Making the switch to OO

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by rook75, Apr 13, 2007.

  1. rook75

    rook75 Bobtail Member

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    Apr 13, 2007
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    I am pretty new to the trucking world and am a fleet driver right now. I know that I eventualy want to be my own boss. Does anyone have any advice about how long I should wait? What are the main things I will need to know or do differently once I am driving on my own?
     
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  3. Burky

    Burky Road Train Member

    Ahhh, the eternal question. How well you will do on your own will be in direct proportion to how well you gather information before you start. If you want to make money doing the O/O deal, (and I assume that you do!) then that becomes an even bigger question.

    First off, you need to figure out a place or niche in the trucking industry where you can make a little bit more money than the average guy. You are not going to find fortune and fame driving up and down the road dragging a dry van when everyone else is doing the same thing at starvation rates. You need to develop some specific skills or qualifications that will bring you and your income up above the herd average. You need to find someplace where you are paid for some other abilities than just holding the steering wheel for endless hours. If you can't make a better than average living as a company driver, then there is no way that you will have transferable skills that will make your time worth more as an O/O. Let me suggest something like bulk hauling, chemical hauling, overdimensional freight, or something along those lines. Something a bit more specialized than the run of the mill van or reefer puller who has plenty of competition already.

    Second thing, you will need to learn how to own a truck. That means owning the right truck, which may be the truck you need, not the truck you want. For example, you may work for someone who uses relatively lightweight, short wheelbase, small sleeper trucks to do their work, and you go out and buy a large and long Pete or KW and then discover it doesn't fit into some of the places you need to get into and it won't haul a full load because it weighs too much. You need to learn how to pick the right machine for the job and keep your ego out of it as much as possible. You need to learn as much as you can about maintenance and repairing it, since having a mech work on every little thing will break the bank in short order. You also need a place to work on it and the correct tools before the truck shows up on your doorstep.

    Then comes the information part. For a minimum of 2 years, you need to gather every bit of data that you can about your preferred niche to work in. learn exactly how many miles a truck runs on average, learn how many loaded vice empty. keep track of how the company runs you, and keep track of how others including O/O's are being dispatched. See if there are differences in who gets the good loads or are they dispatched evenly. Figure out how much is being paid to the O/O's and calculate your loads as if they were being paid that way. This computer I am typing on has a spreadsheet set up to gather that very info, and has about 16 months worth of data on it. This is the info you will use to make your decisions on, before you commit to buying a truck and all that goes with it.

    Find a good O/O or two and make friends and have them mentor you along the way. You will pick up a lot from them if they are good, and learn from the mistakes they have made already.

    This info is just a start, but it's the bare minimum. Some people do it with less, and they can be a valuable resource when they go out of business and their trucks are sold off by the repo guy. If you want to do it right, plan it like you would any other small business venture. it takes lots of planning and effort to make it work.

    There are many people who can hold the steering wheel and drive a truck. There are a lot less who can be a successful O/O. You need to stack the deck in your favor from the bery beginning.
     
  4. Matthews

    Matthews Medium Load Member

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    Apr 5, 2007
    Akron,OH
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    DAM Good Advice Burky!!!!!!

    overdimensional freight / Special LOADs / Permited Freight ect.....
    Good Advice!

    My 2 Cents,
    Matthew :biggrin_25525:
     
  5. badrabbet

    badrabbet Bobtail Member

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    Apr 27, 2007
    Wisconson
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    I am in the same boat, I am realy thinking about going O/O and getting my truck. I am looking it getting a KW. My other half and are talking about doing this togather.
     
  6. rook75

    rook75 Bobtail Member

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    Apr 13, 2007
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    Thanks alot. this information is very helpfull. i have alot to think about before deciding to make the switch.
     
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