This is my best honest answer- list all of your problems and complaints about being a company driver. Look at them carefully- then understand that as an O/O you are going to have the same problems. But, now you can't walk away from them and get a real job because you have big truck payments, your quarterly IRS payment is late, you have to pay for your own repairs, your wife wants to know why you are never home anymore, fuel costs $1,000.00 a tankful- your miles are shrinking because of the summer slump.... Truth is, today you drive a truck. After you buy a truck the truck drives you. I guarantee my friend, life WILL be more stressful and complicated. And, you might lose your house, kids and spouse when the smoke clears. Are you SURE you want to risk such a move while the economy's sinking?
help!!! i am thinking of becoming an owner operator
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Economy is sinking?!? Are you kidding? Sure, politicians hate a responsible recovery. But a slow grow back is what is needed and is the best things for trucking. Booms are followed by busts.
If you have the money this is probably one of the best times to get into being an independent O/O. Summer Slump? That is so '07. When the economy turned companies shrank inventories and implemented more Just in Time freight. The slump would be demand down 10%. Now it is estimated to be off less than 3% in most areas.
Ready manufacturing and logistics news and you will see that one of the issues facing these companies is what was once a 4-5 day shipping window has shrunk to less than 24-hours. That is great news for the trucking industry. And they are screaming louder than truckers about the proposed HOS rule changes.
But the same rules apply now as before. If you don't have the capital to run a trucking business then you are going to find heart ache and despair no matter what the outlook is.
My 2 cents:
7 1/2 years ago I started driving for Swift. 6 months later I became an o/o leased to Swift. I bought an older, high mileage tractor and haven't had any regets about doing so. I am still at Swift and I still have the same tractor.
The things you need to learn to be a sucessful o/o will not be learned by being a company driver.
Sure, a lot of people, good people, have failed. In most cases it was by getting into a truck they couldn't afford, either because of cost of the truck payment or because of operating costs. They could never build up a reserve to tide them over the rough patches.
As an o/o you have a lot more control over your life, and that may be the most important benefit.
I don't like connecting the dots for people, but I will in this case. The above quote is out of a story called, "Paradise Lost" by John Milton. It's a Christian story about the fall of Satan and the rise of man.
The quote above is actually a very accurate description of being an O/O. You have total control over your destiny. Be it good or bad. Total control is what the main drive to being an O/O is after all. Control over your loads, off time, you name it.
Of course I'm speaking of either running on a percentage lease like LS or having your own authority. Mileage based leases and forced dispatches not so much. Savvy?
Want to be an O/O because you don't like down time? How about downtime with 4,000.00 coming out of your own pocket? (Hell)
Want to be an O/O because you want to control where you go, when you go and how long you're gone? (Heaven) you can follow the money or take runs that keep you close to home.
With every gain in one area, there's risk in another. This is the hook. Didn't mean to offend your Christian sensibilities.
I wouldn't do it if I were leasing without cash for a down payment and a few thousand for repairs and fuel ($8,000). I wouldn't do it if were running my own authority without the above plus a trailer down payment, an insurance down payment, money for authority, base plates & permits and doubling my repair and fuel capital ($17,000).
I've done it with no cash and a new truck that broke down for ten days the first trip. I lost everything. That means possessions and family before I finished failing.
As for the economy, if we get four more years of what we've had I'm not sure it can be fixed in the next twenty years. Are we in a recovery? Yes, I base that on construction starts in Nixa, MO and OKC, OK. Two places I have worked HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical. Still I think it will be another two years before the average American, like myself, feels this recovery.
If we keep our present leadership, I predict a depression not a set-back. If you could spend your way out of trouble we'd all be talking in the millionaire forums not the trucking forums.
I hope my post isn't too political - believe me I took out many things. I just don't know how to talk about the economy without stating facts. If it is I apologize, take it away.
Find the time to read these three threads at the very least:
EDIT: Make it four posts.Last edited: Jul 6, 2011
BigBadBill Thanks this.
i have always been an entrepreneur...correct spelling?... and i don't believe anybody has more control over my future than i do...after all, this is the land of opportunity, not the land of entitlement...right? i know that is what God intended when he gave us this country. i know there has to be a way to succeed or there wouldn't be so many truck drivers out there. there would be alot more bankruptcies and empty trucks sitting at dealerships...i wouldn't have to worry about finding a place to park after 4pm.BigJohn54 Thanks this.
my plan, or at least what i think it is...since i am still blind.... is to buy an older truck with an isx motor for fuel economy, maybe a 9400 with overhaul. i would plan on putting away 20% of gross for repairs, in an effort to play it safe. i would probably lease or rent a reefer trailer to get started, and just run load boards until i found the right broker with the right freight. i would try to be very selective of the freight i run, considering terrain, home time, etc...i understand there are alot of variables to be considered. one thing i am definitely not sure of is the other costs, such as fuel taxes by state, IRS stuff, etc... i have spent most of my working life trying to avoid giving my money to the government.
as much as i do enjoy driving a truck, this is absolutely not about lifestyle or glamour for me. it is about making money and feeding my family, and hopefully having enough left to retire or pursue other interests. as much as i like them, i don't need a hood truck or chicken lights, a fancy radio that puts everyone else in the red, or the fastest truck on the road. in fact, i would probably plan on doing this for about 5 years and then moving on. my ultimate dream is to buy a farm out in the middle of nowhere with a 200 yr old house and just live there until a tornado takes us away...lol.
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