It would be great to get one silver bullet of advice from a pro to help you make a big truck driver salary and succeed as a trucker. There is a lot of wisdom from truckers who've been there, done that.
I wanted to harvest some of that wisdom for you by reaching out to the most influential trucker bloggers and asking for their one key tip they have for those considering becoming an owner operator.
Read on to fill your bandoleer with silver bullets.
Dan, a 35-year veteran trucker, trainer, and author of the blog Daniel S Bridger's Trucking Blog has this advice:
"My one key tip would be to do your research and homework first before you jump into being an owner-operator. In my 35 years in trucking, I've seen way too many drivers jump in and end up going broke in a couple years. You can make money, but you have to understand it's a business and you have to run it as a business. I would strongly advise any new trucker to work as a company employee at least a couple years as they learn the trucking industry. During those first couple years, educate yourself through lots of study and research on the principles of running a business. See this link from my blog:" http://dbridgerhot.blogspot.com/2012/10/becoming-owner-operator-dont-start-like.html
Allen is the host of the trucking blogs Ask The Trucker and The Truth About Trucking . He is an influential advocate for assisting students and new drivers, giving thousands of CDL students, as well as new and inexperienced truck drivers, an inside look into the OTR trucking industry. He and his wife, Donna, are also the founders of Trucking Social Media, a website that provides a comprehensive list of information and non-commercial resources to educate and inform the trucking community. He is also host of the popular internet trucking talk radio show, Truth About Trucking “LIVE” . This is what Allen has for key advice:
"So many company drivers are enticed by the thought of having their own truck and being their own boss. Before considering being an owner operator, have a good understanding of the industry itself and ALL the costs involved in starting and sustaining your own business. Above all, do not lease a truck from a carrier. Most of these lease purchases are designed for the driver to fail and the company to make money!"
Desiree is President of REAL Women in Trucking, Inc, a 501 (c) 6 trade association that was formed by seasoned female commercial motor vehicle drivers. This grassroots, driver led organization provides information and resources for fellow drivers, prospective CDL students, trucking executives and the non-trucking community who remain ill-informed on how truck drivers are prepared for the open highway. Desiree has this key piece of advice:
"Do not be set up to fail with companies that push lease trucks, especially on new drivers. They control your miles and you end up paying them to work for them. You cannot take that truck with you to another carrier if you are getting a raw deal and few drivers ever see the title to that truck. That's why we call it "sharecropper trucking" or "debt bondage". If you desire becoming an owner-operator make sure you understand that you can't make a profit if you are getting under $1.00 a mile which is what many of these company lease programs are paying."
Salena is author of The Daily Rant, the longest running daily blog in the WORLD written by a female truck driver with more than 1,500 blog posts covering life on the road with her boyfriend and trucker Ed. Salena's and Ed's advice focuses on maintenance:
"As an owner-operator, the tractor you choose to drive and the trailer you choose to pull are going to be the way you make your money. You're going to want to keep those investments in the best shape possible, maintaining and/or improving their condition, whether you decide to keep them for ten years or trade it in in two.
Ed is obsessed with keeping our equipment in good shape. He is fanatical about oil changes, greases what needs to be greased, and adds whatever doo-dad he can find that will give us the best fuel mileage possible. The less money we give to Exxon, the more we get to keep for ourselves."
There you have it. A roundup of advice from some of the most influential bloggers in trucking. I encourage you to click on the links to their blogs to get to know what they can offer you in terms of knowledge, perspective, and advice.
In summary, learn how to run your truck as a business, avoid leasing, and invest in truck maintenance. I like it and couldn't agree more. This wisdom will be the foundation for your success.
-May the wind be at your six and weigh stations closed.