I'm a vet wanting to become an owner operator. Where should I start?

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by Gnometoad, Aug 8, 2021.

  1. SoulScream84

    SoulScream84 Road Train Member

    Mar 21, 2020
    Those are all things you learn best on somebody elses dime.
    My partner doesn't like to advertise either, and he'll tell you other than when applying for jobs it means nothing. He's learning that the game is much different as an o/o, and his thinking is changing, but he admitted last week he'd have failed and bailed already without me being on top of the numbers game.
    Frank Speak Thanks this.
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  3. N00bLaLoosh

    N00bLaLoosh Medium Load Member

    May 13, 2021
    How did you get your CDL?
    Dockbumper Thanks this.
  4. Dockbumper

    Dockbumper Road Train Member

    Apr 29, 2020
    Yup! I really didn't get a good handle on OTR until around year 2-3. This job isn't as easy as pick up a load and deliver it! After almost 5 years, I have no desire to go the O/O route. I was self employed most of my adult life. Had several successful businesses as well as several unsuccessful ones. I get a full benefits package, good time off, a 401k match, and a nice direct deposit every Friday. Hats off to those of you that have pursued and succeeded in the O/O end of this industry. I am happier than a pig in $#!+ as a Company driver.
    JustCallMeDriver Thanks this.
  5. King Michael

    King Michael Light Load Member

    Nov 20, 2018
    Don't join ooida, they are overpriced and the same services can be found alot cheaper elsewhere.
    Do not do a lease purchase thru a company, it's not in your best interest.
    Buy a good used truck mileage under 450k unless the engine was rebuilt. Pay extra for a 4 year warranty.
    When you do buy parts, buy them online.
    Do not buy tires at truck stops.
    Get a long wheelbase, better ride. Short wheelbase is a rougher ride.

    Buy thru a bank, most used truck dealers will help you with that.
    With ok credit expect to pay ballpark of 1500$ a month.

    Do not get your license or training in from a trucking company.

    Read contract carefully.
    Stay out of Canada and California.
    Research potential companies.
    You want companies that pay a percentage of the linehaul NOT by the mile.
    You also want a company that has 50/50 or less company drivers.
    The more owner operators the better.

    Typically (on average) from best paying to worst paying...
    Heavy haul... pays BEST, need experience
    Tankers... Need experience
    Flatbeds... Good starting point
    Reefers... Pull dry and temp loads
    Dry vans pay lowest

    I'd Stay away from swift, jb hunt, Schneider, Steven's, prime and similar companies

    If I were just starting, I'd try for flatbed company.
    $2 a mile to the truck, excluding fuel surcharge is the lowest I'd go.
    Be careful, some companies do not pass thru 100% of fuel surcharge to you, (if they don't, they are stealing from you)
    Also, be careful of the rate you are quoted...
    You want "X" amount to truck
    "X" amount fuel (fuel surcharge)

    Example 950 mile trip / 3500 linehaul / 70% of linehaul / plus fuel surcharge.

    Example 3500 (linehaul) x .70 (your percentage) = 2450 (to the truck)
    2450 / 950 = 2.57 a mile to the truck, plus fuel surcharge.

    That was a general example.

    Pay attention to where you are going... Taking a load out to east bumf**k no where means you will have to deadhead (no pay) further to get your next load.

    Do not get sucked into a company that says "we pay all miles empty and loaded" (there is a couple that pay decent), but I'd stay away.

    Starting out in flatbed is ok, but... There is usually trailer rent, and you need equipment (if you buy thru truck company they will take payments out until paid off, that's OK)
    Average cost of mix of used / new equipment is 3500$.

    If you have the cash on hand, you can buy used from someone else.
  6. King Michael

    King Michael Light Load Member

    Nov 20, 2018
    No, it doesn't mean you have to be a low down individual, aggressive and jump over you buddy... I have been trucking for 30 years. All of that has been as an owner operator except for my first 8.5 months.
    I work an between 8 and 9 months a year, the rest is vacation and a week or two off at a time. I never stay out more than a month. And my gross is 170 - 180 a year.
    The c**p of the industry is those who will ultimately fail with absolutely no mind for business and lots and lots of bad decisions.

    If you are an o/o and you have to be a low down, jump over your buddy, aggressive individual... You are leased to the wrong company or working with the wrong brokers.
    If you are a company driver... Close your mouth re o/o because you don't have a clue as to what you are talking about.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2021
    Reason for edit: Removed insult
    Short Fuse EOD Thanks this.
  7. JustCallMeDriver

    JustCallMeDriver Light Load Member

    May 5, 2021
    But how do you really feel?
    N00bLaLoosh Thanks this.
  8. Mr Uturn

    Mr Uturn Bobtail Member

    Jul 30, 2021
    Even though most of the posters sound like A-holes. When you cut thru the crap, most of what they said is the real deal.
    When i got out, i also had a Class A license.
    As im sure you no poogie bait and booze cost more in the field.
    So i had my Uncle sugar put combination vechiles on my sf46. So i could pull the water buffalo back to the rear.
    When i got out I had never seen the inside of a semi, but i had a license to operate them.
    With all that in mind, i would suggest you do like many of us did. Become a company driver first, learn the ropes then if you still want go Owner op. Unless you have a 7-10 year trucking industey vet to mentor you daily.
    *side note* I was a 19D but you will soon learn. Tons of stolen valor. No one was a remf, or peace time soldier.
    Most truckers were combat, Sf, delta, rangers,seal, recon, cia phoenix force, top secret Pj operators. Just don't ask what mos, unit, or coin them.
  9. CowboyTim

    CowboyTim Medium Load Member

    Nov 2, 2018
    But you...

    I mean...
  10. Dino soar

    Dino soar Road Train Member

    Dec 8, 2017
    Not to knock anyone but I think he gave his background as being a veteran just to kind of say here is who I am and where I've been and this is my background can you give me some advice.

    I agree with the others it's best if you work somewhere for a few years and then venture out on your own. At that point if you want your own truck you'll be able at least to lease on somewhere if you choose to or if you want to get your own authority at least with some recent experience of a few years it won't be so colossal the price.

    Without at least a few years experience I don't think any company would lease you on and your insurance will be outrageous although you can call and find out.

    There are some that have started without working elsewhere and you can do the same if you choose to. I would just say that there is a learning curve and for every mistake that you make, it will cost you money.

    So if you have a real excess of money and you don't want to take the time to drive anywhere then you'll be paying for your own mistakes as you go.

    If you search through the owner operator section there plenty of threads about starting out and expenses and figuring cost. There is double yellows guide which is apparently pretty good very popular, but there are plenty of other stories about how people got started, how much money they had, how much more it cost them than they thought, some people that just had to stop because they went broke, etc etc. And some that started out with a $10,000 or less truck and luckily they made it. That is about .00001% of success stories.

    If you do your research on the site, and by the way even if you Google different questions a lot of times this site will come up, but if you do your research then you can ask more specific questions and will be able to further help you.

    Good luck.
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