Owner Operator Mistakes You've Made, Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by Admin, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Admin

    Admin TTR Forum Owner Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    9,073
    Thanks Received:
    11,727
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Some lessons have to be learned the hard way, and for O/Os those lessons usually involve a hit to the bottom line. Explain the tough lessons you've learned as an O/O or small fleet, and hopefully the information in this thread will save others some pain.
     
  2. fireba11

    fireba11 Heavy Load Member

    Messages:
    750
    Thanks Received:
    369
    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Tracy City, TN
    Leasing to a company with company trucks will make you broke. When things get slow the company works their truck and let the owner operators sit or give them very few miles.

    I have also waited too long to change companies when things got slow. Almost lost my truck thinking, It's gotta get better.
     
    snowman_w900 and BigBadBill Thank this.
  3. Dice1

    Dice1 Road Train Member

    Messages:
    1,315
    Thanks Received:
    585
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    Bessemer City, NC
    Driving fast and wasting fuel for over 10 years.

    Compared to what I know now, alot more profitable driving conservative and making mechanical changes to get better fuel mileage.
     
  4. rollin coal

    rollin coal Road Train Member

    Messages:
    6,002
    Thanks Received:
    5,581
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2008
    Location:
    TN
    People complain about $100+ an hour shop rates. Granted, entire threads have been devoted to "how dealer shops screwed me over" and it is true that dealer service departments seem to have their whole business model built entirely around inflating labor hours and screwing over little guys - not to mention the sloppy half @$$ed work most of them put out. Obviously a small operation wants to do all the little stuff as much as possible and save that money. The thing is not, everyone can do an overhaul or head swap just for fun. There are just some things best left to someone who knows what they are doing. Sometimes you need a shop. I have found in those circumstances you get what you pay for. I had a cut rate do a head swap for me when I first started cause funds were tight and I needed to save money. They destroyed a $500 injector, did not follow proper torque sequence when installing camshaft, none of the valve adjustments were anywhere near right.... I could go on and on... it was missing, just sloppy, sloppy work.. I was so ticked off I just drove straight to CAT... ...and the bad part is I had plenty of experienced owners and drivers tell me, don't mess around with that motor get it done RIGHT. But I didn't listen and ended up spending more on the head swap than if I had taken it to CAT right from the start.. There is value in paying a little more, having it done right the first time, and having peace of mind that the $100 an hour gets you someone that REALLY stands behind the work.. ..now, as far as dealership service shops go I would stay away from them, those are profit centers for the dealership.. CAT houses for the most part have a good reputation, I would think any Detroit or Cummins house would be much the same.. Do not cut corners on your motor.. Cut rate shops are no different than cut rate truckers imo.
     
  5. flc120

    flc120 Heavy Load Member

    Messages:
    896
    Thanks Received:
    115
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2012
    Location:
    Miami,FL (yeah i know :( )
    if you can do the work yourself to save a couple bucks do it, the money saved is a big deal.
     
  6. Semi Crazy

    Semi Crazy Road Train Member

    Messages:
    3,037
    Thanks Received:
    1,955
    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Location:
    Middle Tennessee
    Leased to a small carrier and didn't take the fuel advance when I started. Paid fuel with my own money but after two weeks and no pay and other O/Os screwed and place shut down.

    Always take fuel advance when starting until you know they actually will pay you!

    pLACE WAS cOLD iRON sPECIALIZED IN dYERSBURG, tn (caplock oops)
    Freddie King went to jail but I didn't get any money back.



    Having engine work done at Great Lakes Diesel. Frederick and Robert Plauman owe me $11G according to NY DOT hearing. Ain't seen a dime for over 10 years.
     
  7. Rehab

    Rehab Bobtail Member

    Messages:
    39
    Thanks Received:
    16
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    Festus, Missouri
    Carry as many spare parts as you can under the bunk. Hoses of all lengths and sizes, extra alternator, extra belts, extra water pump, extra radiator cap.. etc. Also, carry 10 gallons of water or premix in gallon jugs. I had a truck for 8 years before finally deciding to sell it and was only on the hook 2 times. Once for a dropped injector tip and another time when the sidewall of the air compressor blew out. Never did find that 2nd piston... The mistakes I made were, at first, not carrying parts and tools. The lessons learned were carry that stuff...
     
    rollin coal Thanks this.
  8. FLATBED

    FLATBED Road Train Member

    Messages:
    6,297
    Thanks Received:
    4,792
    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2008
    Location:
    Northern New York
    Never bank on the customer you had as a company driver who always told you " GO ON YOUR OWN and I will GIVE YOU all these LOADS :) " They day your on your own 99% will not return your phone call :(
     
  9. kw9's rock

    kw9's rock Road Train Member

    Messages:
    1,803
    Thanks Received:
    1,531
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Location:
    Alberta Canada
    The big lesson I have learned so far is "put money aside for breakdowns". I had a good amount to start but have taken a hammering since buying the truck . Repairs are not cheap and you need to save every penny you can for the next breakdown . Just starting out is hard especially if you don't have huge amounts of cash in the beginning( like me). I had 10 grand in cash after buying the truck and I really needed most of that lately.
     
  10. Scania man

    Scania man Road Train Member

    Messages:
    2,199
    Thanks Received:
    472
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Location:
    Saskatchewan
    Becoming an o/o, I'll never make that mistake again!
     
    Ukumfe Thanks this.