Any Owner/Ops in here? need advice..

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Any Owner/Ops in here? need advice..

Postby TomServo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 9:20 pm

I've run across a few Drivers (not drivers) in here, but not aware of any owner/ops.

So here's what the owner of our company offered us at a meeting, this evening:

Due to the economy, we've created a ratio of about 80% company drivers, to 20% owner/op contractors.. company drivers get paid by the hour, contractors, per load. They are offering company drivers to contract out, and lease their day cabs. Maintenance is covered, and if something horrible happens to the engine, they'd just give us a new truck. I imagine, if a minor part went out, its on us. As far as I know, fuel is our responsibility...haven't read the actual paperwork yet. It would be nice, to have a vehicle that could haul several camps....and they say it pays better.

I never wanted to be an owner/op, so don't know much about it. Or I guess, leaser/op in this case. Currently, I keep plenty busy, working night, placing trailers and picking up missed loads from day shift. Day shift is screwed...and losing hours. So! Question is, does their offer seem to have any obvious red flags? Maybe I should stay on nights and keep my mouth shut. Is the overhead soo much that this would be way too risky?

Sorry I couldn't give more detail. Have always been wary of haulers offering you your "Own Truck!" But I actually trust the head cheif of my company.[/url]
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Postby Thecatman » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:13 pm

Keep your postion as a company driver. It sounds like you have a steady, fairly secure, full time job.
Most companies I drove for I had an ASSIGNED tractor.
If you're leasing THEIR tractor, I would bet you will be liable for pretty much everyting from insurance, including cargo, fuel, tires, use taxes, permits if you go to other states, permits if you haul HAZ MATs, POSSIBLE rental fee for using their trailers not to mention a probable deduction for a lease fee for the tractor, keeping comic books, (log book) as well as quarterly taxes meaning a 1099 tax form.
Fuel would be the biggest expense.
If you have a lawyer, have him/her look at the contract/agreement and all paper work. Just make the the right choice.

In the past I've thought of buying a truck, being an o/o and leasing to a company. At 50 years old I still think of it. :? Every day I see o/o's leased to a company that hauls for Wal Mart.

Wish you the best
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Postby TomServo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:30 pm

Thanks catman....its tempting though...but burning man doesn't feed my family. Luckily, noone else wants to drive nights. Even if they fire all the Drivers, they're not getting rid of us. How much are they gonna pay, to move an empty trailer? I'm keeping my mouth shut.. Thanx again!

I'm having my step father look over the lease agreement, when I get it. He's not a lawyer, but is a CPA and knows about $ and $laws. Haven't expressed any interest to my company.
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Postby AntiM » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:30 pm

MyLarry is a company driver, he's paid by the mile. He's resisted owner op for years now. Says the biggest problem with a lease is that if the wheels aren't turning you aren't earning, and you're still stuck with payments and fuel, etc. He can take time off as he likes, as long as the company is good with it. Five years now, he gets 3 weeks paid vacation. He doesn't think the pay for o/os is truly any better.
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Postby TomServo » Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:39 pm

AntiM wrote:MyLarry is a company driver, he's paid by the mile. He's resisted owner op for years now. Says the biggest problem with a lease is that if the wheels aren't turning you aren't earning, and you're still stuck with payments and fuel, etc. He can take time off as he likes, as long as the company is good with it. Five years now, he gets 3 weeks paid vacation. He doesn't think the pay for o/os is truly any better.


Never going back to per mile again. I wonder if these company's are more into selling trucks, than hauling goods. Thanx AntiM! I'm 99% sure I'm sticking with company driver.
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Postby AntiM » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:26 am

Well, he's on the flatbed fleet for Central. 8 of their 1800 trucks are heavy haul flatbeds and there's special pay and contracts for the flatbedders. If there is no steel and they are available, they get paid. Their per mile is higher than the regular drivers too. Sure, he fills in on the reefers and dry vans, but the heavy hauls are only permitted in certain states so he stays in the west/coast. He's home often, as in every two to three days. Now and then he's out for a week. Pretty physical work because they have to strap or chain the loads, but he needs to do something like that. Central has no o/o heavy hauls, so it isn't much of an issue.
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Postby mdmf007 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:45 am

There are ups and downs to O/Op and company driving.

Obviously you have to figure out what expenses are covered and what are not. to make an informed decision.

One plus about the O/op is your ability to stick another driver in your seat as a sub. He makes something, and you still are making something. Can't do that as a company driver.

