Owner-operator Jimmy Nevarez grew accustomed to hearing the word “No.” As a young trucker, he was told that he wouldn’t be able to make it as an owner-operator running short-haul driver in Los Angeles. Just the same, he says, “I’m all about proving naysayers wrong.”
Based in Chino, Calif., and leased to J.B. Hunt Intermodal today pulling containers (previously running 53-ft. dry vans), Nevarez has found success with short-haul in L.A. through customer service. “People would say, ‘You can’t pay me enough money to come to California,’ but I liked the niche. You can do what no one else wants to do, and do it better than everyone else. If you please the customer, they’re going to want you back.” Nevarez has built a client list in the area and receives personal requests because of his success in making deadlines.
Driving regularly in L.A., though, is no easy feat. Nevarez says his truck’s automatic transmission makes dealing with the traffic easier. He uses the automatic’s “creep mode” often, cruising without his foot on the accelerator.
Nevarez is part of Team Run Smart, a Freightliner-sponsored program that functions as both a real-world test-drive and a program of sharing information to help drivers with anything to from fuel efficiency to exercising. Nevarez, along with the other four Pros in the effort, give advice to their fellow truckers through Team Run Smart’s blog and meet-and-greets.
“It’s been an adventure. A very welcoming whirlwind,” he says. Nevarez enjoys sharing knowledge with drivers that he wishes he would have known when he entered the business 11 years ago. He says he learns from the other pros as well as site members who post questions and comments to the blog.
“You don’t have to worry so much about being judged,” he says. “It’s more of a friendly community.”
Since graduating Magna Cum Laude from DeVry University in Pomona, Calif., Nevarez’ degree in business administration has helped him better understand the business aspect of trucking. His specialty as one of the Team Run Smart’s Pros is business, and he frequently contributes to the “Business Smart” portion of the blog.
“[At Team Run Smart] we all do something different, and we’re all successful. It can be done,” he says. For truckers starting out, he recommends researching the business and understanding costs. He says that it’s important to not just rely on a recruiter.
Nevarez hauls in the program in a 2014 pre-production Freightliner Cascadia Evolution. The truck is powered by a 12 speed transmission and a Detroit DD15 engine. Nevarez uses the large sleeper as his office while on the road.
From bouncing around seasonal jobs to driving a company-owned cement truck to becoming an owner/operator, Nevarez has constantly worked throughout his career to better himself and learn more. “If it can be done, Jimmy can do it,” says his wife, Molly. “He’ll find a way to make the impossible happen.”
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