owner operator make big bucks in trucking

Making the Big Bucks: Becoming an Owner Operator

Whether you’ve been on the road for years or just starting your career as a truck driver, you must have spent some time thinking about your own business. Putting in the long hours on the road and flexing your muscles when loading the vehicle might be fun.  But won’t it be even more exciting if the profits were higher? If you have the dream, the guts, and the money (or a way to get it), you can consider becoming an owner operator.

  1. Find Your Niche

If you are not completely new to the trucking business, you know that there are plenty of different niches. Trying to earn money in a niche with too much competition, when you are just starting out, is complicated. Consider a niche that requires more workforce but perhaps pays less. It can help you earn some cash while getting experience and building a reputation.

  1. Get the Cash

Obviously, any business endeavor starts with the money. You need to invest some of your bucks into a truck. While trucks are far from being cheap, in reality, you just need to find some money for the down payment.

Don’t go for the old equipment even if it seems cheap. You’ll spend more time under the hood than behind the wheel. Do your research and get a fairly new model for your niche. Leave some cash for other expenses, such as insurance, maintenance, and meals.

  1. Be Ready to Work Overtime

Anyone who ever started a business knows that you need to forget about weekends and vacations for at least a year. You can’t get a good reputation as an owner operator unless you put in the hours.

Understanding that you might need to settle for lower paying gigs in order to get the higher pay in the future, can save you plenty of nerves.

  1. Get Family Support

Truck drivers often have trouble keeping their families together due to long hours spent on the road. If you don’t have your family’s support for whatever business you are planning, one of them is bound to fail. So if you don’t want this to happen, make sure to deal with your loved ones beforehand to prepare them for the hardships to come.

  1. Plan for Slow Times

Since you are not getting a salary, you have to be ready for the slow time. You won’t always be getting enough contracts to keep yourself busy. There will be down times that you have to plan for. At first, be prepared to spend about 30 % of your time on the side of the road. Plan for the slow times when the money is coming in.

  1. Get Advice

If you are an experienced truck driver, you know how important the good advice is. This goes for all the aspects of the business, including accounting and legal advice. Find people who are good at their jobs instead of trying to deal with everything on your own.

 

 

trucking software

Getting Ready for the Summer with Trucking Software

Summer is just around the corner, and in some regions, it’s already getting hot outside. Knowing how to prepare for the summer season can make a trucker’s work easier, more enjoyable and more profitable. While trucking software can remind you when the next checkup is due and how to choose the best roads, there are a few tips you can still take advantage of.

  1. Refrigerated Truck Maintenance

While the trucking company software is a perfect tool for coming up with the fastest route, it’s still up to you to pay close attention to the condition of the refrigerated units. Summer heat can make the units work harder and break down faster. Accordingly, you need to check the cooled compartments on a regular basis and make sure the proper maintenance is performed. If you are a trucker relying solely on the trucking software to let you know the maintenance time, you might be in trouble. Summer heat should make you check the truck frequently.

  1. Plenty of Water

Dehydration is one of the trucker’s worst enemies. When loading or unloading the truck, you might not feel the toll the heat is taking on your body. Take advantage of the trucking software to plan the water refill stops.

Whenever you feel an urgent need for water, your body is already seriously hydrated. Try to prevent this feeling by drinking on a regular basis. Whether you want to drink or not, make sure to take a few gulps of water every 15 minutes or so when working out in the sun. Remember, even the best trucking software can’t do the right summer stop planning for you unless you give it the right input.

  1. The Right Cleaning

Trucking software can tell you when to start your summer preparations. It’s up to you to make sure they are fast and efficient. You need to take care of the winter sand and salt residues. This can help you avoid corrosion during the summer. The importance of summer cleaning can’t be underestimated. You need to get inside such hidden spots as radiator and undercarriage. Whatever hard to reach places you can find, reach there. You can save yourself some costly repairs down the road. Use trucking software to plan the cleaning and schedule repairs.

