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Rick S.'s Comment
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As Brett & Pat have elaborated (on both sides of the argument I might add) - there's a lot more to owning a truck, than putting fuel in and driving.

And even though I did all the "due diligence" into starting out in the industry with my own truck, there's SO MUCH MORE to it, than just "raw numbers".

The reality is - you are NOT going to be able to "lease on" to a company with your own rig, with less than a years OTR experience. THEY CANNOT INSURE YOU. Should you decide to go REALLY INSANE - and get your own MC# (become a carrier), your expenses and regulatory/paperwork burden go up EVEN HIGHER (and there's a TON of paperwork & record-keeping involved). You are NOT going to get 48-state-trucking-liability insurance, with less than one year under your belt. You CAN run "intra-state" (your home state), with the occasional "trip" into neighboring states (and I mean REALLY OCCASIONAL).

So, when you talk about "running the trenches" as a company driver - EVERYONE HAS TO DO THIS TO GET IN - unless you just hit the lotto and $$ is not a factor (in which case, buy a Prevost Bus and just tour the country yourself).

The MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IS - no matter how much we tell ourselves "trucking is a great fit for me" - the only way to FIND OUT - is to do it for a year or two on SOMEBODY ELSES DIME. How would you like to spend $100K+ on getting a rig, getting set up - only to decide 6 months down the road "THIS SUCKS - I HATE TRUCKING"?

Go drive "company driver" for a year. If you're THAT INTERESTED in ownership - get into a "No Risk/Walk Away-Short-Term-Lease", just so you can get an idea of "the joys of truck ownership". If you're STILL IN LOVE with the idea of ownership - start running the numbers again and see if that's the way to go.

I would be the LAST ONE to discourage ANYONES'S DREAM - but experience has shown, more often than not - that dream ends up being a NIGHTMARE. Not to say that NO ONE MAKES IT owning their own truck - many do.

But there's way more to it than "signing on the dotted line" - especially for someone that has never been in the industry.

Rick

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Once you find your niche and be smart about your purchases then yeah trucking can make a lot of money.
if you specialize that is where the money is. You think we got paid like a dry van to move this beam?

Oh.....so you've actually seen their tax returns with big, fat profit margins? You've visited the big mansions they paid cash for? You've seen their giant show trucks they have just for a fun 6-figure hobby?

Why don't we all just specialize if it's so easy and obvious? I mean, why would a dry van, reefer , or regular flatbed trailer even exist if it's so obvious the big, easy money is in specialized hauling?

All I've heard from everyone for over 20 years is, "Oh, I know everyone else makes 3% but not....." and fill in the blank......not my uncle....not my boss......not my best friends........

Everyone makes a killing and nobody is average. That's all I've ever hear from everyone and yet in almost a 1/4 century I've yet to see a shred of evidence that big profits are being made by anyone.

Big revenues with big financing behind you is not the same as big profits. A lot of companies are asset rich and cash poor. They appear to be making a killing. They talk as if they're making a killing. They finance shiny things like they're making a killing. It's just that no evidence of big profits has ever turned up. Big financing? Sure...that's easy. Big profits over a period of many years? Totally different story.

I've never had a single person demonstrate to me in any way that they actually made the big profits they claim to or thought they would. But I know....your situation is different, right? It's only everyone else that's average. That's what everyone says.

Listen, I'm all about wanting people to be successful.....obviously.....but I've heard nothing but big talk for nearly 25 years from everyone under the sun. I've argued my side every time without fail. You would think someone at some point would have emailed me the bottom line on their tax returns with a big profit number and a big middle finger to me for doubting them. But nope....not one.

Maybe you'll be the first one. Maybe 18 months from now I'll get an email of a huge middle finger and a tax return showing a 6 figure profit margin. I sure hope so. I'll be more than happy to eat crow.

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.

Reefer:

A refrigerated trailer.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Michael V.'s Comment
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3% is what the ATA makes and is fine for large operations. 1 truck companies make about 33% after trucking bills if they are independent or leased to an agent system. it is approximately 30% for fixed expense and 30% for fuel and then you have maintenance and downtime. it depends on the truck you buy and how much of a mechanic you are as to how much you have left to pay tax on.

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