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How to become a owner operator


bigmack73
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A) are you running a tri axle now? For whom? Is he willing to subcontract?

B) Do you have enough $$$$$$$$$ to buy, and run for a while before the checks come in?

3) Do you have enough $$$$$$$ to go thru several weeks with no work (think winter)

Lets see. Incorporate or sole proprieter, registration, taxes, taxes, taxes, repairs

give me a minute and I can find more

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Success is only a stones throw away.................................................................for a Palestinian

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do you have enough money to wait to get paid? 8 weeks sometimes, do you have enough to pay for fuel and repairs while waiting for the checks to come in, enough money for insurance, workers comp.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

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Just like the business I am in, went out and did a job for $500, had to put $700 in tires across the back of my truck, and $100 in fuel. There has to be a better way to loose $300 in a day, I busted my ass for that loss.........But working for yourself is a bad drug and in my case genetic, as far back as I can remember most of my family has been self employed.

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You know what, if you love trucks have a few bucks to start out and don't have a huge truck payment you will be fine. Don't think you will get rich unless you can sell some materials here and there. You will make a decent paycheck, sometime you won't get your check every week but you will. Just remember that sometimes it's cheaper to leave the truck parked than work for a shit head.try your hardest to stick to the rate which is 85 in Boston area not sure over there. Also if you are going to be a rental truck get 3 shoots and a barn door. Good luck man I hope you do we'll. post some pics of the rig.

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What Mike (Superdog) said is sad,but very true,it gets harder every day to make a decent living with a truck,i myself have owned trucks going on 30 years now,and the money just isn't there anymore. The ONLY thing that has kept me going is I specialize,meaning I haul what others don't want to,,all LTL,multiple stops,almost all city work,yes I do earn a decent living at what I do,but believe me,i work for every damn penny of it! and as already stated,the gov't is doing all it can to put us O/O's out to pasture,what with all the new rules,regulations etc. gov't wants the "superfleets" dime a dozen cheap minimum wage type carriers,that will do what their told,for as little money as possible! I really hate to discourage anyone from a career in trucking,but its not the job it once was. In my opinion,its best to find a good company,who you can work for,treats you well,and you can make a decent wage at,all your benefits,insurance and all come out of your pocket 100% when you own a truck,not to mention all the paperwork,taxes,permits,repairs,and above all FUEL! my yearly fuel bill is now almost 4 times what I paid as little as 5 years ago..................................Mark

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Mack Truck literate. Computer illiterate.

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Forgot to mention- unknown amount of OT (own time) will be spent.

repairs/maintenance, cleaning, stuuf like that.

Also remember, when it breaks down, it is a double edge sword.

No money coming in, and money going out

Success is only a stones throw away.................................................................for a Palestinian

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The way I did it was to find a good "home" first. A company that had both company trucks AND O/O's with their trucks leased to the carrier. A company that treated me well as a company driver, and treated O/O's respectfully, professionally, and business-like. I talked to several O/O's to see whether or not they were happy, profitable, and soaked up any insight they had as far as what to expect once I bought the truck....I wanted to keep the "surprises" few & far between.

I spent a year working as a company driver...learning the job (on somebody else's dime) and learning the lanes they run, and most importantly learning the revenue which could be expected. They paid me a percentage as a company driver, so it was easy enough to find out what the O/O percentage was and calculate what my earnings WOULD have been in my own truck. I ran the company truck like it was my own....kept track of fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc...and did my best to figure out what the maintenance and repairs would have cost if I had been billed for the work. I found out about insurance, plates, permits, etc...all of the other expenses I was going to have added into the equation as well. Then I sat down and crunched the numbers to figure out how much truck I'd be able to afford. I left the fuel surcharge out of all of my numbers...figured if I could make it on the freight rates alone, that fuel surcharge would cover any expenses I had missed in my figurings.

