Taking the plunge. My journey as an O/O.

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by Farmerbob1, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. Farmerbob1

    Farmerbob1 Road Train Member

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    Well, finally got a couple bits of reasonable help from Crete shop guys.

    First one told me to pull my sleeper light control panel and check it for moisture. No luck. New Freightliner vents are not directly over the light control panel like old ones were.

    Second tech told me that the newest year Freightliners had a known software issue that would cause the cab done light to turn off and on, that any Crete shop should be able to get their resident Freightliner tech to straighten it out.

    In the meantime, I have 'fixed' the light with half a roll of electrical tape. I will hit the Mechanicsburg terminal tomorrow and hopefully have the lighting issue resolved Monday AM.

    We shall see.
     
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  3. Cat sdp

    Cat sdp . .

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    First rule of owning your own truck.

    Do not chase miles ever……. The less miles the better.
     
  4. Farmerbob1

    Farmerbob1 Road Train Member

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    Hmm. I can see where some folks might like that approach, but lots of short trips has it's own drawbacks. Higher deadhead%. More time at shippers and receivers. More maneuvering in yards with moon craters and speedbumps. More low temperature exhaust to clog up dpf filters.

    While I am pretty confident that a driver with good hustle can probably make more money on short runs, the difference might not be as big as many think.

    I will admit to personal bias here. I actually enjoy driving, so a 2500+ mile load makes me very happy.
     
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  5. Cat sdp

    Cat sdp . .

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    70,000 miles X $3 a mile all miles
    Or
    110,000 miles x $1,79 a mile all miles

    I’m pretty sure I know which one wins out
     
  6. TallJoe

    TallJoe Road Train Member

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    My personal opinion is this.
    Rates might be good or bad but if haul a van, anything less than 100 000 miles per year might be a shortcoming.
    That's the workload which a owner operator in his prime should be able to perform, unless he is already in a slow down mode e.g. a few years before retirement, truck / trailer paid for, $100 000 in a business bank account, no mortgage and kids on their own, etc.

    1. if rates are good, you did not work enough to take advantage of good market
    2. if rate are bad, you did not work enough to generate enough revenue to make ends meet.
    3. unless, you worked at a double pace when the rates were good but then it means way more than 100 000 miles a year. so that you can slow down in times of cheap rates.

    Why 100 000 miles? I find it balanced right for someone who wants to work hard enough and not to sacrifice too much of his private/family life. It allows enough home time and enough earnings on average market. But it is my personal take....It is equivalent/ or can be translated to 40 hour per week on a stationary job for someone who is employed as full time.

    In other words, whether it is a van, reefer or flatbed, I'd still be trying to run as much to maximize revenue.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2021
  7. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

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    I’ve only been to 1 Auction, Taylor Martin. Peoria IL. 2004. Almost everything sold high. The few very nice units that stood out, went real high. Everyone wants the jewel. I sold a 2003 Wabash Trailer at the same auction, in 2009. It sold for 13,500. About $3500 more than I had expected. I paid $4500 cash for it, when I bought my Truck for $30k. Net cost for Truck was less than $22k. I was a happy camper. Surprised too, as they had hundreds of fleet Trailers.
     
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  8. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

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    Sounds about right to me. I always figured 2300 miles a week for 48 weeks, to make a steady living. Always beat the miles per week. Always worked less than 48 weeks. Often 40 weeks and 2600-2700 avg. per week. 2500 miles per week, or 100k per year, working 40 weeks seems ideal. Taking a month off at Christmas and a month off in summer, and leaving the last 4 weeks for slow weeks and downtime.
     
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  9. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

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    I think it will payoff. The auctioneer usually makes a quick statement about the equipment. A detailed list of recent repairs, will likely stir a interest. From what I’ve seen, everyone at the auctions there to buy. Makes it tough sometimes to get a good deal. The ones that take the time to research yours, will be ready to bid. Once the bidding gets going, it ends higher than anyone had planned. You should try to be in attendance for the thrill of it all. What you going to do with all that money? Look at us as a Bonus!! Lol.
     
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  10. Rideandrepair

    Rideandrepair Road Train Member

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    All depends on what you want to do. I pull a dry van, because I prefer to Drive a few more miles, than be Tarping or waiting on produce in the field, or wasting time with Food warehouses. The killer when leased by the mile, is short trips. Even on a sliding pay scale, it’s peanuts compared to what short trips pay. All per mile pay adds up. Making an extra .50-.60 pm. Pays for fuel, or doubles your paycheck, however you want to look at it. $1.60 vs. $2.00 for all miles. Makes for an extra $4000 per mo. running 2500 miles a week. That’s 2 weeks off at home, or $40k more per yr. Depending on your priorities.
     
