that the drivers needed him. Well he found out quickly that did not matter. He helped me get my license and thought I owed him. I said really? After driving 5 times and you having to fix stuff on the truck so they would allow me to take the driving test? LOL The rest I did on my own.

Owner Operator:

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

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Well this is always popping up here and there. I lease a truck from my company. First let me say I have run a small business in the past so I have some understanding of the business side. 2nd I have a seperate income that pays my bills each month. I leased a 2 yr old truck with 239k on it. I just hit 5 months doing this. I had a dpf issue that cost me alot to get resolved. I am making double what I was making as a rookie company driver. I will tell you this, if you think its easy, its not. alot more stress and worry but you do get freedoms you will never get as a company driver. I met alot of people in this company and worked my way through the corporate bs and got on a small fleet and they burn my clock to the ground each week. I am very open and honest with my dispatcher and have a great working relationship. I proved I can back it up and I get good loads and stay as busy as I choose too. This was not a easy task getting established, but now that I am I enjoy the rewards. I would agree this is not for everyone. But it is doable if you are willing to put the time and effort into it, and are with a good company. There are many lease programs out there that are complete jokes, but some are good. just my opinion.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Karl, I think everyone here knows my stance on this subject, but I'm just going to say the big elephant in the room that eventually has to be acknowledged by the owner operator is the law of averages. A person may seem to be doing very well at this for a number of years, but somewhere in that 5 -7 year range, if they stay at it, they are going to hit a reality wall that is hard and stubborn.

I have a lot of respect for P.J. and I know he is a good guy who gives it his all, but I can almost guarantee you that when a few more years goes by he won't still be thinking he is making about double what a company driver makes. If that were the case, there would be no company drivers. That stubborn law that I referred to hasn't caught up with him yet. Some businesses are good to get in while the getting is good, but you'd better have some really good timing and understanding about when to get out. The problems and risks associated with truck ownership are just too great for me to see the justification of being an owner operator or a lease operator, and that comes from someone who was a business owner for thirty years with six big rigs in my fleet of trucks.

Owner Operator:

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

PJ's Comment
member avatar

Very true old school. By then I plan on selling this truck, fully retiring, and sitting on a beach somewhere, or my mountain top in NC. lol

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