Truck Driver #2

My career as a truck driver started 18 years ago and I have learned a lot about the industry.  Mostly from a close friend that has been there the whole 18 years.  I started out as a company driver for a grocery warehouse.  For two years, I drove to nearby grocery stores and unloaded groceries, produce, and frozen foods, sometimes by hand.  I thought I had had enough of that and started pulling containers, 40′ trailers that come off ships at the pier.  I pulled these trailers as far away as Kentucky and back and in the general area for 8 years.  It paid pretty good but going in and out of the pier in Norfolk got to be too time consuming and I did not get paid for it.

I became an owner operator about 2 years into my career.  I my mentor that helped me learn all I could to be an owner operator.  He and I are still friends to this day!  I hung on every word and every piece of information he could give me.  In all those years as an owner operator, I have owned about 6 trucks, not all at once. 

The difference between a company driver and an owner operator is as a company driver you have no responsibility of the truck, maintenance or repairs, fuel, truck payment or insurance.  As an owner operator, you have to take care all of this.  In some cases, being a company driver is a good thing, but if you want to be in control of what loads you get and where you are going, then being an owner operator is the way to go.  I’ve enjoyed being an owner operator but now I work for one.  My truck is paid for and I pretty much work when I want.  I have someone in the family that works on it to keep it going.

Life as a truck driver has been good! I don’t run the road like I used to and every now and then I get the urge to run to California.  Then I look at the truck and decide, I can’t do that!  I guess I have about 5 more good years left before I will call it quits.  Who knows!

Whoop, whoop, trukkin’ up!

6 responses to “Truck Driver #2

  1. Girlfriend, you have been mightily blessed to have had a mentor to guide you in your career. I tell you, plainly, company drivers work hard for the money they earn. As you well know. We have had to pick up the “voluntary” repo trucks from several drivers that had been many years as a company driver and jumped into being an owner operator.

    The thing that boggles my mind, and breaks my heart, is hearing the stories from these people about earning more money than they had ever seen in their lives. Instead of setting the money aside for truck payments, setting up a savings account for repairs and tires, insurance, and taxes to be paid they chose to spread the wealth. Big screen TVs, a new car, a boat, a bigger house, or set up their ride with all the shiny chrome that could be purchased for inside and outside their trucks. When they found they needed to figure out how to come up with $3,000 to pay the income tax they got scared. The final blow hit one guy when he had to replace the rear tires on his truck and had no money to do it.

    New owner operators are flabbergasted to find they have to shell out $900 PLUS to fill up their fuel tanks to get them going on their first set of runs. Before, all they had to do was pull up to the pump and swipe their company card, then get their $50 advance at the fuel desk for food for several days. Quite a rude awakening they get.

    I can’t tell you how it heartens me to know you have been blessed with a protector all these years. One that has taught you the right way to make a living and to do more than just keep body and soul together.

    Leslie

    • I know exactly what you are talking about. I had a friend that went through that fery thing but unlike some others, he got angry and decided to take it out on the truck. Needless to say, he not only had to pay off the loan but for the damages to the truck. He wasn’t too happy about that! I am grateful for my friend. I don’t think my career would be what it is without him. 🙂

      • You are so very fortunate. What little I know about you I think your Dad grounded you in his wisdom which made it easier to take your friend’s advice and be successful.

        The hardest lesson to learn is to live within your means. Temptation is just one dollar away. I have to pull on the reins of my husband from time to time because he can do some hair brained things. Don’t tell him I told you that 😉

        Leslie

      • Lol, I know thats right. For a time I ran team with someone I dated for 5 years. When we got a check for about $3500, he started acting like he was “Daddy Warbucks”, spreading the wealth! There were plenty of times I had to stake his chain to keep him from going too far. 😉 My Dad was the best thing that ever happened to me. We shared the love of trucking and his reaction when he found out that my brother and I were driving, was priceless! He had tears in his eyes and he gave both of us Cobra 29 cb radios.

      • This business is a mixed bag of tricks, I tell you. Hate this job one day and love it the next.

        How funny! I bet your “Daddy Warbucks” friend appreciates you “staking his chain” even though he really wanted to run through the money. Very wise of you to be the voice of reason and moderation. Hard to do but necessary.

        Thank you for sharing the story of your Dad being proud of you and your brother for following his footsteps. It put a lump in my throat and a song in my heart. Lucky girl you are.

        Leslie

  2. When I think about it, Leslie, it does put a lump in my throat as well. I used to call my Dad to tell him where I am but he’s been gone now 13 years and I miss it. Sometimes, I still get that feeling and have to catch myself. Even though he drove for 20 years, it was all local, citywide. He’d get a kick out of hearing where I was and it put a smile in my heart when he’d ask, “Where are you now?” But, I’m a big girl and life goes on. Thanks for listening to my story, makes me feel good someone is interested in it!
    Marilyn

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