  1. Tire Check

Even though the trucking company software can be used to schedule tire replacements, it’s up to you to check the tires in the summer. The heat can wear out the tires much faster than cool weather conditions. Make sure to check the tires before each run.

  1. Brake Check

Use the trucking software to look up when you last replaced the brake system parts. Hot temperatures can cause the brakes to lose traction. Make sure to prevent these problems by checking the brakes before and after each hot weather run.

Trucking software is a wonderful tool to help you prepare for hot summer truck driving. However, relying solely on software can be a mistake. Make sure to follow the tips and stay safe on the road.

trucking company software

Trucking company software makes trucking efficient

Make trucking efficient with trucking company software. Fuel economy is one of the most important things in making the truck driving profitable. Trucking company software, well-equipped trucks, and smart planning can all go to waste due to the lack of the right driving skills. Whether you are an owner of a trucking company or plan to drive a truck, you need to learn how to make truck driving efficient.

  1. Time to Change

If your business is using trucking company software, it can help you plan your route. This will help to get somewhere faster and easier. However, many drivers believe that it’s up to them to “up” the speed. The first thing they do wrong is accelerating hard. Quick acceleration and frequent braking lead to increased fuel consumption. While both these things are unavoidable on the road, a truck driver should make sure they are used as infrequently as possible.

  1. Idling Time

Trucking accounting software allows for good fuel calculation. It accounts for certain idle time for each route. A truck driver should reduce idling time as much as possible to avoid extra fuel burning. Idling a vehicle doesn’t just waste fuel, it pollutes the environment. Make sure to study your company rules about idling in the winter. More idling time should be allowed in the cold weather to keep the trucker warm. Trucking company software gives company owners an opportunity to calculate perfect fuel consumption for winter and summer months.

  1. No Speeding Allowed

Speeding is not just dangerous; it can increase the fuel consumption. Even if the trucks are not equipped with electronic speed limiters, a trucker should pay close attention to the speed in order not to waste fuel. 60 to 65 miles per hour is a perfect speed for a truck on a highway. Trucking company software does the route and time planning according to the speed limits on various roads. High speeds induce emergency braking, which in turn increases the fuel consumption. Trucking company software can help you avoid situations that require excessive speeds.

  1. Vital Inspections

Each truck should be inspected on a daily basis in order to reduce the chances of equipment malfunctioning. Trucking company software can remind you about regular preventive maintenance, but daily inspections must be done without any reminders. Dirty filters, improper fluid levels, and worn equipment all lead to increased fuel consumption. It’s up to the company, the trucking company software, and the driver to keep the equipment in check.

  1. Weight Positioning

Many truckers and company owners don’t realize how the right load positioning can affect the fuel efficiency. This is something trucking company software can help you. If you have an opportunity, you have to move the load as far and as fast as possible. This way you can increase energy efficiency.

  1. Bonuses

Many companies that use trucking company software to plan routes and lower fuel consumption, make truck driving more efficient by encouraging their drivers. Paying cash bonuses and giving other rewards to truckers who manage to lower fuel consumption is a great way to save money in the end.

 

trucker

The Tough Life of a Trucker’s Wife

While a job as a trucker is far from a piece of cake, being a trucker’s wife can be even more complicated. Not many women realize how hard it is to let your loved one go for weeks at a time. Since the truckers are in big demand right now, many men make a decision to train for a new occupation. Suddenly an office worker’s wife, who is used to having her hubby come back home at 7 p.m., has to deal with weeklong absences. Here are a few things that can help a trucker’s wife deal with her husband’s new job.

  1. Learn About Trucking

Anything you don’t have a good understanding of seems scary and unfavorable. Thankfully, there are plenty of information about the trucker’s job available online. Your best bet would be to browse the trucker’s forums. Various truckers’ stories can give you a good idea of what the job is like and what to expect.

  1. Become Flexible

Flexibility is a major part of every trucker’s job. You have no idea what might happen tomorrow, which means that your husband’s ETA can change from a few hours to a few days. Forget about running to clean the house and cooking his favorite dishes the moment he tells you that he’s coming tomorrow. Relax and start the preparations only when his time of the arrival is clear. Always be ready to hear about the change of plans.

