Long post, so bear with me.
So after a few years of studying this forum and learning as much about the industry as I can, I finally jumped off the cliff and got a truck.
2017 Volvo 780, D13, I-Shift. Had 632 miles. Checked it out, took it for a spin, gave Lone Mountain the $10,000 down, signed for it and took it home.
It was the most nerve wracking decision of my life. I'm 34, and got my CDL back in 2005.
I'm going to be stuck with this truck until / if I pay it off. Here's hoping that I do. No wife, no kids, no house payments, only really need to pay myself $500 a week to live on. Everything else going right into the business account.
Leasing on to a small company with a good % pay. Option to find my own loads if I want for an extra couple % points, if and when I want to learn to do that, which I plan on getting my feet wet in eventually.
As far as how I feel, well for one, it's easy to sit back and read this forum and imagine yourself doing it and succeeding. Crunching the numbers, reading about other O/O's hitting jackpots with good loads here and there, and thinking it will be all rainbows and flowers.
I'll tell you one thing, it wasn't until I actually arrived at the airport that the weight of the responsibility really hit me, and I seriously considered just going back home with my tail between my legs. But I decided to take the road less traveled. I hope it will make all the difference. I'm a bit nervous, excited, anxious, etc. I owe a lot of money on the thing. I'm gonna have to be out there running hard to make what I decided was what I needed to make to justify the risk.
Truck is under warranty, and of course lease gap insurance, but I guess my biggest fear right now is getting into an accident. I have 7 years OTR with no accidents, but people still drive like a-holes. I did get a dash cam. Actually, Santa Claus brought me a dash cam.
I bob-tailed it home, and man it drives nice. Was getting anywhere between 10.2 and 11.2 mpg depending on terrain and wind, going between 55-65. Once I got it home to MI, I felt a lot better. Especially when my dad greeted me with a tear in his eye.
One issue i did have was that it seemed like it was eating through fuel at twice the rate that it was showing! I was thinking, OMG, there's something wrong with the fuel system. Something is terribly wrong. Did I have a major fuel leak somewhere???? It's showing I'm getting 10.3mpg at the time, so what was going on?? I had put 130 gallons in Tifton, GA (plus DEF). And then I put 60 gallons in, in Florence, KY. 250 miles later, the fuel gauge is on red, the LOW FUEL light is on, and I'm wetting myself. Stopped at a small fuel station in Whitmore Lake, MI, just a half hour from home, worried I'm gonna run out of fuel, broke a large twig off a tree, stuck it in the driver's side fuel tank, it's almost empty. Went around to the passenger side tank. It's almost full. I had suspected that maybe they hadn't opened the valves on the one tank. Sure enough, the valves were shut. So I opened them. Put a couple more gallons in the driver side tank, and it was fine. Just chalk it up to a learning experience.
It's a huge responsibility. Biggest undertaking in my life. I feel like the weigh of the world is on my shoulders. But I suppose there are others that have that worse than I. I'm responsible for everything. I can't call up dispatch and request road rescue, because I'm that guy. I can't drive it to the company shop and have them fix something or do a PM, while I go sit in the driver's lounge and wait.
I have to drive it to a dealership, and pay the money out of my own pocket for the PM. Even for warranty work, even if I don't have to pay a dime for it, I'm still sitting there losing potential revenue, and the bills will keep on coming. Or I have to get on this forum and explain an issue, and beg for good answers so I can diagnose my own problems and fix it for a reasonable cost.
With a company driver, you don't have bills piling up on your back. You might have a crappy paycheck. When you're the O/O, you'll be further in debt. So yeah, the realization of that kind of responsibility and risk is a bit daunting.
I thought to myself, I should have done this 5 years ago. But then I think back and realize I wouldn't have been ready for it. Now I think I am. And I know that if I had flown back home and never have done this, I would have regretted it. I don't think there's any shame in trying and failing. It's worse to have never tried.
So as for my beliefs. the truck isn't mine. It belongs to the Lord. Well as far as law goes, it still belongs to Lone Mountain, being a lease-purchase and all. But may the Lord do with the truck and myself as He wishes, and may His will be done. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
I'll link to a blog once I start rolling, if anyone happens to want to follow it. I probably won't include a lot of rate info, or a lot of personal number crunching, but I'll try to update my stories as often as I can.
If anyone had been thinking about following suit, let me know. I get a referral bonus from the salesman if you get a truck from him, so let me know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for reading.
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Congrats! You will do just fine. I took the plunge back in the late 90s and bought my own truck after being a company driver for a few years. Decided I was going to do things my way. I do agree with you it can get scary thinking of the what ifs, but just remember that yes the bad things that could happen are on you, but on the other hand all the positives are because of and on you as well. I was pulling automotive loads and when the industry started closing plants and going down the toilet in the early to mid 2000s here in MI I had some rough times and decided to try and get out with my shirt still left on my back. Managed to get out in decent shape and went back to company driver. Keep your chin up and head in the game and you will succeed. I wish you the best of luck and continued success in your new venture
Even though they claim the components are broken in, it usually takes 80,000 before you see the fuel mileage approaching what it should be.
Good luck on your purchase, and keep us up to date on your progress.
Where will you work the truck. I drove a late model Volvo in 2016, really enjoyed it. Don't idle it, plugs up dpf. The air governor on the firewall is probably set too low about 105. Set at factory and no adjustment possible. Replace it and set it for 120 lbs. Get extra belts, idler pullies, and fuel filters. Watch front wheel bearings, have seen them fail. Also get a storage box between frame rails behind cab. Hope you got a good inverter, really liked cooking with electric frying pan. Refrigerator not a long lasting device.
Probably a little short wheelbase for flatbed work, but you will make it work with a good attitude and trust in God. Usually it is reccomended to find the work or lease and then buy the truck to fit the job. When starting cold, push the key in to activate the warming process of the intake air, then when the light goes off starts easier. It has 3 oil filters, the 3rd one is used after the first 2 have filled with containments. Advise you to add a ecopure bypass filter system and synthetic oil.
Setup a good habit of maintaince now.
Put it on paper and follow it to the letter.
Learn what oil change cycle you can do, and half way start with the OAs and get a track record, do the first few oil changes on time but then see if you can start extending it out a little bit or go to full synthetic with a bypass to save money.
Also get a full ecm dump in case you even need to get an ecm replaced and to see what you can want to change, you may find something neat that makes life easier.
Good luck with your venture.
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