Advice for a New O/O Starting Out

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by 1arko23, Sep 16, 2020.

  1. 1arko23

    1arko23 Bobtail Member

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    Hi, I have been reading a lot on here and thinking about starting a career as a truck driver and getting out of the cubicle I'm stuck in.

    Backstory... My Father in Law decided last year to leave his 20 year cubicle job and start driving a truck. He went and bought a brand new 2019 Volvo VNL860 against many peoples opinions for starting out. He wanted a piece of mind with warranty and less repairs so he just jumped in with both feet. Got his CDL through the Community College (another one of his decisions to get educated before getting on the road). He has been doing it for a year and a half now and doesn't regret his decision. My wife learned how to dispatch and gets him on average around $1.90 - $2.10 per mile. We live in Utah and he does 1400 mile trips to Midwest and back making about $6,000 in 4 days driving. This is 80% of his driving. He is very organized and already has excel spreadsheets to keep track of everything. He makes good money even after paying all his loans.

    I am at a crossroads in my life thinking about following in his footsteps, leaving my cubicle job and getting into a truck. I am fortunate that I have equity in my condo that I plan on selling and having $150k to get started.
    I wanted to buy a house originally but have been playing with the idea of investing $100k into a truck and putting off buying a house for another year or two. I will be based in Utah and plan on driving reefer loads to Midwest and back.

    What is the best option when it comes to buying a truck for under $100k, or should I just go with brand new?

    I will also get my CDL through Community College. I also plan on using my father in law to learn the business and go on the road with him for a couple months before I venture off on my own.

    Would it be smarter to start my own company or to add my truck to my father in laws company so we have 2 trucks on his company?

    Any advice is appreciated as I am sick of my dead end job.

    Thank you
     
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  3. Midwest Trucker

    Midwest Trucker Road Train Member

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    Get your CDL and try teaming for a few months. You could probably crank out 12k per week in today’s market and pay yourself 2k per week as salary. Teaming is tough but you’ll learn quick. The only thing is I’d make sure if his insurance will accept a rookie driver. I’m actually fairly surprised he was able to get his authority and insurance with no experience at all. He must be paying ALOT.

    Anyway, if you like it then go buy yourself a new truck and get going. You could probably piggy back off his insurance for a few months if you wanted, the just go get your own authority and insurance as a 6 months experienced driver.

    Good luck! Having your wife on your side and her involved is a huge plus. Tell her to get those rates up higher and hammer the brokers HARD.

    PS. Don’t factor. Open a line of credit against the equity in your house. Have your wife stay on top of the billing and you’ll be fine.
     
  4. rahtek

    rahtek Light Load Member

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    Buy new. Just like with your father in-law, everyone is going to tell you otherwise based on information from a by gone era. It's naive to think someone with your experience would be able to pick a good use truck.

    When I started coming on this forums there use to be a lot of debates on whether you should focus on revenue or trying to minimize overhead. The correct answer is to focus on revenue.

    Limiting liabilities creates resiliency which is important in an industry this volatile but if this is your main focus you're going to find that the years have gone by and youre not really making progress. I cannot stress this enough, specially when starting out, focus on high revenue that's profitable.

    I do dry van, and west of I-35 doesnt exist for me but $2.10/mi seems low in this market. Tell your wife to get the more expensive version of DAT Loadboard so you can see the 15 day average and use that number as a minimum when negotiating rates. Also, get Convoy, Uber, Coyote, and all the other apps that allow you make bids without talking to brokers. Quote prices that you might think are ridiculous, $4-6/mi, and don't answer the phone or settle for less. This is going to give you a good idea of what the loads are actually paying. You're going to shocked how much money youve been leaving on the table.

    Oh, and remember, BROKERS ARE NOT PEOPLE.
     
  5. Geronimo17

    Geronimo17 Light Load Member

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    It is good to have your wife behind you and your father in law already having solid figures to look at. There is no "wrong" answer of new vs used. Can you put your truck under your father in laws insurance and run off that with a company of two trucks and two drivers?

    As for a truck, I would be looking at used W900s or 379/389s.

    They are solid trucks, with a good dealer network and hold their value better than anything else. See if you can get a used one with a good Pre-emissions engine. I saw a 2005 W900 for sale the other day. 400K in mileage on a Cat engine, for around $37K. That gets you a solid truck, with a solid engine, at low miles. Cheaper than a new Volvo, better engine with no "issues" and more money in your pocket for other company needs. Run that truck for a few years. If it is a worker, do an inframe and keep on rocking. If you want something else, you can still bring in $$$ from the sale due to it holding value and get a newer truck.
     