  1. Keep Yourself Busy

You’ll be spending plenty of time on your own, so you need to find something to keep yourself busy. Even if you have a day job, you need to plan for the evenings alone. A new hobby is a wonderful way to avoid a feeling of loneliness. Make plans with your friends and family. Spend more quality time with your kids

  1. See the Benefits

If you make a small effort, you can see the obvious benefits of a trucker’s job. While your husband is away, you can spend less time cooking and cleaning and more time doing things for yourself. Most of the time, people don’t realize how valuable the “alone” time is. Learn how to take advantage of it.

  1. Get Help

If you have small children, you need to arrange for babysitters. You won’t be able to deal with them all on your own. So before your husband goes on his first run, make sure you discuss the extra babysitter expenses.

  1. Nurture Your Trust

The main reason for the truckers’ divorce is the lack of trust. Some wives go crazy with jealousy since they can’t control their husband’s every move. The longer he is away, the more dark thoughts tend to creep into the wife’s mind. Thankfully, 99% of the time they are groundless. Learn to trust your husband.

  1. Go with Him

Most of the time, a trucker has a chance to take his wife on a run or two to show her around. Ask your husband to go with him so you can find out how he spends his workdays.

Mistakes Newbie Truckers Make

7 Unfortunate Mistakes Newbie Truckers Make

Unfortunate mistakes newbie Truckers make can be life threatening. Any driver knows how easy it is to make a mistake on the road. However, this knowledge comes with experience. Rookie drivers tend to repeat the mistakes of their predecessors repeatedly. Such mistakes often cost drivers and company’s time, money and sometimes even health. If you are just starting out on your way to becoming a truck driver or planning to hire an inexperienced employee, this information can prove very valuable.

  1. Flexing Your Truck Muscles

Sitting behind the wheel of a huge machine makes you feel powerful. However, it is hardly a reason to flex your big metal muscles. Bully truckers on the road are extremely dangerous. They intimidate other drivers and provoke accidents. If you feel as if you are about to get your revenge on some intolerable driver at the adjacent lane, think twice. Don’t allow yourself to become a bully.

  1. Falling for the “Ideal Job” Trap

When you are looking for a job, you tend to hear all types of offers, including those that sound too good to be true. Most likely, they are. Recruiters use all kinds of tricks to attract new drivers to the jobs no experienced driver is ready to take because of a low pay, long hauls, bad equipment, and etc. Be very cautious of the “ideal job” offers and always do independent research.

  1. Thinking Life on the Road is Cheap

Even if you come home every night, the life on the road is not cheap. You need to pay for food and other services throughout the day. Truckers who don’t try to save on the road end up wondering where their salary went. Try to limit your spending at the truck stops by buying food at the grocery stores or taking it with you from home.

  1. Avoiding Smart Advice

Any newbie driver should have a couple of conversations with experienced truckers. Any professional truck driver has a trick or two to share. Rookies are often so sure of themselves that they overlook the valuable advice experienced coworkers have to offer. If you are planning to hire a new driver, try to arrange a talk with an expert.

  1. Taking All Advice to Heart

This is the other side of the advice coin. While there are many truck drivers out there, only a few are truly professional. So taking everything every driver tells you seriously is a big mistake. If the information sounds off, make sure to double check it.

  1. Not Asking For Help

All people are hesitant about asking for help. Rookie drivers must learn to overcome this fear. Asking for assistance is part of becoming a professional trucker. If you have questions, make sure to voice them. Otherwise, you might find yourself in an unpleasant situation, which is entirely your fault not because you are inexperienced, but because you didn’t ask for help.

  1. Not Clarifying the Job Requirements

Not all trucking job are created equal. Working in each company has its nuances. Before signing up for a job, make

choosing best truck parking spot

How to Choose the Best Truck Parking Spot

Choosing the best Truck Parking Spot is tricky and requires a bit more patience. Whether you are an experienced trucker or a newbie, you are always in need of good tips to make your time on the road as enjoyable and hassle-free as possible. If your company is using trucking software to plan your trips, you’ll probably be spending less time on the road than the coworkers whose bosses are trying to save money on the newest technologies.

