Going owner op with Werner

Discussion in 'Werner' started by PermanentTourist, Dec 30, 2016.

  1. PermanentTourist

    PermanentTourist Medium Load Member

    Nov 9, 2016
    48 states + Canada
    Hey guys, I already posted this question in the ask an owner op forum, and got some decent answers, but then it devolved into the standard old truck vs new truck, freightliner vs kenworth, DEF sucks kinda bs. So I thought I'd copy and paste it here, hopefully the mods won't nail me for reposting...

    TLDR: is Werner Fleet Sales owner op program a decent way to transition from company driver to full independent owner op?

    The long version...

    First a little background. I've been a company driver with Werner for about two and a half years, it's the only company I've driven for. My plan from the beginning was to become an owner-operator eventually, and I was planning to save up money and buy my own truck and go independent or maybe with Landstar. I know a lot of people hate on Werner but I have not had a bad time, other than the fact that their night and weekend dispatch are completely useless and the shops/terminals are a hassle. I might be just a number to them, but they leave me alone to do my job without putting weird cameras on the truck or telling me which route to take at cetera. I get plenty of miles, usually about 3,500 a week, and at $0.40 a mile I usually clear a thousand a week after taxes. I am happily homeless with no family or expenses such as rent, so money has been easy to save.

    So now I've got about 30 grand saved up and I started planning to make a move this spring. But as I started doing research, quitting Werner and buying a truck is seeming increasingly intimidating. Getting financing with my bad credit, figuring out where to get freight, all the permits, insurance, personal health insurance, not to mention the transition period between quitting Werner and starting to make money again... it's a steep learning curve to the point of almost being an impenetrable wall.

    Then I talked to a Werner owner op the other day. I used to scoff at Werner owner operator program because I didn't know how can they make money for only about a dollar per mile I thought they get paid. The owner op told me about the fuel surcharge which I didn't know about, and also about the sliding scale where the short trips are actually more like $2 a mile. He says he averages about $1.40 a mile. (No, he wasn't trying to BS-recruit me for a referral bonus like those Crete drivers keep trying to for some reason. He didn't even ask for my name or nothing like that). So I looked into it, got some documents emailed to me from Werner that explain how it works ,and it's starting to seem pretty tempting:

    The transition period is literally two days from turning in your company truck to heading out in my own truck, and they do all that intimidating bureaucracy for you

    Paid deadhead miles

    They pay tolls, cargo insurance at cetera

    Surprisingly affordable health insurance, only about 230 a month for a good plan, only a hundred bucks more than what I pay as a company driver. Landstar on the other hand has no health insurance at all.

    They will approve me even with my subpar credit, based on my good employee history.

    Of course there are some drawbacks, namely none of that sweeta$$ hundred dollars an hour detention pay when at a customer that takes a long time to load, and also semi-forced dispatch with only an option to refuse trips rather than being able to pick and choose juicy ones online like with Landstar or Shender owner op. And some dumb little things like having to pay 35 bucks a month for the dubious privilege of having the stupid Qualcomm in the truck. But I can live with all that for another year.

    So I thought, maybe I should just do that - buy a $60,000 truck with still a bit of factory warranty left , use $20,000 savings as a fat down payment, put the other $10, 000 away as an emergency repairs fund, and use all my income to bomb that loan hard and pay it off in less than a year. Then once the truck is fully paid off, start the process of going fully independent and starting to make the real bucks. The transition has got to be easier to do with a fully paid off truck to your name.

    What do guys think? Have any of you dealt with the Werner owner op conversion program? Am I being too naive about something or being misinformed somehow? The fleet sales guy at Werner said there is no contract or early payoff fees, if the truck is paid off I'm free to leave with it whenever - are there any hidden things they're not telling me about? Any input helps. Thanks.
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  3. FlexinTarzan

    FlexinTarzan Medium Load Member

    Jan 8, 2012
    Stanfield, OR
    Might want to give Freemont Contract Carriers a jingle as they have fleet trks for sale.
  4. KB3MMX

    KB3MMX Road Train Member

    Dec 29, 2014
    Orrstown, PA
    I suggest keep waiting , keep learning ... Trust me you won't regret this.
    Learn the things you need to be truly independent...Not just a lease op.

    Reason is, you don't have all your eggs in one basket and you get the whole cut , not a percentage.

    Anyways , keep plugging away and it'll happen. BTW , averaging $1.40 on all miles is far far below what you can make as your own MC.
    Getting yourself a good mentor for the process is also highly advised , they can help guide you on your journey to being your own man.
    TequilaSunrise Thanks this.
  5. jinxutoo001

    jinxutoo001 Light Load Member

    Aug 11, 2013
    What are your fixed expenses, insurance, plates, qualcom, etc?
    Watch out for the fleet truck sales. The fleets are running the trucks with minimal maintenance.
  6. Steinbrenner

    Steinbrenner Light Load Member

    Apr 11, 2013
    West Palm Beach, FL
    If I was you I'd stay at least another year as a driver.
    After you make all the numbers you're better off than being IO and have one single responsibility, drive the truck.
  7. Roteck

    Roteck Light Load Member

    Dec 18, 2016
    Abilene, TX
    How on earth are you getting 40 cpm with Werner? OTR pays 35 cpm and TCU pays 30 cpm, what account are you running to get 40 cpm? Team? I'm curious is all not questioning the truth. If there is a way to make 40 cpm as a company driver with Werner I want to know it! And what account are you running to get 3500 miles a week?
    TequilaSunrise Thanks this.
  8. TequilaSunrise

    TequilaSunrise Medium Load Member

    Feb 3, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    Have you considered working for a different company. This will give you a new perspective on the industry and you can learn new things there that you won't be able to learn where you're at. Also if you go to a company that pays more per mile they're more likely to pay their lease operators more money per mile.

    The fact that you've been able to save that much shows that you're definitely on the right track however I would I would want more experience more knowledge on how to run a trucking business before I decided to use all the money I have into something like that.

    Plenty of people here have had issues with the Warner leases. Even though you're starting out in a really great place all the money and all the hard work that you've done in the last few years can be wiped out with a bad lease almost instantly.
    PermanentTourist Thanks this.
  9. KillingTime

    KillingTime Road Train Member

    Mar 26, 2016
    Rockland, Maine
    Minimal, but regular.
    Prob is you don't know which gear-grinding-non-manual trained dip-#### ground the teeth off your drive gears.
    jinxutoo001 and driverdriver Thank this.
  10. nax

    nax Road Train Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    That is what concerns me re: fleet owned trucks...

    And for this reason, I feel it's better to do a short term lease of a new truck, then transition that specific VIN into O/O after lease is over since you know that specific piece of equipment
  11. AceMatt

    AceMatt Bobtail Member

    Dec 29, 2016
    The rate goes up with experience. At 2 years, I believe its 38 cpm, maybe he just rounded up a little. The 3500 per week is what I would like to know. That was always hard to do for me because of all the short runs i got Monday through Thursday
    PermanentTourist Thanks this.
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