  6. John Bertucci

    John Bertucci Light Load Member

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    The biggest and most important thing i want you to consider is that you have never driven a Semi truck and it might not be for you. So i HIGHLY advise you to take it for a test drive in a used truck so you aren't stuck in this career field if you decide that you don't like it. reason being is its not for alot of people. bought a used truck that is pre emissions era and I do not regret it. These trucks are +20 years old but still do quite well because they are simpler than todays trucks. The best part is not having to pay to repair emissions equipment which is fairly modern and not an exact science for many mechanics which could end up costing a fortune. I was just curious and got a quote for an engine rebuild about a half a year ago and they told me 25k for everything. Go to truckpaper.com and have a look at their used inventory they have like 20000 trucks on their possibly more. The savings from NOT buying brand new will leave you a ton of extra money to have a rainy day fund, also insurance payments will be considerably lower. I am all about trying to have a cheap truck that I feel comfortable with the maintenance and upkeep. There are so many variables with the newer trucks that could go wrong all these older trucks need is a little bit of love and you can keep it running and making money for you. Also i recommend an aerodynamic truck because you might look cool rolling down the road in a long nose peterbilt but you wont feel cool when you cost yourself an extra 1-2 MPG that you could be putting in your pocket.
     
  7. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

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    To expand on this, have your father-in-law take you out on the road for a couple runs, and have him let you move, not drive but just move the truck, like in an empty parking lot.

    If I had $100k to buy something, I would go into real estate first than trucking.

    why?

    because in real estate you have a 90% chance of a return of your money, in trucking there is a 85% chance of losing all of it in one accident or incident.
     
  8. Geronimo17

    Geronimo17 Light Load Member

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    New trucks

    The breakdown of buying a new Peterbilt 389 vs new Freightliner/Volvo has some interesting data over the span of 3.5 years of ownership. If you buy a new 389 over an aero truck, with both trucks being the same and trade the truck in at 3.5 years of age, for a new truck, the Peterbilt is $15K cheaper to own....

    So, for used trucks

    Buying an older W900/389 for $40K that holds it value, has tech that doesn't have issues and is proven, will put you ahead of spending $145K on brand new Volvo/Freightliner. 3+ years later, that $145K Volvo/Freightliner will be worth what your used 20 year old truck is valued at. That's right, 3+ years later, the new Volvo will be worth what you paid for your used truck. Ballpark $105K loss on your truck, vs maybe an $8K depreciation in your used KW/Pete.

    Buy what is right for you but do your homework.
     
  9. 1arko23

    1arko23 Bobtail Member

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    I was planning on going on the road with him for a month or two just to learn the driving part in real life. I have driven a truck before but backing is a problem until repeating it over and over.

    His insurance is $1300 a month. He has been paying that since he started driving (July 2019). I will have to start getting my wife to negotiate higher. These brokers are tough and her dad is happy driving reefer loads and averaging $2 per mile. More is always better though especially since these brokers look to screw you over on rates any chance they get. Some quotes they give are hilarious.

    How do you mean don't Factor. Isn't line of credit on home getting charged interest as well. Does that mean to bill the loads directly to brokers, pay myself from the line of credit equity on the house, and pay it back once Broker actually pays me.

    What do I do about health insurance? That is another hurdle I haven't looked into. I would need insurance for me, my wife, and 2 year old son.

    Thanks for your input.
     
  10. 1arko23

    1arko23 Bobtail Member

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    I am leaning towards new as well. I dont like that the truck will greatly depreciate over 5 years that the warranty usually covers but that is part of doing business i guess.

    We do have the more expensive DAT and Truckstop versions and I will have to look into all the benefits we get with the premium load board versions so I can show her where to look for information like 15 day average. Her dad is happy as long as he is around $2 per mile so she aims for that.

    I will get on the apps that you mentioned to bid on loads. Didnt know that.

    Just wanted to respond individually since you took the time to respond to me.

    Much appreciated. Thank you.
     
  11. 1arko23

    1arko23 Bobtail Member

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    I wanted to go new for the piece of mind and warranty. Another reason I wanted to go new is to get Automatic transmission. I have a really good relationship with my father in law and he will do anything to help, including putting me on his insurance and under his papers in the beginning. I will look into trucks you mentioned above.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
    dwells40 Thanks this.
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