Fuel is a huge issue, its come down, but it was over 5 bucks a gallon just a few years ago in a lot of places. Our largest tractors hold 400 gallons, so theres 2000 bucks to fill up and its empty in about 2500 miles.

do your due dilligence.
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Postby LostinReno » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:08 pm

mdmf007 wrote:Fuel is a huge issue, its come down, but it was over 5 bucks a gallon just a few years ago in a lot of places. Our largest tractors hold 400 gallons, so theres 2000 bucks to fill up and its empty in about 2500 miles.
do your due dilligence.


My husband was an owner/op for 8 years, we did fairly well until 07-08 when fuel got rediculous. We spent $42K in fuel alone in '08 and that was only for 9 months.(We were operating for Landstar) We sold the Pete in Sept '08, best decision ever. (Hubby got an intown job, yay!!!) Also being an owner/op usually means you are paid via 1099 and have to pay taxes every quarter which is a HUGE pain in the ass! This is the first year that we actually did our own taxes in MANY, MANY years. Schedule C's suck, unless you're a CPA I don't recommend doing your own.
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Postby gyre » Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:39 pm

Don't drive, but I can put you in touch with as many owners as you want.
I know one in particular that wouldn't run any other way, but says it is an art form to get the right loads.
Sounds like this wouldn't give you the freedom of an independent.
There is a reason they are doing this.
Make sure you like it.
Often it's liability.
Could be so they can layoff at will.
Could be an arcane tax thing you won't care about.

Any guarantees as to work?
Pension changes?
Will you have the same freedom to use the truck when not working for them?
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Postby TomServo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:24 pm

[
quote="gyre"]Don't drive, but I can put you in touch with as many owners as you want.
I know one in particular that wouldn't run any other way, but says it is an art form to get the right loads.
Sounds like this wouldn't give you the freedom of an independent.
There is a reason they are doing this.
Make sure you like it.
Often it's liability.
Could be so they can layoff at will.
Could be an arcane tax thing you won't care about.

Any guarantees as to work?
Pension changes?
Will you have the same freedom to use the truck when not working for them?[/quote]

Id be given the loads, but id have snatch up as many as I can. Found that driving over the road, id have to get close to 3000 miles per week, to make any money. Fuel is a huge concern, especially when our trucks run about 5mpg.
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Postby Thecatman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:15 pm

A big plus with staying as company driver and working nights is there is alot less traffic.

Just some more food for thought
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Postby mdmf007 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:58 pm

3000 miles a week would kill you eventually. You would be running the edge of your log, or fudging it some of the time to stay under hours.

You can squeek a 70 hour week in the logbooks of on duty time. This includes loading and offloading, scales, lunches, and any other stops. If you do hit 70 hours in a week, you then need 34 continuous hours of off duty time.

So given a consistent 60 hour week you would have to average 50MPH for all of your on duty time, which is doable if your on the interstates in the west. No way you would be able to average 50 MPH for all your hours so 3000 Miles a week would be real difficult. Especially since a lot of tractors are governed at 65MPH by companies.

if it took 3000 miles to make profit, id stay company driver. not to mention the wear on your tractor.
3000 a week is 156,000 a year.
500k for a major overhaul if your good to your engine,
thats new tires every 10 months if your real lucky. 6-700bucks a tire adds up quick.
6 miles a gallon = 25,000 gallons plus of diesel.

just some food fer thought.
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Postby TomServo » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:51 pm

55 is in California and Ohio...can do faster in other states, but our sleepers were governed at 65mph.. in california, 60 is often allowed, unless your on certain stretches of freeways. 61 and over, and that's pushing ones luck.
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Postby Elliot » Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:56 pm

:D
Hen... Trucking in Sacramento used to be almost all company drivers. And made a lot of money for the company owner. Then the authorities started actually enforcing the Hours of Service regulations, and then the economy slowed dramatically. Hen... started losing money.

Recently, they started pulling the well-known stunt of turning their employees into contractors. They lease the truck to the driver, and then the driver leases the truck and himself back to the company. Just one big paper-shuffle. But in that shuffle, the company quits paying all the costs that they would normally pay for an employee -- medical coverage, unemployment insurance, Workers Compensation (job injury) insurance, Social Security tax, and so forth. All these become the responsibility of each "owner-operator". And my contact in the office tells me that Hen... is now profitable again.

So, since the Company went from non-profitable to profitable, where did that money come from? The customers are not paying any more, because they would switch to an other carrier in a heartbeat. So the money HAS to come from the workers.

