Thinking of a career in trucking

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by FCBMessi, May 4, 2017.

  1. FCBMessi

    FCBMessi Bobtail Member

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    Hello all,

    I want to thank you in advance for your patients with my ignorance, but i am here to do a research and i want to learn as much as possible before making a life decision.

    To tell you a little about me, My name is Danny, i am 29 years old and live in Louisville, Kentucky but from Detroit, MI. I am newly married (2yrs) and i don't have any kids yet and probably wont for the next year or two. I went to school for pre-Law and am pretty much done with my BA degree in political science, decided to leave school to become an entrepreneur. My family and I own a restaurant and we do well, however, we need to expand and i am just not sure of restaurant business anymore. I know many people that are in trucking, however they never give a straight answer when i ask them about the industry, so i figured it would be better if i would come here and ask total strangers. :rolleyes:

    Just to tell you how much i know about the industry, here as some of my assumptions; Family will hate you, its not for everyone, you lose about half of what you gross, its not easy, road life is hard, Pay depends on where you are, OTR or regional, O/O, experience, record, company and miles driven.... sounds right?

    Here is what my IDEAL business plan would be step by step:

    1) go to school and pay for it, get all my certifications and endorsements.
    2) Find a good company and work in the industry for a year or two, establish foundation and gain knowledge necessary to be successful.
    3) Buy a truck and run my own O/O business.
    4) Expand on my business and buy more trucks, hire drivers pay them enough and still make a profit.
    5) Have a big enough fleet to not drive, collect from my fleet.

    I know it isn't easy, but i have never in my life had anything easy, I've worked hard for everything in my life, and so does my family, i have two other siblings that can help me if help is needed. I have the capital TODAY to buy 4-5 trucks cash if i want to, but that isn't the way i want to go about it.

    So my questions are:
    1) is that "Ideal" business plan possible, if so, based on your experience, what are my chances of success? and what are some possible road blocks for my plan?

    I know this question is hard to answer but what I am looking for is national avg, or just estimate based on your experience. Something to keep my expectations in "Check"
    2) what are the Profits Per Truck if (Local, Regional and OTR)
    a) I was to pay my drivers like company drivers
    b) Pay my drivers somewhere between company driver and O/O


    feel free to add anything else here that would help me make the right decision.

    Thank you in advance again!
     
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  3. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

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    You are going to be the sparta 300 against approx a million pounds worth of persians representing freight rates.

    If your truck cost 1.25 to run to break even and lose nothing, you need rates at least 1.80 to make something after paying yourself the driver. Horse (Truck), Saddle then soldier last. Fuel is your second biggest problem each month. Truck payment is the first big bill. Then insurance. etc etc etc.

    I would prefer you to go into Law and argue before the court many things, But to try and go into a industry where you will lose sleep wondering if mr sid is going to make the delivery or not? There is no profit in that.

    You basically want to be a company.

    The Cass Transportation Index for the United States shows roughly 10 to 14% of all equiptment sitting idle for no loadings coast to coast on all modes of transport. So if you look into a carrier's yard and see a bunch of tractors and trailers stored away unused (Especially if they are front end in against the corner far away instead of the group of tractors waiting near the shop or gaurd shack...) you can estimate how much stuff is sitting.

    Further.

    There are serious flooding in 44 and 55. Both are essentially Closed. US 67 in NE arkansas is kaput too. Not going to get to st louis any time soon. It's ongoing for weeks. When the waters go, all of the stores will be crying for new inventory to replace everything, but a week or two takes care of that easily.

    Im not a sophisicated educated man as you are. I know a little bit and half of it is questionable if not outright obselete in today's industry.

    You will find a better profit paying a immigrant .25 instead of .50 for a american driver to run that truck, or 100 trucks or 1000. And so you will.

    Bad drivers will cost you a bunch of money. One day's haul or a week's profit or even your own ability to remain in freedom and safe from imprisonment should one of your drivers kill someone in say.. GA with a CMV registered to you. Incorperation will not protect you.

