Not a driver, considering getting authority.

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by Spoolin’, May 14, 2021.

  1. Spoolin’

    Spoolin’ Bobtail Member

    May 14, 2021
    This is my first post here, forgive me for writing a novel. I’m excited to have found this forum and hope to find a lot of good info.

    I spent 6 years working on Mercedes Benz. It was fun, made way more money than you would ever expect a mechanic to make but ultimately there was no personal growth in areas that I want to work on for myself. I came across a fairly new trucking company that was small, but growing quickly. I think one of the best ways to learn a business is get in while it’s new and they’re moving in the right direction. I took the leap and got on with this company hoping to develop people skills, networking skills, some negotiation skills and management. I guess I kind of took on an “assistant operations manager” position. I dispatch loads to 4 53’ flatbeds and 3 flatbed hotshots. I manage the drivers and solve any issues they may have. I handle most of the paperwork aside from IFTA and legal matters. All has been well, definitely getting everything I expected x5. It’s a wild industry for sure, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge. I’m getting to the point now of feeling like I do 85% of the day to day operations as an employee, why not slightly increase the work load and build something myself? This is where my questions arise.

    Currently all of our drivers are 1099, we have a few good ones but most are guys who would get turned away from bigger businesses. They lack initiative, are not motivated by money and just are not interested in operating the way we ask to make our jobs easier. Would incorporating a payroll company and offering W2’s likely increase our chances of finding better drivers? I’d definitely plan to offer W2 and potentially benefits if I did start something, once it made sense to do so.

    Being small, our owner is currently all go. If it’s not profitable, he wants no part of it. Which means our trucks don’t get serviced until there’s a problem. As a former technician, this drives me insane. What do you owners do for truck maintenance schedules and upkeep? Also, how bad of a hurdle is it booking loads for the first 6-12 months with a new MC?

    Lastly, any owners without a CDL who started up, what are some things you wish you knew/would have done sooner? Any must haves for day to day operations? Tips on finding and vetting drivers? I appreciate any and all feedback!
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  3. Chinatown

    Chinatown Road Train Member

    Aug 28, 2011
    Henderson, NV & Orient
  4. roundhouse

    roundhouse Medium Load Member

    Jul 11, 2018
    So the company owns the trucks but the drivers are 1099 ?
  5. wis bang

    wis bang Road Train Member

    Jan 12, 2011
    Levittown, PA
    Strict preventative maintenance programs work.

    Both Chen Leaman and Matlack, in their day had active maintenance programs that included internal practices that saved money in the long run and had the army of bean counters to prove it.

    Downingtown could tell, by tracking the tire brand numbers, the miles every tire ran and how may times it was recapped, etc. EVERY tire!

    Both had standardized fleets of Mack R-600's with the infamous 'camelback' spring tandem suspension and had strict guidelines. Matlack would change both springs when one broke and an 'old' spring wasn't available. putting a new spring against used would be back in soon needing another spring.

    Leaman would ship the spring to the local spring shop and have the broken leaf replaced and re-install it for the same results. I got to work one summer in the 'rebuild' shop and every truck coming in, 150K tune up, body work, blown engines, anything had the camelback U bolts re-torqued to 1600 ft pounds. The boss told us that it reduced the number of broker springs to the point where the 'counters' said it saved over $500K a year after the 3 rebuild shops adopted the re-torque program. Being the 'college kid', I spent a ton of time either holding the torque multiplier or rowing the big torque wrench...2 guys and we switched off after each nut.

    Such strict adherence to a PM program costs money.and Chevy rates won't pay Mercedes shop invoices. Go slowly and maintain your equipment as you grow and you might do well.

    There are Driver qualification people who could help you hire better men, Matlack used a psych test that measured Drive, Initiative, Steadiness and Compliance favoring company drivers who scored higher in the last two. Someone who will call when in trouble and follow instructions.

    Every owner operator scored highest in drive and initiative [as they should] and we had to 'cook' the results to get them hired.

    Small operations cannot afford to go to such efforts and despite paying w2 and a good wage you will soon discover that trucking IS an industry where you hire your problems.

    Ridgeline should chime in here, he's walking the walk and can say a lot.
    Midwest Trucker and slow.rider Thank this.
  6. slow.rider

    slow.rider Road Train Member

    Apr 4, 2017
    Just about everybody is struggling to find drivers these days.
    Dino soar and Midwest Trucker Thank this.
  7. Spoolin’

    Spoolin’ Bobtail Member

    May 14, 2021
    Yes, they just drive the companies equipment.
  8. skallagrime

    skallagrime Heavy Load Member

    Apr 10, 2012

    Hes saying in that situation, they are employees and need to be on w2
  9. Ridgeline

    Ridgeline Road Train Member

    Dec 18, 2011
    First off I tell people don’t bother, this is a lot of work to setup and to maintain profitability. You have zero business experience and even less in this industry, you are just touching the surface, that’s it.


    no Bucky, you will double if not tripple the workload.

    See what you don’t get is at the end of your day now, you get to go home. If you don’t show up tomorrow, then the work is still there and someone else does it.

    as an owner, you don’t get to go home, this business is your life. If you don’t show up tomorrow, the business stops.

    1099 has to be setup in a very specific way, you don’t hire a driver under 1099, you contract with them, so your owner I bet doesn’t have a contract with any driver which means they are employees. They are being dispatched and I bet they can’t refuse work which also makes them employees.

    Drivers are the biggest problem, your owner is lazy enough he just hires crap drivers. I have very few, maybe a half of a dozen who expect the work to come to them, that’s not the business model but they are producers so they are staying. In the past, I’ve had drivers who wouldn’t even take a load unless there was a lot of money in it, they are gone.

    W2 is the only way to go unless you want to do the work to build a business where the drivers do their own dispatching.

    he is cheap, I hate cheap owners, they make our industry look bad, especially the 1099 fleets like mine.

    I do preventive maintenance with key components being changed out before the failure average limit is met.

    Most fleets and many owners don’t understand how to determine the risk and keep a high reliability let alone understand b-10/b-50 ratings.

    the up front costs pay for itself when there is a lack of downtime when something happens.

    yep lazy owner, needs to put a lot of effort into seeking out driver who want to work and make money.
  10. roundhouse

    roundhouse Medium Load Member

    Jul 11, 2018

    If they are driving a vehicle owned by the company and have forced dispatch , they are employees , not contractors.
    And the IRS will be on their case sooner or later.
  11. Old Man

    Old Man Road Train Member

    Apr 3, 2009
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Any driver 1099 driver that wants to can contact the irs and get the company to pay their half of SS , I know several that went broke after a irs audit.
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