The 3000-miles-a-week guys are coming out ahead. All the rest are coming up short.

Truck drivers are a commodity -- a very expendable commodity. I spent a year in Hen...'s office, hiring the drivers. Very nasty business. I went back on the road.

And for the first time in a couple of decades, in this economy, there is no driver shortage. So the carriers can happily run a revolving door for hopeful "owner-operators".

I just talked to my brother who lives in Norway and used to run a small fleet of delivery vans. He said they do the same shit there. It's in the nature of the industry, the dream of working for yourself, and the vulnerability of the folks who have to resort to truck driving for a living. (Like me.)

SOME company drivers get into a good situation. And SOME O/Os do very well. As a company driver at Hen..., I almost made my own rules, because I'm so valuable -- my work is so reliable and cost-efficient. But I work very hard to maintain that standard. So hard, I could not take it any more -- I have not set foot in a truck in 18 months. Luckily, I can go back, part time, anytime I want -- and do their dirty work again, by the mile, loaded and empty. That "dirty work" consists mostly of recovering trucks that drivers have abandoned somewhere in the country. I've picked up trucks in the guys own driveway, in truckstops, drop yards, shopping center lots.... Once in a while the guy hasn't quit, but is being fired -- and nobody told him yet, nor me. Can you say "repo man"?

Being around this work since 1982, I have developed the opinion that there are very few legitimate opportunities for a man with his own truck. And the "one dollar trucks" are at the bottom of the list of the not-so-legitimate.

That concludes today's sermon. As you were.
:D
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Postby TomServo » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:17 am

Thank you Elliot! I smelled a scam, when I first contacted England...Before truck school. I'm a little ashamed of our head boss....he used to be a Driver.
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Postby Elliot » Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:56 pm

:D
Your boss is doing what makes sense for somebody in his situation. There are few idealists in this world -- and they are usually penniless (again, like me :lol: ).

If you like the night shift, stick with that company employee position.
:D
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Postby AntiM » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:12 pm

Truck recovery? Yuck. Larry has not yet had the pleasure, but the other flatbedders have. One of their own once. He "forgot" to tell the company his license was suspended and was hauled off in cuffs, leaving his truck on the side of the freeway in Idaho. He was a pig, the guys had to go buy Febreeze before they could drive his rig back down to Salt Lake.

There are fewer runs now than a couple years ago. Larry's check is consistently smaller, but never dips too far down unless he's taken unpaid days (like this week). There are more trucks being turned in, all lined up in the yard if you know where to look. The o/o lease is three years at Central. I'll have to ask Larry how it works, I know it is a bit different than England. I've heard bad things about England, o/o and company driver-wise.

Central has gone to electronic logs. Larry still manages to run hard and keep within his hours. He bitched like hell at first, and plenty of drivers flat out quit. But he's good at detail and has his routes and timing figured to the minute.
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Postby Elliot » Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:21 pm

:D
Truck recovery? Yuck.


Yup. Pistol on one hip and a gallon of Lysol on the other. :lol:

When you've known the company founder for 25 years, that's the kind of work you get to do, because he knows you can handle it. :lol:
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Postby Thecatman » Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:41 pm

I do belive that trucks are resticted to double nickles in Oregon, Illinois and Michigan too
I know that several states have a split speed
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Postby TomServo » Thu Feb 25, 2010 9:09 pm

Thecatman wrote:I do belive that trucks are resticted to double nickles in Oregon, Illinois and Michigan too
I know that several states have a split speed


OK, I remember Oregon. Ohio stuck in my mind, the biggest no 55+ state. I seem to remember getting pulled in at every scale house in Oregon...even with the pre pass.
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Postby Thecatman » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:02 pm

I got stopped at the scales between Bend and Madras because I had some eight foot long 4x4s bungiecorded to the landing gear.
I was told bungie cords have no strenth rating and had to properly secure them.I had four, two inch ratchet straps so I secured them on the bed of the trailer over the rear axles.
I just got unloaded in Bend and was on my way to somewhere off I5 in Oregon for a lumber load back to Reno.
.26 cents per mile. That sucked. Did that from October 2003 to March 2004
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Postby TomServo » Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:14 pm

.26 cents per mile???? Werner? They paid .28 when I drove for em..even less, when I went eleven western regional. Was on a sliding scale then. The further my haul, the less I made per mile.
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Postby AntiM » Fri Feb 26, 2010 8:16 am

I think Larry is at .42. He also has minimum pay on some steel days when he's shuttling trailers.
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