Opportunity Knocks: Should I Become an Intermodal Owner Operator?

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by philjo, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. philjo

    philjo Light Load Member

    Dec 22, 2008
    Although I only have a year under my belt, a local intermodal company will hire me as an owner op granted I have my own truck. Well my cousin works there and is wanting to upgrade and is willing to sell me his ride on pymts. This is definitely a huge pro as is being home every evening and off weekends which is important to me while my kids are young. Actually this deal seems to good to be true with everything I've been told. The pymts are affordable as they should be for a 2000 model flat top freight shaker, lol. Money that can be earned, medical insurance is affordable and a good plan. I realize my responsibilities will triple but I guess im just skeptical or scared to jump in with both feet. Good fortunes don't usually fall into my lap, if it does its covered in ######! Anyway, if anyone has any words of encouragement or bewares id greatly appreciate.
  2. Kansas

    Kansas Road Train Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    aircap, Ks.
    I jumped in, and never looked back as an O/O. Just make sure you have finances for truck repair. They will break down on you when you are least ready for it.
    TmGM Thanks this.
  3. FilthyMcNasty

    FilthyMcNasty Light Load Member

    What he said.....times 5
  4. stranger

    stranger Road Train Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    On the other side, Intermodal pays less than other freight, loads are usually heavier, the fuel mileage will be worse because of the rib sided trailers and bias ply tires, and you will spend hours finding, and getting trailers repaired, not to mention the check in waiting time at the ports and rail yards.

    Look at the trucks that have been running intermodal for any legnth of time. They are ragged out. Look at both sides before deciding. Some people like it, some don't.

    NYROADIE Heavy Load Member

    Jun 24, 2010
    Rochester NY
    Don't do it! Buy a truck from ANYONE but not a friend or family member:biggrin_25513:. What happens when he says it's in good shape and 5 or 6 months from now the clutch goes or a rear end or it drops a valve? What's Thanksgiving dinner going to be like after that? Been there and done it on a smaller scale and never did get all my $$ and now the car's wrecked( course he got paid by insurance)
  6. rogueunh

    rogueunh Heavy Load Member

    Jan 4, 2011
    That's why when you buy a used car or truck from a friend or family you buy it "AS IS". And both parties understand that, it's very simple to understand.

    I'd like to think this guy has enough common sense to realize that a 12 year old Freightliner is going to have repairs on the horizon.
  7. 123456

    123456 Road Train Member

    Oct 22, 2010

    Have you done any intermodal hauling ???

    It is a little different from regular OTR work,

    to say the least !!!!

    Good Luck !!
  8. philjo

    philjo Light Load Member

    Dec 22, 2008
    I hear ya, my cousin and i are pretty tight and work together well. No bickering just beer and laughs. What Im thinking is that I should take a certain percentage out of each weeks pay and put aside for those not so good days, maybe 25%. My cousin is strict with maintence, he changes oil every 10,000 miles, lubes chassis every weekend. The truck has all new virgin rubber, its getting new rear brake drums this weekend and it has only 180,000 on a engine overhaul. I think mechanically its sound especially for the short trips and piece of mind for me as a first truck purchase. If I follow his proposed plan it'll take 12mos. to pay off. Id like to do it earlier.

    We dont have any ports here in the Louisville Ky area but I get what your saying. We do have a couple rail yards but from what I hear its better than sitting at a dock for who knows how long and eating up your time if your running legal.:biggrin_25525:

    As far as Intermodal paying less. Maybe for most experienced O/O but for a guy just starting out it doubles my current income, after all expenses paid. Fuel mileage is less Im sure because of the shorter runs and more stop and go. This particular company doesnt go any further than 100 miles, most are inside 50.

    Working OTR for the last year Ive learned alot about living like a dog and having someone else tell me when I can eat and sleep. Im not knocking it, I can also see the benefits of it, but for me who has two young kids involved in sports and trying to be the dad I never had, its not for me. I run much harder than most just to have that balance with work and home. I wont go into detail on here, but I would make a super trucker proud!:biggrin_2559:
    TmGM Thanks this.
  9. Numb

    Numb Crusty Curmudgeon

    Jan 30, 2012
    did intermodal for a couple yrs. I never got in and out of a truck as much in a week as I did in a DAY !!!!!!!!!!! lol. 10 d/h in a lOOOOOONG day. I was a co driver, but they paid some guys $125. to go 15 miles to d/hook. depends on the rail freight pay.

    good luck.
  10. gravdigr

    gravdigr Road Train Member

    May 2, 2011
    Hollidaysburg, PA
    Maybe a little off topic but I hear ya about wanting to be home more. I got a new family with my girlfriend, inherited an 18yo son who is graduating high school this year and going to UTI tech school (I'm pushing for diesel mech but all kids want to do nowadays is learn hot rods and move to cali) and a 10yo daughter who I adore and she is POd I'm gone so much. If I don't make it home for the daddy/daughter dance in april she will be crushed.

    Yeah being a company driver sucks. I was my own boss for a long time before I got into trucking. I'm looking into o/o as soon as it's financially viable. If the truck is as nice as you say and your cousin isn't blowing smoke I say go for it. From my research there are benefits to a pre emission truck being able to make it get much better fuel mileage. Kevin rutherford, he has a show on the trucker channel on sirius, would love that truck. He runs all pre 2004 trucks in his fleet and gets then to average 8mpg. The big question is can you afford the first breakdown until your maintenance fund gets built up. Anything can happen on the road.
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