While the company owners are looking for ways to maximize their profits, it’s up to you to take care of yourself while you are behind the wheel. What can be complicated about choosing a parking spot, you’ll ask. Absolutely nothing if you find a nicely equipped rest stop. Unfortunately, not every road or even every state is ready to provide good parking solutions for a trucker. The trucking software can help your owners plan your stops, but it’s up to you to make them comfortable and safe.

  1. Before choosing the rest stop to park, make sure you think of a list of things to do while you are there. Do some quick planning beforehand. Try to take care of such things as fuel, restroom visits, and eating at one stop. Otherwise, you’ll be losing time looking for another rest area.
  2. Take advantage of all the services at the rest area. Most of the time even the most experienced truckers don’t know how many things they can use at a rest stop.
  3. Use a rest area instead of a truck stop. Rest areas allow you to pull through to a parking spot so you don’t have to back up. More accidents involving trucks happen at the truck stops than at the rest areas.
  4. When you have a choice, never park at the end of a row. End of a row is a high traffic area. At the same time, many tired drivers choose the end of the row. By avoiding it, you’ll keep your truck safe.
  5. Try to park so you don’t have to back out. Obviously, you’ll have to back out many times throughout your careers, but each time puts you into a certain danger. Try to minimize this danger whenever you can. Choose a “pull through” or a “back into” option when parking.
  6. When choosing a parking spot, make sure you don’t park across from the trucks that will need to back out. By not parking this way, you are taking your truck away from the “line of fire”.
  7. If you don’t have a choice of a spot and need to park next to an oddly parked truck. Make sure to write down its name and the DOT number.
  8. Try to find the spot with a lot of space around you. Such spaces are usually available in the back of the parking lot. Think about the safety of your vehicle rather than the extra 3 minutes it will take you to walk to the café.

If your company is advanced enough to use trucking software, ask for help when planning your stops. The more convenient the truck stops and rest areas are, the more chances you and your vehicle will be safe.

 

truck driving tips

7 Truck Driving Tips You Should Review

Even the most experienced truck drivers can practice dangerous behavior on the road. After all, truckers are human too and their road behavior may depend on many factors. However, forgetting to act safely behind the wheel can lead to unfortunate consequences, some of which won’t be easy to fix. So even if you are a seasoned trucker, you might benefit from reviewing these simple rules.

Rule #1: Always Wear the Seatbelt

When you are on the road, you are in danger 100% of the time. Many drivers neglect to wear a seatbelt when they drive “just for a few minutes”. It only takes a second to get into an accident. While you should review you seatbelt-wearing habit, you should also think about your passenger. It’s your responsibility to make sure that the passenger’s seatbelt is fastened.

Rule #2: When in Doubt, Reduce Speed

This goes for adverse roads, bad weather conditions, and dark streets. You must reduce your speed by 30 % when you are on a wet road. A snowy road signals about reducing your speed by at least 50%. Obviously, driving on an icy road should be extremely slow and cautious. Don’t forget that the roads get especially slippery when it just starts to rain or snow.

Rule #3: Going on a ramp? Reduce Speed

Exit and entrance ramps must be approached at a slow speed. Many truck accidents occur on the ramps when the driver can’t evaluate the curve sharpness and enters at a high speed. Don’t follow the speed limit you see on the signs before the ramp. These signs are for smaller vehicles. You should reduce the speed even further in order to avoid a rollover.

Rule #4: Loaded Trailer? Reduce Speed

A loaded trailer has a high center of gravity, which means any sudden speed changes can cause load shifts. As a result, a truck can skid or even, roll over. Consider adjusting your braking distance when you carry a load. A driver of a heavily loaded trailer should consider a 20 % braking distance increase.

