We all hear these wild stories of astronomical rates per mile that some drivers say they are getting at a different company.  When we hear high rates per mile from several drivers our ears begin to perk up.  Now is the time to ask questions of how they got these rates and are the rates line haul or all miles? Another question to ask when talking to another driver is, “are those the rates to the truck?”

Each of us has a different set of expenses and the most important number is the bottom line after expenses.  When I over hear someone talking about becoming an owner operator or getting their own authority so they can be their own boss I chuckle to myself.  Yes, we are our own boss but we have to cultivate a lot of grass to keep our income high and our expenses paid. We do not walk away from the truck when we go home as there is always something that needs to be done on the truck while we are off so that it does not shut us down when we are back to running freight.

Landstar, for an example has different quoted rates, one if you pull a Landstar trailer at 65%, one if you own your own trailer at 72%, if you have a platform trailer 73%, and if in Express 62%.   When talking to drivers who are in the Ranger or Inway division they usually say line haul rates and if talking to an Express driver they usually say rate to the truck.  If you hear the line haul rate and do not realize this and think that rate is what the truck is getting the grass really looks so green you have to wear shades. 

Since we are in the Express division our Express agents talk in our language, you get this much per loaded mile to the truck.  Here is another thing to question Loaded” miles, as this really sounds great but how many miles do you dead head on your own dime to get the load?  There are loads worth dead heading a thousand or more miles to then there are others that the rate is so low fifty miles is too far to dead head.

After talking to recruiters and other drivers if you decide to make the jump; leave your old company behind you.  The reason to make the change is because you were not happy with your old company so don’t bring that baggage with you.  Attend orientation with wide open eyes and ears and learn as much as possible about the new company and how to succeed.  The jump from a driver to owner operator or as a owner operator to a company that is not micromanaged is often not an easy one and orientation is the best chance to learn a new companies culture.

Personally, the thrill of working on getting a load, working with an agent, and then working with the shipper and/or receiver to get the freight delivered on time and to fit their needs is thrilling. I feel as if we are an equal side of a triangle, agent, shipper/receiver, and us to get the load accomplished to benefit all of us.  The longer we work at relationships with agents the better it gets.

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About Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda have been team drivers since 2005 as expediters. They are leased to Landstar Express America. Bob was a diesel mechanic for twenty years before doing over the road and Linda worked in the courthouse.

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