Thank you for this thread mate. I read all 160 pages of it and have to admit, I'm looking forward to getting back into driving in the US.
I've wanted to own my own truck for a long time, since I was a kid being taught to drive a twin stick Mack.
Had a play around with Direct Freight Services Load Boards today, and decided to have a go at trying to calculate how much, based on just the advertised payrates (I'm guessing those are to the truck, if there is another cut in there, it really is going to throw out my calculation) I could earn a week in my own truck.
After 1 week, Monday to Friday, the results was as follows:
Monday: Silver Creek, MS - Halletsville, TX (549 miles Total DH+Loaded) $1300 TTT ($2.36 p/m)
Tuesday: Houston, TX - Augusta, GA (1067 miles Total DH+Loaded) $1500 TTT ($1.40 p/m - seriously, Old Man is right, don't go to TX...that was the best load I could find coming out)
Wednesday: Allendale, GA - Cove City, NC (392 mile Total DH+Loaded) $825 TTT ($2.15 p/m)
Thursday: Phillly, PA - Montdale, PA (174 miles Total, sure you get the rest) $550 TTT (3.16 p/m)
Thursday: New Haven, CT - Haverhill, MA (340 miles total) $650 TTT ($1.91 p/m)
Friday: Palmer, MA - Bradford, VT (252 miles total) $450 TTT ($1.78 p/m)
End of week, hit the reset.
Totals: 3221 miles $6375 TTT (avg $1.91 p/m)
Noticed a couple of things:
1) Stay the h3ll out of Texas unless you know people...really, really good people.
2) Get too far north and the rates start dropping again (unless you know people, I would imagine?)
3) Not a single one of the 'brokers' was rated above 100. I'm guessing that is not a good thing?
I would think a triangle would have been better, but with the limited information I have available on hand here, I think I might be able to work it out when I get there and get a few miles of US soil back under my belt driving, I may finally have a go at this O / O stuff, since it got put on hiatus when I married an Aussie.
Lots of fantastic advice and insights in this thread, and I'd like to acknowledge everyone who contributed, but especially for Blair putting himself out there, Old Man for giving sound advice and DY (that thread is next).
This is a fantastic forum. Can only wish we had something like this back in the 90's when I was running. Would have been great.
Keep up the good work Blair. Best of luck to your S-I-L, prayers and thoughts with all of you. Hope the CFO is doing better with the feet.
The journey begins - purchased a truck.
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Tuesday - loading, driving 1067 miles, and unloading the same day isn't going to happen.
The rest - maybe, if everything clicks just right.
I don't mean to be pessimistic, but reality in these scenarios will go a long way to penciling out what can actually occur.
I agree it is highly irregular that things go exactly according to plan. The HOS has changed since I was driving and the new rules don't make a lot of sense to me. I grasp the concept and could work with it, but I think the previous HOS were more flexible.
Don't want to derail the thread so I'll stop before I start in on my opinion about bureaucrats and their idiocy.
I did one of my first 'wide' loads for a guy recently. Well, the guy was on holiday and it was a lady covering it for him out of the same office. So, all went well, I guess they were happy with my service (I put in a bit of extra effort on this one) and the guy emails me with another one. They want a 53' flat again. I tell the guy I might be interested and let me do some research. He rings LS heavy haul and gets some slightly conflicting information in the meantime, that works to advantage anyhow.I told him to get them to put a tape measure on it again just to verify dimensions and piece count.
This time it's 12'6" wide. Running through the guideline reference book (thanks @double yellow ) - I quickly find we're into escort territory. Hmmmm. Use my "Call a guy" option . . . . @Old Man . Luckily he's got 20 minutes to run over some options with it, and offer some advice that saves a bunch of money and miles. Also a good escort car contact.
Right. Off the phone. Pen and paper. Calculator. Ring escort car, get it lined up for Tuesday, possibly Wednesday am. Figure cost. Good. Call the agent back. Originally we were talking $3600. I say "Yup, I'll be good to go first thing Tuesday am, 53' flat on the doorstep for $3800". Righto he says - let me call the customer. He calls back. "Customer is squirming at the price, and now they think they can fit it on a 48' trailer, and they want to find a cheaper truck - (and now I know it's the shipper not the broker)."
He also says "I'm real sorry for wasting your time - I've dealt with this guy for years, but lately they're just trying to save pennies on this stuff." I say "No problem - tell you what - if they get in a bind and the $200 is such a big issue, then I'll do it for $3600, but they better decide soon (this is 11am on Friday before a holiday weekend), because I'll have to set permits and cars in motion" He says " That's great, I'll cut out tarp and bump the FSC to get the extra money out of it and look after you".
He was wanting to get out of the office for the weekend, he was tired of fooling with them. Sent me an email an hour later saying that he made them put a tape measure to it, and now it's 12' 10" wide. We both sigh.
I can only assume they found a 48' for cheaper. They're a little clueless when it comes to the transport side, I found that on the first load, and had luckily ordered my permits for wider than needed, because they hadn't measured it like a the guy hauling it would.
So - a good couple of hours and tying up other people's time in the process - but a good exercise none the less. It was nice that the agent acknowledged that time spent too. It'll help in future to be able to accurately price jobs that come up like that.
Semi - dedicated.
Well, I've got my foot in the door with one agent after a some patience. There's a little family dynamics that will be shifting here in the coming months, but it breaks down to the simplicity of a "I need a handful of reliable drivers", and "I'd rather work with one agent if possible" relationship. It makes things a lot easier - I haven't looked at the board in the last couple of weeks, and I know when the phone rings what the deal is before I even answer. It doesn't pay what it did last year, but they're continually reviewing rates so I trust that any renegotiations will be passed on. At the current rate, it's still better for me than roaming the countryside 10 - 14 days at a time. The reload option and the light weight makes it attractive. I averaged 7.7 mpg on the way out last week, 7.2 coming back.
It's either a 1250 mile round trip, or a 2100 mile round trip, 90% chance of a reload at destination. The 2100 run has an oversize once or twice a month that pays fairly well. The shipper has a habit of throwing things at the agent last minute - I missed out on a run over the holiday weekend that had a bunch of upcharge being last minute and on a holiday weekend - but I missed it by 15 minutes, didn't have my phone handy, and I understood they had to cover it ASAP. Never mind.
So I'm lined up for the long run next weekend, and can do a short earlier in the week to boost revenue. I can also load the weekend run on the Friday, then bring it back to the house for the night and leave in the morning fresh - only adds 30 miles to it.
It's the inevitable curve of Landstar, the "learning curve" or the "learning the system" or "finding your niche" or whatever. If you do a good job, every time - regardless, and keep at it, don't be afraid to get on the phone and do a bit of smooching on the right legs - you'll find something to fit your needs. Even if it's only for a short term, contracts come and go, things change.
I've seen my buddy with the reefer land on one here lately - it's just taken him the time and effort to find it. I'll bet in the next 6 months he probably winds up working for 2 or 3 agents total.
The semi dedicated is a good gig, the customers business is not slowing, but other carriers are and will keep trying to cut in.
Rule #1, don't let anyone know who the customer is and only pictures with tarp on.
Rule#2 I can cover for you on the long one if you get lazy.
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