Rule #5: Watch Out for Work Zones

If you see a work zone, you should immediately adjust your manner of driving. Many deaths in work zones are caused by truckers driving large vehicles. You need to be extra careful about the speed when you are entering a work zone. Be ready for sudden lane closures and always be prepared to stop.

Rule #6: Don’t Forget About the Signals

A recently conducted study showed that more than 600,000 lane-change accidents happen on the USA roads every year. They can be avoided just by using the turn signals. It’s imperative to show your intent to make a lane change before doing it. This is a simple truth, but unfortunately, many truckers disregard it.

Rule #7: Look In the Mirrors

Checking the mirrors is one of the first things you learn when you start driving a vehicle. For some reason, it’s one of the rarest things some drivers do when they are on the road. The mirrors have to be checked at least once every 8 seconds to avoid accidents.

 

7 reasons for not be a truck driver

7 Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Become a Truck Driver

7 Reasons Why You Don’t Want to Become a Truck Driver. Not everyone is a truck driver at heart. Most people go into trucking for profit. Unless you own a trucking company that brings you substantial amounts of money, the only way to earn dough is to get behind the wheel. Once you pass all the tests, get the license, and some driving experience, you feel as if truck driving is not too hard after all. But are there any reasons not to become a truck driver? Some ex-drivers think there are.

  1. Long Working Hours

If you want to make a profit, you have to drive. According to the law, you can spend up to 14 hours on duty, 11 of which you can be behind the wheel. You can drive up to 8 hours without a break. Not everyone is cut out for such long hours at work.

  1. The Job Is Hard to Keep

There are many different ways a truck driver can lose his or her job. Getting a violation, failure to pass a physical, an accident, a refusal of certain projects. Each one of these reasons can cost you your job in a flash. Talk about job security. You risk losing your job every minute you are on the road.

  1. Too Much Time Away From Home

If you pay close attention to point 1, you see that there isn’t too much time in the day left for your friends and family. Many drivers spend weeks on the road. This is not the best way to strengthen your family ties. If you are not a lone wolf, this job might not be for you.

  1. Lack of Service at Truck Stops

If you are a fan of daily showers, quality food, and a good night sleep, you are not a truck driver at heart. You have to be ready for long lines at the truck stops, a lot of fast food, dirty toilets, showers that need to be paid for, and more. Dance lessons? Gym? Forget about it.

  1. No Sightseeing

Some newbie truck drivers believe that they’ll get to see the country. Instead, you see truck stops, lots of fields and forests, industrial sites and factories, and many other useless things. After all, truck driving is not a vacation. Why would you be sightseeing?

  1. Layover expenses

When you are not driving, you are waiting for loads. Most of the time, you won’t get paid for the layover time.

  1. Drive or quit

You have to be ready to take the job anytime anywhere. No matter whether you are ready to wake up in the middle of the night or drive all the way from New York to Oregon if the boss calls, you abide. Otherwise, you can say goodbye to your job.

If the above 7 points don’t bother you and the pay is worth it, you are a truck driver at heart. Get behind the wheel today!

 

 

Self Defense for Truckers on the Road

Self Defense for Truckers on the Road

While it might seem that you are safe when locked in your vehicle, truckers often face security threats that make them consider self-defense. Defending yourself when you are a trucker is tricky. Each state has its own set of laws about weapons. One state might allow you to carry a firearm while another will frown upon a Taser. Some truckers go through over 40 states in one month and keeping all the requirements in mind is not just frustrating but often impossible. What can a truck driver do to keep himself safe without breaking the law?

  1. Carry a Stun Gun

Stun guns and Tasers are probably as close as you can get to carrying a firearm without actually holding a deadly weapon. Most of the states have loyal laws regarding the stun guns. If a Taser or a stun gun are your choices for self –defense, be careful when entering the following states:

  • Connecticut – Legal, but only at home
  • Hawaii – Illegal
  • Massachusetts – Illegal
  • New Jersey – Illegal
  • New York – Illegal
  • Rhode Island – Illegal
  • District of Columbia – Illegal

 

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Compact

Cons:

  • Costly
  • Illegal in some states

 

 

  1. Buy a Baseball Bat

Striking weapons are another good option for a trucker’s self-defense. However, carrying a baseball bat in the driver’s cabin might be suspicious. Truckers are subjects to various searches and finding a baseball bat lying around can cause certain problems.

