Once you have decided to pursue a trucking career it is time to start planning. Getting home once every season change is not that unusual for a team. We are usually away from our house for two months at a time and as long as four month in a couple of unusual circumstances.
In order to be gone that long we had to do some advanced planning and preparation. The first step was to start using online banking and have as many bills as possible come to me via email or electronic draft. It was much easier to start this process at home so if I missed something I could catch it before the bill became a problem. Through trial and error and going through a few of the larger banks I figured out that for our business I prefer a smaller bank. There are advantages and disadvantages to both; the small town banks attitude about customer service is what I need when we are away from home. With a phone call I can talk to an employee of the bank that knows me and who can quickly solve my current dilemma. The biggest problem I run into is large purchases over $2000.00 dollars on my debit card as I exceed my daily limit.
A budget book is a must and the book is broken down by the month. First I go through and label each month on two facing blank pages. On the left side of book or backside of previous months page I have our truck bills listed and on the right hand side I have our personal bills. There is a method to my madness... When I have a bill that comes due quarterly or yearly I go to that month and list the bill, that way when it is time to pay bills for that month I know what is due. When I pay that bill I go to the appropriate page in the book of when that bill will be due again and list the bill. I do not like surprises that cost me money. Using this method I can stay on top of when bills are due and not fly by the seat of my pants. This budget book has stood me in good steed for many years.
Before going on the road we knew it was time to clean house, clean out the garage, and get rid of the many pets that we had. I had to sell my horses and find homes for my many small pets. We also had way to many vehicles and we started selling these off until all we had left was a small car to run around in. This process took some time and thinning down our possessions was painful. We did not need to maintain all of this stuff when we would only be home a few times a year or get to use the toy every couple of years.
The decision was made to make one more drastic step and that was to move from SW Kansas to Saint Louis so that we could make it home often and stay within the major freight lanes. This was our hardest decision and it was not taken lightly. We had bought our house and acreage with the intent of retiring there and we had put a lot of effort into making it a nice home. Looking back now that was one of our best decisions was to get that weight off of our shoulders so we could concentrate on our expedite business.
Through all of this process we paid off everything possible and put as much as could away in a savings account for a cushion. With our life in order our next step was to hit the road and we made the decision to buy our first truck. For those that have never lived on the road I suggest not buying a truck but become drivers to make sure this lifestyle will suit you.