My brother and I are about to embark on the same journey. Although we have a different reason, we are pretty much the same story. With no trucking experience, we want to start a 1 truck operation with a hired driver. We both grew up in a blue collar world, mostly operating farm machinery. We grew up, both got professional degrees, and have worked in a mostly white collar world since then.
He is about 5 years away from retirement and I am about 5 years behind him. We both miss the blue collar world and we want back in. At this point, a large profit is not our main concern. We want to make a little profit and learn a lot. If you don't mind, I may reach out to you for advice every once in a while.
No experience but getting Authority
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PM if you like, or better yet start a thread. I can't remember the number, but you have to have a minimum number of posts to send PMs. Starting a thread is a quick way to achieve that minimum. Best I can tell it's either 7 or 10 posts. It's been a while so I don't know for sure.
If you do post a thread, don't discount the nay-sayers out of hand, or take the advice you don't want to hear too personal.
Regarding your situation only one thing stands out to me at the moment. I had just turned 45 when I started this up. I'm 55 now. Other than having to study a little to pass the BP test on the DOT physical, I'm generally healthy and fit for my age. I recently got back in the gym restarting the powerlifting I quit about the time I started in trucking, so maybe will do better on my next physical. I also take my 70lb pit bull on the road with me and she takes me for lots of walks everywhere we park, as well as me carrying her in and out of the cab. So that helps too.
Realistically I believe I can keep doing this for at least 10 more years, maybe 15. My Dad is still alive and 76, and I watched him get noticeably less physically able about the time he hit 70. The men in my family who have passed away in the past 20 years have mostly made it into their late 70's. Kind of a grim milestone to watch, but more relevant each year that goes by.
With that in mind, it took me about 5 years for the learning curve to flatten out enough to breathe a little easier. Passing the 10 year mark, I'm established well enough that I don't spend much time at all second guessing my decisions any more. Obviously that's gonna be a different set of numbers for everyone.
Here's some perspective: I worked with my hands until my early 30's, then completed my undergrad degree with honors, and spent 14 years working in I/T, finishing as a senior project manager running contracts worth into the 100's of millions. I've never struggled to pick up new things and succeed. Reading that mini-resumé you'd think I was eminently qualified to do anything, especially start a simple trucking business. Truth be told, all that qualification did for me is keep me from going bankrupt the first two years despite my best efforts to fail.
The time investment to do this right and come out a survivor is no joke. I can't state this enough: right now you don't know just how much you don't know. I'm guessing you're around my age. My advice right now is: carefully consider what you envision yourself doing 5 and 10 years from now. If your gut is telling you to go for it, then at least limit your exposure for the first 5 years by spending each dollar like it's the last one you'll ever have, and have an exit plan.
I appreciate the response. I am actually 44 years old. I will have a good retirement and feel like I will still be in good enough shape when I fully retire to keep going. My career is my fall back. My degree is in mechanical engineering and I keep busy turning wrenches as a hobby. I feel that I am technically fit for the challenge.
We are taking it slow. We plan to buy a rig next year. Meanwhile, we are studying and planning. I also have a friend that has a truck with a hired driver, so I am watching intently for lessons learned. So far so good for that business.
Again, thanks for the reply. I look forward to learning more from this forum.
Lots of rain the last 2 days so no further progress fitting up the new truck. My sign guy did return my call on Monday, so he was busy and not mad at me or dead. That's a good thing. He's supposed to be out tomorrow, and may have done it already this afternoon. I've seen him work and trust him enough to not need to supervise the job.
Title paperwork is supposed to be in hand before noon tomorrow. Any of you in Georgia, here's a pro tip: While you have to deal with the online IRP system for your plates and wait for it to come in the mail, you can get your title app (only) done at your county tax assessor. Same place you get car titles and tags done. Complete in 15 minutes by the friendly local face behind the glass, versus the do-nuthins down at the locked up DOR office on Welcome All Rd with their stupid drop box outside and blind process that might take a week or month depending on how busy they think they are. Once you get your title receipt, the title number will work in the IRP system. Put in your order, get invoiced and pay the next day, then just wait for the plate without the extra delay up front waiting for the state office to take their time with it.
As if I didn't have enough drama, my son is at a Thermo King shop under a load. Repair ETA is midnight-ish, only $2300. I need to buy a lottery ticket tomorrow. The product in the trailer is a 60º candy load, and the ambient temp is about the same thing. Sure beats the heck out of sweating out a breakdown on a hot summer day.
I follow the 9mpg FB group. There's a half dozen of those guys posting truth, among many more posting obvious fiction. I've watched the former group intently for 2-3 years. The ones turning in the best fuel numbers are either running Volvos with a D13, or Freightliners with a DD13, with autos.
I've had 3 Freightliners and hated every one of them. Even had a not very old Ryder rental that was worse than the decade older ones I have had. The FB guys with them tended to be in the shop more often. The local dealer service near me sucks too. So a hard pass on Freightliner.
Nearly every person I know who's owned something Cummins powered has several real expensive, time consuming, sad stories to tell about repairs and warranty battles. So Cummins power is off my list.
KW and Pete make a nice cab. I'd almost be willing to roll the dice on a Paccar 13L too. I've rented a couple, including a T680 that was nearly new. The transmission is the deal breaker. Super slow off the line, chooses the wrong gear often, and is miserable in traffic unless you manual mode it. Dealers are ok, but a little distant. I'm used to the KW/Pete tax at the parts counter, so that wasn't an issue. Fuel economy reports trend about 1/2 to a full mpg below the Freighliners and Volvos. So I didn't call those guys either.
About 3 years ago I rented a Penske Volvo 670 for a couple weeks. Other than being a super cheap fleet spec, it drove great and the cab was decent. Especially being a beat up fleet rental. The iDrive auto was always in the right gear and never hunted around in traffic unless I forgot to turn off the jakes. I was impressed with the ugly yellow truck. Then in 2018 the Volvos got less ugly.
So about a year out from buying the first truck, one of the lead guys in the FB fleet gets a Mack Anthem (most of their fleet were Volvos) and starts writing trip reports that catch my attention in a good way. I do some research and see it's basically a Volvo with a Mack cab, and priced about $15-20k lower than an actual Volvo. Incidentally, I like the look of the Mack better anyway. Now this guy's got some really bleeding edge stuff spec'd on his, 6x2 with automatic lift being the biggest, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Their fleet is big enough that Volvo/Mack will spend time with them, and get them involved in some R&D projects. I know from experience that when you're on the bleeding edge of anything, it's your own blood on the floor. So I was not going to go crazy with the order, and stick with a more regular build without some of those untested extras. I didn't know how much those extras cost, but I am pretty sure the tiny bit of mpg gained and more rare parts to break or wear out, does not make the case.
About that time, I start getting email spam from the Mack salesman once a month. I never called them, they must've got my email off a list somewhere. After about 3-4 of those, I finally broke down and called. The day I visited they had 7 Anthems, spec'd out about exactly what I would have done, setting on the lot. I crawled around in one and was duly impressed with the quality of the interior. Then did about a 10 mile drive around the block and was hooked.
This was Sept last year, just before the truck market went nuts. Turns out some guy with a small fleet had ordered 8 of them, but only took delivery of one. They were also year-end production and had some incentives, namely free extended engine and emissions warranties. I decided that was the time to jump. I liked it so much I ordered a copy/paste of the first one after having it in service a little over 3 months to prove the money case out.
Except I've owned it since new, and the compressor has never been removed or needed service. It's not something a random tech would just accidentally do. More likely it's an assembly line problem that took 4 years and 12,000 hours (definitely out of warranty) to rear it's ugly head.
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