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Sleeper - Non Sleeper

Nov 21, 2019 at 11:49 PM CST
+ 6

Ran into a younger driver and his buddy the other day at my favorite coffee shop. This fellow had a Cascadia day cab towing a hopper. He was complaining about the ELD and the fact that he's run out of hours frequently while running our four state area and, of course, can no longer fudge log books. He admitted that he built a box with a cushion on top that sits between the seats and uses this to stretch out on, with the seats, when he puts himself in the "sleeper". So far he's kept his nose clean and has not been audited at a scale, or had run ins with other law enforcers. He's been lucky. We all know how illegal this is not to have a proper sleeper and he can't afford a motel every night. Nor can he afford to buy a light tractor with even a 40 inch bunk behind it. It made me wonder how many other drivers operating day cabs are doing the same thing.

I was spoiled. Dad tought me the industry well. I was discharged from the Air Force early, when dad became critically ill. After he passed, mother and I liquidated his cartage firm and I bought my first rig when fronted the money. I have never had to buy used equipment, thank goodness. And I started out as an outlaw, back in the day when a guy could get away with this, hauling a lot of swingin', before I had to break down and get my own authority.

No, our industry is not a good place to start out in on a shoe string. To do it right takes money, especially if you must buy used equipment. We all know that 9 times out of 10 it is actually more costly to do it this way. I had a good career and enjoyed it. I would like to see more newbies have the kind of experience I enjoyed for forty eight years.

Newbies, DO NOT HAUL CHEAP!!!! DO NOT USE THE WORDS "BACK HAUL"!!!!! There is no such thing. Back Haul is synonomous with the words "CHEAP FREIGHT"!!!! A LOAD IS A LOAD IS A LOAD!!!

Replied on Sun, Dec 08, 2019 at 01:16 PM CST
- 1
How many times have we heard a newbie trucker say, I can do it for less, I can hual more tons, I have a lighter truck, or I run overloaded and dodge the scales, or my truck is paid for, I have no payments so I can work for less, or I have a truck that gets ten miles per gallon, (as if it’s a pick up truck). Then after talking that way on Facebook they wonder why their customers only want to pay a dollar a mile? Only a idiot would talk that way to a shipper, and then expect a decent rate. It also explains why so many newbies think you can start up a trucking company on a shoestring, and why nobody respects truckers.
Replied on Mon, Dec 09, 2019 at 12:12 PM CST
+ 1

Blanket statements like, "don't haul cheap freight" and "I don't turn the key for less than $2/mile" don't really help someone new to the industry. "Cheap" to one carrier might not be cheap to another. One must consider hourly rates, day rates, operating expenses, personal expenses etc etc to determine a rate. In the end, the market and lanes dictate the rate not the carrier. Sad but true. Sure there's tons of ignorance but there's also a lot of competition out here. Most Americans simply cannot compete with the guys living in a truck, stealing fuel and eating canned meals all day every day. It's a free market and again, sad but true. Unless you have good paying freight directly with your customer...contracted, with all the miscellaneous charges agreed to then you'll always be struggling. Don't even get me started on the guys who just blow money left and right on non-business related items never saving for the downturns in the cycle.

Also, running for $2/mile on a solitary 100 mile run is commerical suicide. Conversely, $2/mile on 2000 miles is much better. Running into a dead freight area like Florida is a great example. If a new provider is thinking taking the load at $2/mile is good because he's assuming he'll get an outbound load for $2/mile as well will most likely be sitting for several days depending on the time of year. So knowing what the average outbound rates are is what he should be basing his rate for the inbound run on. If it's $1/mile coming out, he should be thinking $3/mile going in if he wants to average that magical ever so often repeated $2/mile rate. There's just so much more to this than not hauling "cheap" freight above $2/mile.

I routinely post my equipment on the load boards to get a feel for lane rates in certain areas. I thoroughly enjoy telling brokers I've never heard of a, "backhaul". Some of their responses are awesome material for slapstick comedy. I've even begun recording them. Informing them that said conversation is indeed being recorded for, "quality assurance" of course. I love returning the favor with very high rate quotes when they call me low balling trash freight nobody wants to move. Always brings a smile to my face!