    Be a Lawyer. be happy. Arguing on court matters is way easier than what you are fixing to get from however many people in the industry across all walks of life who have a opinion to experience talking to you on this basic question.

    You say you want kids. You are not going to be a family very long when trucking. Don't have kids until you stop driving. Or you will not have a family anymore. Wifes don't do well when they are stuck with all the daily and nightly chores related to keeping a baby clean for months if not years while you are off playing trucker.

    Finally, taxes. regulations and laws will consume you. It's rather ironic you want to be a Lawyer. That might actually be a strength.

    You can spend a million in trucking very easily. And it's all gone quick.
     
  4. FCBMessi

    FCBMessi Bobtail Member

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    @x1Heavy

    Thank you for your reply, it means a lot.

    To point out a few things, first year to 5th year law graduates working for any firm out there make less than a company driver (40K and under) with a total investment (If you pass the first time around) of about 300K. That is what is keeping me away from school and i left that behind.

    As far as expenses go i own a restaurant where i make 20% of my hard word, so if I make 600K this year, most of it is gone anyways, i get the crumbs.... I work about 70hrs a week, HARD labor, work that in illegal wouldn't do.

    to get back to trucking
    "If your truck cost 1.25 to run to break even and lose nothing, you need rates at least 1.80 to make something after paying yourself the driver. Horse (Truck), Saddle then soldier last. Fuel is your second biggest problem each month. Truck payment is the first big bill. Then insurance. etc etc etc."

    focusing on that, based on your experience, with "Newer" trucks and "Good" drivers and all the other expenses, would my cap to break even be at 1.25 or is there wiggle room? if so how low can i manage it efficiently?

    Also, 1.8 to make "Something" as far as numbers go, how much that something would be if lets say each truck drives 2500/Week after all expenses?

    Reason why im considering trucking is because Risk/Reward is there for me. I can easily, and i am being modest here, open a restaurant a year.. But R/R for that amount of investment is insane. For each restaurant i invest in, i can buy 5 trucks or more. What interests me is that if i go O/O and I DONT like the business, i can sell the truck for a lose and still make it out okay (considering i don't kill anyone).

    much thanks!
     
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  5. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

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    You are asking me specific questions to dollar amounts not commonly talked about between carriers, shippers and O/Os due to non disclosures etc.

    My numbers are strictly very old basic numbers dating from literally the mid 90's under a school situation that was geared to making me a O/O in 4 structured years. I managed to penetrate night dispatch of a billion dollar company one night and got into the top secret printout room and discovered the coils I delivered paid round 2.50 Dispatcher yelled bad words and chased me out of there. It's too bad, because that room contains the... holy grail that many people seek in life even if it was hard information.

    You talk about running a restruant. I grew up in both a million dollar plus annual lounge from the 70's era and later a food and drink tavern which did not require so much money each year. That I know of. I worked for Darden dedicated supporting red lobsters in 4 locations each weekend in the NE, it paid well, way better to Darden some to my company (FFE which dedicated me and my tractor for profit) and the individual red lobster owners had no problems allowing me to feast for a perfect no loss delivery, when you consider market rate for a case of Lobster which is really expensive to them.

    I can try and tell you what it costs to run a truck. But my perspective is strictly that of a trucker. When the wife and I became a team for FFE and they handed us a 2001 century, we ran 221,000 miles in 10 months with it, burnt about 85,000 dollars worth of fuel for approx a half million in revenue and who knows how many saved accounts who threatened firing FFE for being late as singles... we went through two complete sets of tires each winter time and spring time. That's about 10,000 in tires for the tractor. Never mind the trailer.

    The truck was reliable enough but it's new automatic rockwell bricked twice requiring thousand plus dollar tows plus whatever rate per hour after the first call out. (Something like 600 per hour... I think...) and it ruined two loads JIT (Just in time) for customers who simply have to close without that freight and make all their workers sit on ##### at home. THAT's expensive. And makes for a extreme amount of yelling. People like have heart attacks or stroke after enough of that yelling over those kinds of really high level carrier-account service failures.