Now throughout my entire driving career, I'd been paying attention to how the trucks I'd been driver had been spec'd. I knew what I liked...and what I didn't like...about each of those trucks, and I had come up with some specs of my own that the truck I was going to buy had to have. Engine, transmission, rear gears, weight ratings, tire size, wheelbase, color, etc.

So I knew what price range I was looking for, and I knew what the specs were that I was shopping for. When I would find a truck that met my specs at a price I could afford, I'd call on it. The truck I ended up buying was 99% what I wanted...only compromise I really made was on the wheelbase (it's a little longer than I was looking for).

Then came the fun of securing financing. Since buying my home, I couldn't see paying +6% interest on money I had sitting in the bank that was only earning 1/2%, so I had been grossly overpaying on my mortgage in order to build equity. So, I pulled that equity back out to make the down payment, and secured a truck loan through a finance company that specialized in truck loans (through the truck dealer). I also sent in an application to the OOIDA's finance company...which turned out to be the same one. Got approved for the loan...drove out to see the truck in person, and had the nearest Mack dealer look it over for me during my test drive. When it checked out OK, the transaction was completed and I drove it home to put it to work.

Now that has worked for me...not saying money hasn't been tight from time to time (heck it STILL is pretty tight....and the truck's been paid off for a year and a half)....but it is MY truck. In all honesty, I doubt I could go back to driving somebody else's truck again. Not that there is anything WRONG with being a company driver...just that I like having final say in what happens with the truck I'm driving.

Buy a truck and your "free time" is going to dissappear. There will be no more "park it at the yard on Friday afternoon and not think about it again until Monday morning". There is ALWAYS something you could or should be doing on or to the truck...maintaining it, repairing it, upgrading or modifying something on it to make it work better, etc. You'll either have to be able to afford to pay somebody else to do all of that work or be able to do the work yourself. If money gets tight, hopefully you can turn a wrench...because if you can't, you're done.

Well said!...........................Mark

Mack Truck literate. Computer illiterate.

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What Mike (Superdog) said is sad,but very true,it gets harder every day to make a decent living with a truck,i myself have owned trucks going on 30 years now,and the money just isn't there anymore. The ONLY thing that has kept me going is I specialize,meaning I haul what others don't want to,,all LTL,multiple stops,almost all city work,yes I do earn a decent living at what I do,but believe me,i work for every damn penny of it! and as already stated,the gov't is doing all it can to put us O/O's out to pasture,what with all the new rules,regulations etc. gov't wants the "superfleets" dime a dozen cheap minimum wage type carriers,that will do what their told,for as little money as possible! I really hate to discourage anyone from a career in trucking,but its not the job it once was. In my opinion,its best to find a good company,who you can work for,treats you well,and you can make a decent wage at,all your benefits,insurance and all come out of your pocket 100% when you own a truck,not to mention all the paperwork,taxes,permits,repairs,and above all FUEL! my yearly fuel bill is now almost 4 times what I paid as little as 5 years ago..................................Mark

Yep, fuel is the big one, amongst the many little things. When the truck I drive is full of fuel, it has well over $1,000 worth of fuel in it. A thousand dollars- in fuel! You can buy a half decent used car for that kind of money. And you gotta fill that sucker up 2 or 3 times a week!

Producer of poorly photo-chopped pictures since 1999.

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I wouldn't want to carry any more fuel than what I could use in a day. Fill up in the morning, run the tanks close to empty during the day, then park it for the night. I sure couldn't afford to have a fuel thief hit me when I've got $1000 worth of fuel in the tanks...much better to give them easy access to empty tanks so that they pop the cap, see it ain't worth their time, and move on to more lucrative targets.

Besides, I don't get paid to haul fuel...and I am paid by the ton. The more fuel I have on board, the less I can be paid to haul.