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  11. Farmerbob1

    Farmerbob1 Road Train Member

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    Okay, I've been putting off recap posts for a while now, but I don't want to wait until the truck I dropped off at Ritchie Brothers finally sells (auction at end of September.)

    So, first recap post is ...

    Some things I can look back at, which I would do differently the next time around.

    1. Never buy a modern used truck from a company that does not have APU's on every unit. Why? Because using the primary engine for sleeper cooling means that you are buying a truck which has had a great deal of low temperature exhaust put through the DPF system, as well as a lot more starting activity if the truck was an opti-idle truck. DPF systems degrade faster if they filter more low temperature exhaust, and lots of extra engine starting increases the amount of low-lubrication engine wear. Are these critical, horrible wear issues? No, but if you can avoid them, then avoid them. My DPF system failed under warranty at 499700 miles. 300 more miles and I would have paid about 12k for a new One-Box DPF system, parts & labor.

    2. Try to find out what the oil change interval is at a company before you buy a used truck from them. Some companies are starting to do truly stupidly excessive mileage between oil changes. For example, in my current Crete Carrier company truck, the oil change interval is planned for 75k miles with 10w30 semi-synthetic fuel. The truck I'm in isn't my problem to maintain, so I don't care, but I #### well will not even think about buying this truck or any other from Crete again unless they start maintaining their trucks better. My cracked head before 600k miles in the truck I bought from Crete and ran for 2.5 years might have been the result of poor oil condition earlier in the truck's service life, leading to heat stress weakening the head.

    3. No smoking gun here in either case, but definitely reasonable suspicions about mega-fleet maintenance shortcomings leading to large problems in their sold-off vehicles. The biggest problem with modern trucks that you will NOT be able to avoid is this: Modern trucks are designed to give about 500k miles of good service, then rapidly degrade. That's why mega companies buy them, run them 400k or so miles, then sell them to suckers like us.

    4. If you do buy a used truck and plan on operating it for long miles after the warranty is done, it would be a very good idea to locate a local shop near where you take home time. Try to find something between a Dealership and a shadetree mechanic. After the warranty is done, it is less important to have a receipt trail, but if you get an engine rebuild, or other major work done that has a warranty or guarantee, you will want records of maintenance performed or that warranty might be voided. TruNorth, the after market scam/warranty company, tried their best to avoid paying anything for an engine rebuild until I was able to prove with receipts that I had been changing oil regularly.

    5. Speaking about a warranty. Never get a third party warranty. Ever. If you get an opportunity to extend a manufacturer warranty or a warranty on a engine or other major component, THOSE might be worth buying. Maybe. Major name brand manufacturers tend to want to protect their names as well as their bottom line. Third party warranty companies don't care about anything other than using maximum sleeze to generate maximum profit. Third party warranty insurance is mostly a scam, and their contracts are carefully worded in a way that will leave you holding the bag for most of the cost of many major repairs, and if you spend a lot of time fighting them about coverage, that's lost time and money too. I spend 33 days in a hotel in south Dallas learning that when I needed an engine rebuild after a cracked head. Ended up also needing sleeves and piston kits as well because the cracked head cascaded to wear in a cylinder, but TruNorth refused to have anything to do with even part of the cylinder repairs, even after the shop very clearly showed how the cracked head caused the cylinder damage.

    So, what would I do the next time around, if I were able to go back in time three years?

    1. Buy a used truck from an OTR company that puts APU's on all trucks.
    2. Try to use forums and real life conversations with experienced drivers to get a sense of how well maintained a company's trucks are before you buy from them.
    3. Try to find a truck with less than 400k miles, and at least 100k miles remaining on manufacturer's warranty. You can sometimes find them as low as 350k miles, but anything below that and you might want to pay a real diesel mechanic a couple hundred bucks to go with you to look over the truck, because early 'retirement' of a truck likely means the truck has... issues.
    4. The older a modern truck is, the more problems it will have. Period. Find someplace reliable to do service for rates lower than dealership service rates. Consider avoiding OTR and staying regional or local after the truck goes a couple hundred thousand miles past manufacturer warranty.
    5. Do not buy any extra warranty that is not a truck manufacturer extended warranty, or a major component manufacturer warranty. You might get 'lucky' and the purchase would be worth it, but I have yet to ever run into a driver that was happy or even moderately satisfied with the coverage provided by a third-party warranty. It's not just the hard currency cost of the repairs compared to the cost of the warranty. You have to consider the 'real cost' of the warranty. I will not get into real costs here, but if you are not familiar with that term, you best learn it, and understand it before you even think about becoming an o/o.

    Next recap post coming shortly.
     
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