    That's just one truck. Our next truck was dedicated to McKesson, In those trailers at memphis sit a million dollars in narcotics. The kind that predators will have no problem shooting our unarmed butts to take the whole thing and make it go bye bye at enormous profit. Those go to hospitals when they arrive at distribution safely. We were prey to be honest. In unmarked tractor trailers with extreme survillence. If it so much coughs and stalls there are a thousand people having strokes wondering what now? (Figuratively, you get the idea...)

    Trucking is a story you will write. I hope it will be a happy story. But boy howdy you sure picked something in this Nation to get into... I hope you like it.
     
  6. FCBMessi

    FCBMessi Bobtail Member

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    I was just trying to figure out ratio between total expense vs gross income to figure out CPM that would be left for me if i were not to drive, ill never ask someone of how much they make, momma raised me better than that. I appreciate your help though.
     
  7. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

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    Unfortunately you will spend your time asking people for rates in this business. Money and profit drives everything. Without it there is no point. Do you understand? You have to discard some of the... ahem.. nicer things that Mommy teaches to be ruthless and be profitable.

    Without going into Morals which probably breathes a sigh of relief from Moderators etc, I have to tell you money is the key in trucking. You are in it for that profit. Nothing else. If you don't make a profit with one or 15000 trucks, you no longer exist in business. It's that simple. You as a Pre-Lawyer should have a taste already about how... you have to set aside what dear Mommy and Daddy taught us in life to get things done in that Courthouse after the fact.

    Nice people get consumed here. The real good positive thought I leave you with this . If you can do this industry and still retain who you are inside, deep inside the way you were raised when you are NOT on the job inside that office then you will be ok. Many give themselves over to it. and it's consumes them.
     
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  8. FireLotus

    FireLotus Light Load Member

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    Why a truck driver, to O/O to Carrier...

    Have you looked into other options and opportunities... such as frieght broker... you can start as an agent working for a frieght broker, then with knowledge and capital move on and become a frieght broker..

    The majority of people who enter this industry as truck drivers fail or flake... most graduates of CDL schools are not still driving after 3 months, many more are struggling to stay in it and trying to get hired by another company..

    So just the first part of your plan is pretty risky..

    Not easy being an O/O... especially these days.. the days of CL Werner, buys a truck, then another,.. and now is a big mega company... are kind of gone.. mainly because of the mega carriers that CL and others started...

    So the second part of you plan will be a tough one in tough times for O/Os...


    However, is your plan possible... yes... of course it is... just like winning the Lottery is plausible..
     
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  9. Eeyore05

    Eeyore05 Medium Load Member

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    That seems like a silly idea, seeing asyouve put so much into other careers already. Trucking ain't great for your family/home life. (And I was home weekly, now daily)
    Good luck.
     
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  10. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

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    FireLotus has it right, you literally have to survive trucking as a driver your first three, then 6 then one year. Many do not. They get fired over what i consider nothing. rubbing poles, tearing a tire or something else. And flaking is real easy to do out there.

    For example you don't send newbies to Donner near Reno unless they have grown up in the area. It's a given. 44 miles of downgrade in the best of weather and potentially days of delay in the winter howlers that stack 40 feet of snow then drift it.

    You probably might like to go over some of my older posts. Many of it is fairly... similar but I consider myself very lucky to have gotten about 30 years out of trucking with all it's problems and benefits considering. And even more so to still have all of my parts, even if most of it does not work well. (Think rusted tin man...)

    Not many can say that.
     
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  11. FireLotus

    FireLotus Light Load Member

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    You do point out a good point... from Pre Law, to Restaurant owner to Truck Driver/O/O/Truck Company...
    Is an odd path..

    What are you passionate about... to be successful in any endeavor you have to have some passion about it.. it is the passion that will get you through the rough times..

    Every job or career has things you love about it, things you hate and everything in between... doing something you have no passion for is not easy and often not successful...

    You obviously have an entrepreneurial spirit... what are your passions and hobbies.. you may be able to make a business and be successful from them..
     
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