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When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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Fuel is a killer. Things you can do to help that cost. I have been running Motorkote. Not quite using it like the directions say and gaining 1/2 to 3/4 mile a gallon. Yesterday getting fuel I did 6.6 Mpg. Now for me that is the best I have ever gotten and that was cruising 68 mph. Also anybody seen my rolling brick knows that is damn good.

Tires. Been swapping the trailer to low rolling resistence tires. I have had 4 on before and saw an increase in mileage. Not a big jump but noticeable. After trying different tires to no avail going back to the michilins. My theory is this. If I got to rotate the tires due to wear in different poitions. I might as well put the best rolling tire and longest wearing tire I have ever had on the trailer. Last remaining is almost 4 years old. Also taking my lug tires off and going highway. My offroad is very minimal. Also if the trailer sinks along with the truck not going to dig deeper or tear something up. Most places I go have machinery. Also if it is that bad they can drive it in from the road. the 2 times I have been stuck deep lugs would not of made any difference.

What I do for tires and different things may not work for you. So far gained upwards of 1 full mile a gallon and also with the different terrain,weight,drag and everything any increase is positive. Going for 1 tank less per load. at 700 or better per tank 1 tank per load adds up real fast. Although I do not need this to make ends meat. 20+k at the end of the year is nice

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I wouldn't want to carry any more fuel than what I could use in a day. Fill up in the morning, run the tanks close to empty during the day, then park it for the night. I sure couldn't afford to have a fuel thief hit me when I've got $1000 worth of fuel in the tanks...much better to give them easy access to empty tanks so that they pop the cap, see it ain't worth their time, and move on to more lucrative targets.

Besides, I don't get paid to haul fuel...and I am paid by the ton. The more fuel I have on board, the less I can be paid to haul.

As Rowdy said. thievery. I never ever ever fuel when I am parking for the night. If I need fuel it is enough to Idle if I have to for the night. then top off in the morning. People watch and when you leave the fuel island and park they watch

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slpwlker, on 11 May 2013 - 7:08 PM, said:

As Rowdy said. thievery. I never ever ever fuel when I am parking for the night. If I need fuel it is enough to Idle if I have to for the night. then top off in the morning. People watch and when you leave the fuel island and park they watch

Me neither, but then I seldom stay at truckstops. I usually have enough fuel to get from Concord to where i'm going and back, but not always. So that motorkote really works,eh?

By the way, even though I drive a company truck, i'd like to catch somebody trying to steal fuel one time. When I called the cops i'd tell them to bring the coroner, because the thief had a binder pipe imbedded in his brain. I've actually heard company drivers on the radio trying to sell fuel on the radio at a truckstop. They had just filled up and wanted to sell fuel for a dollar a gallon. If I could have found out who it was I was going to call the company, but I never did. This was at Maybrook, N.Y. some years ago. I told him just what a lowlife scumbag he was though.

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Producer of poorly photo-chopped pictures since 1999.

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Me neither, but then I seldom stay at truckstops. I usually have enough fuel to get from Concord to where i'm going and back, but not always. So that motorkote really works,eh?

I never liked any of those products and do not like lucas. After shelling out the money I did the 1 gallon on the oil change. I did not notice anything big or at all. next oil change I put in 1 quart that made a huge difference. and every oil change since been getting 100 miles extra loaded per 1/4 tank over 1300 empty give or take100 miles and that is 65 min to 73mph. Added a quart to the trans gonna add another 1/2 to full quart . Also plan on a quart and a 1/2 to each rear. Added to the wheel hubs but not sure if it was that the 1 wheel seal went, Or since the 1 side went it's time was then. So far the lift axle has not started leaking. Figure why not make the bearings slicker. Motorkote for me is worth every penny and the fuel additive is great also. Oh yeah all the gains with 1 flaky injector.