In order to minimize the suspicion factor, you might want to carry the bat together with a glove. The main disadvantage of a bat as a striking weapon is its size. You might not have enough room to maneuver a bat when you need to defend yourself and, just like any other weapon, it can be turned against you by an attacker. You can consider other “harmless” things to become your defense weapons, such as brooms.

Pros:

  • Legal
  • Moderately-priced

Cons:

  • Bulky
  • Might be suspicious

 

  1. Get a Pepper Spray

This compact and effective self-defense weapon can be very useful for truckers. Manufacturers claim that the pepper spray is legal in all the states. However, there are some restrictions as to the strength of it. By doing some research and studying the restrictions closely, you can buy a great weapon that won’t cause any suspicion while being surprisingly effective. Pepper sprays are often disguised as pencils, pens or other things that allow you to wield them unexpectedly. This weapon can be used up to 20 feet away from the attacker.

Pros:

  • Legal
  • Versatile
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Affected by the wind
  • Some risk of explosion

 

  1. Master hand-to-hand Self Defense

This is one of the most useful ways to protect yourself since you don’t need any extra weapons to deal with an attacker. At the same time, this method can’t be used against you. However, it requires you to take classes and get yourself into a good shape. Can there be a better reason to start exercising?

Pros:

  • Always with you
  • Completely legal
  • No extra expenses

Cons:

  • Time consuming
Pass your DOT Physical

How to Pass DOT Physical?

Five Tips to Help You Pass a DOT Physical with Flying Colors
If you are a truck driver you need to pass DOT Physical, you must have good health in order to avoid problems on the road. Since good health is vital to your safety, you need to prove it once in two years. Let’s face it, in the modern days, not many people have excellent health. Truck drivers often face such problems as obesity and high blood pressure.

All these conditions can be kept in check by medication and shouldn’t be an obstacle to passing the DOT physical. However, many truckers fail it due to silly mistakes. Don’t become one of them and prepare for the checkup like you would for one of the most important exams of your life. Here are some tips to help you on your way.

  1. Evaluate Your Condition

If you feel healthy and nothing bothers you, you will probably pass the physical without any problems. However, you might not be aware of some hidden conditions, such as high blood pressure or not-so-perfect vision. Two weeks before the physical, check your blood pressure and your vision to know what you are up against. Your best bet is to make an appointment with your physician to find out which problems you need to deal with. Otherwise, you might be unpleasantly surprised with the results of your DOT physical.

  1. Take a Healthy Approach

Even if you’ve been slacking when it comes to your health for the past two years, it’s time to pay close attention to what you are eating and drinking. One or even two weeks before the physical cut down on unhealthy food, caffeine, sugar, and, of course, alcohol. It wouldn’t hurt to factor some exercises into your routine as well. Give your body a chance to show the best results at the checkup.

  1. Don’t Forget the Meds

Truckers with blood pressure and heart problems often forget to take their medication. High blood pressure is a silent enemy and won’t remind you about itself every time it spikes. However, your body suffers anyway and the doctor will see it clearly. That is why at least one week before the physical you need to pull yourself together and start taking your medication on a regular basis.

  1. Act Smart

If you’ve got a cold or the flu, make sure to reschedule your physical. Even if you don’t have anything more serious than a runny nose, a common cold can affect the results of your physical. Each sickness, even the slightest one, impacts your body. You might not notice it yourself but if you have some chronic conditions, they can worsen. Even a harmless stuffy nose can impair your hearing. Make sure you are completely healthy on the day of the physical.

  1. Stay Calm

The fear of white coats can do you a bad service at the DOT physical. If you are unable to relax at the physical, your blood pressure might spike and the vision can blur. If you know you have such a fear, study a few breathing techniques to help you relax and pass the physical with excellence.