Joey Slaughter has been in the industry for 21 years. He is the owner of Blue Ridge Transport, LLC, a Ringgold, VA based step deck carrier. Joey has operated dry vans, reefers, gasoline tankers, hot shots, doubles,car haulers and most recently step deck. He is also a certified transportation broker and an honor graduate of Liberty University with a Bachelor Degree in Religion.
Joey is a U.S. Army Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and still serves as a Sergeant Major in the Virginia National Guard.
After nearly a year of considering a change, I finally decided to pull the trigger on my plan to sell my car hauler and start 2014 with a new operation. I recently purchased a 2008 53' all aluminum step deck, complete with ramps. I almost made the decision about a year ago, but then my car hauling business really picked up. Like most of trucking, there are busy and slow seasons in carhauling and after a very busy summer, followed by a somewhat disappointing fall season and a load out to the west coast, I made the decision to sell my trailer and buy a more versatile step deck.
In my decision making process, I had to look at the big picture and list out all the pros and cons for making such a large commitment. As owner-operators, we have to constantly measure ourselves and our business to see if it needs adjusting. Some of the major factors that caused me to buy a different trailer were as follows:
less maintenance required; money and time savings
less cargo insurance required
more versatile trailer which means more freight opportunities
lighter trailer; new step deck weighs 11,000 lbs. Car trailer weighs 24,000 lbs.
better fuel mileage
When I looked at the fuel savings plus the lower maintenance cost per mile to operate, lower cost per mile to insure and reduced deadheading because of more freight opportunities, it became a no brainer.
One of the biggest attractions to being an owner-operator is the freedom. In this case, I'm utilizing my freedom to change my operation into something very different. In the big picture however, it's not that different. Everything that goes into the business of being an owner-operator is still required no matter what kind of box you're pulling.