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I had a company driver fueling next to me once,who wanted to sell me a hundred gallons of fuel for $75.00 being as I was an Owner-Operator,told him he better be gone,or the only thing he was going to receive was my foot in his ass,and a call to his company! I forgot which carrier,but it was one of the "big three" swift,werner etc I bought a good set of locking fuel caps shortly after that,makes me nervous! I don't spend much time in truckstops either,i try and sleep in my customers lot if possible,unless they happen to be in detroit........................................Mark

Mack Truck literate. Computer illiterate.

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I filled up at a Wilco Hess going north on 77 in SC because it was cheap and it would get me home to Maine. (if I remember right $775.00)stayed at the next Wilco Hess in NC that night, got up in the morning and though my gauge was broke. Went a few miles and though I better put some fuel in and see, I added $561.00, that hurts. I ordered Mack locking caps from ebay. I usally put in 60 to 70 gallons and run till I need more, get the showers adding up for 6 weeks on the road. As Rowdy said, I don't get paid to haul fuel. Being 79,900 this friday I really didn't have room for more fuel, l Picked up a Deere 772g Motor grader in Springfield Vt. and took it to Bangor Maine, via 91 93 and rt 2. Snow still in the White Mountians on 5/10/13. Was 3460 lbs over on the trailer axles but the north bound on 91 was closed on the way down and 2 was quiet so scooted back to Farmington Maine for the night and left at 4:30 am this morning for the final 2 hrs.

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Only time I play the fuel weight game is if I am real heavy or so close to axle I need the weight. Miles vs gallons. x amount of weight before next scale and enough to get to the next truckstop. I have thought about taking the left tank off and just putting a 50 gallon hydraulic tank. Maybe the dog scares them Idk but I have been lucky

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The T660's at work have an insert in the fuel filler opening so you can't get a hose or anything in the tank. Only bad thing is you can't get the nozzle in there far enough to hook it under the edge when you fuel, so it might jump out if you don't stand there and hold it. I keep a bungee on the tank step to put over it when I fuel up.

Producer of poorly photo-chopped pictures since 1999.

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First off inwould like to say thank you to everyone who put their two cents in and i really appreciate this. Im 23yrs old and always wanted to get into the trucking game. That is my greatest dream. I tried working for some companies but no luck im young and i dont have enough experience which i think is bull, i can drive any truck with my eyes closed. Tried cement, triaxle dumps, and trailers they all said the same shit. How can you really gt experience if no one wants to hire and train or see what you can do. I even went to school to become a diesel technician that way i can fix my own truck one day . As of right now i currently work for the post office and driver thier commercial trucks transporting mail sometimes box trucks or trailers i do it all and even when i told companies this they jus told me to stay where i am. I went to another company and ask for info on how they statted and how would i start they just fucking ignored me its jus a dod eat dog buisness it seems to me.

I bought a nice clean 87 mack from a nice man in lancaster pa and he was running 6 mack rd triaxles and his personal peterbilt didnt move out of the garage. All his trucks are ran by his closests friends and i asked whats his income for the year he told lets jus say im a millionaire. Now hes ready to retire and wants to pass the buisness to his sons and none of them want it i was so shocked. He has three sons one is in stock markets and he other two are lazy fucks. Its jus broke my heart that i want to do this so bad and these guys have it and dont want it. Like the saying goes "one mans garbage is another mans treasure". Im just going to keep trying and see o a door opens up.

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On my 3rd trip ever in my own truck...before I had split the tanks, or even been paid for anything I'd done up to that point....I took a load down to Ashdown, AR. I stopped at the J just east of Texarkana to fill up both tanks just in case I felt up to driving home after I was empty...I wanted to have enough fuel to make it without worrying about fuel receipts matching up with a log book. Anyway, after I finished unloading, it was late and I was a little tired, so rather than pushing it, I decided to keep it legal and stop there at the Super 8 in Hope.

While filling out the paperwork for the room, I ALWAYS include my vehicle information....even though the desk clerk usually tells me they don't need it. Good thing I did, too. Not even an hour after my head hit the pillow, the room phone rang. It was the front desk notifying me that their security guard (an off-duty detective with the Hope PD) caught some guys trying to steal fuel from my truck. (Had I NOT included my vehicle information on the room registration form, they wouldn't have known who to call). They asked if I wanted to go out there to make a statement and I said "Hell yeah...be out just as quick as I can pull my boots on!"

So I hurried out there, just as pissed off as a guy can be....and in retrospect it's probably a good thing the thieves were already removed from the scene before I was called out there because there was no telling what I would have done (but at the very least it probably would have landed ME in the slammer right along side them...and more likely than not, I would have had a reserved room for a while because they wouldn't have made it to the slammer).

l.jpgl.jpgl.jpgl.jpg

When I got out there, it was obvious that this wasn't their first rodeo. They had a pump mounted under thier bunk, with a quick-connect to attach the suction hose directly to the floor of the bunk from the outside to run to the other truck's fuel tank. The pumps outlet was another rubber hose which passed through their floor directly into their own fuel tank. Their suction hose was long enough that they could have easily parked 2 or 3 trucks away from their "target" and simply passed the hose beneath the other trucks to reach the tank they wanted to drain.

l.jpgl.jpg

During the search incident to their arrest, the officers found a multitude of tools. If I had locking fuel caps, they could have defeated them. If I had anti-siphon inserts, they could have removed or punched through them. If they didn't feel like messing with locking caps or anti-siphon inserts, they could have removed the crossover line, drain plug, or simply knocked a hole in the tank to get at the fuel that way. They didn't pay for it, so why would they care if any gets spilled? They don't mind helping themselves to $500-$1000 worth of fuel...why would they care if they tore up a fuel tank? It's not THEIR truck being damaged, and if they are successful they will be long gone before anyone realizes what had happened.

The best part of the whole deal? When the cops were searching the truck, in addition to the tools, they found more than a few bottles of liquor. They were more interested in the booze than they were the attempted theft of fuel, as they had these guys not only for the illegal transportation of alcohol in a CMV but also (since Hope, AR is located in a DRY COUNTY and they exceeded the "allowable quantity") they were booked for BOOTLEGGING! The fuel theft was only pursued as the means to justify the search of the truck, which turned up the booze.

l.jpg

But yeah, my first reaction after this happened was to order up some locking fuel caps. I had my passenger side tank split 60 hydraulic/20 fuel before they arrived, so it worked out nicely that only 1 showed up (the other was backordered). I even used it for a while before the hassle just got to be more than I felt like dealing with and resolved to just not leave much fuel in the tanks if I parked for the night anywhere other than at the house. I put the OEM cap back on, and used it until it was worn out to the point where it wouldn't stay tightly screwed on. That's when I removed the locking mechanism from the locking cap and started using it again. Sure, it APPEARS as though I have a locking cap these days....but I don't. It screws on & off no different than the OEM cap.

I'd much rather make it easy for them to see that there is no fuel in the tank rather than to come out and find my equipment damaged in any way. If you've got fuel and they want it, they are going to get it. It all really boils down to your basic risk vs. reward situation. The best way to prevent fuel theft is to simply limit the percieved reward by eliminating the commodity they seek. The risk is still there, though, but without the reward they cannot justify taking on that risk. The other option is to increase the risk...but that is difficult to do absent chaining up a very mean & aggressive pit or rottie under your truck on JUST long enough of a chain to prevent anyone from putting a hand on your fuel tanks. That also has its drawbacks, as you'd be liable for any innocent passer-by's who happened to get tore up by said pooch as they walked past your truck on their way into the truck stop.

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When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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I generally fill in the morning or before noon. Even if I run the rest of the day I will usually have 1/2 a tank left. I don't go home full as I park in a yard now a truckstop. Make sure I got enough to get fuel somewhere else or fill there when we leave. Thought about putting a regular cap on my hydraulic side of the fuel tank and let them in for a shock. It will burn but smoke like a sive.

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