Reader Tips on Boosting Income


My best advice to others in a business that has danger lurking behind every mile marker is to keep a businesslike attitude. I see trucks that are obviously not in an effective preventive maintenance program. I see trucks driven at excessive speeds. I see drivers who are not well-kept. I see some trucks that must have cost a small fortune, and I can only hope that the person responsible for the payments has a lot on the ball.

I drive a 25-year-old Peterbilt 352 cabover and pull a 25-year-old Wilson Livestock and a 25-year-old Trailmobile flatbed. I have gone through many level 1 and 2 inspections and gotten nothing more than warnings for a light out here and there. I spend a lot of time over, under and around my equipment inspecting and fixing things while they are small problems. As my dad told me, “Eat a dog while he’s still a pup.”

If you want to make it as an owner-operator, you must have a nose for every angle, be it bookwork or legwork.

– Zach Beadle
Devine, Texas


Keep a small notebook in your pocket, and record where each cent goes. When you buy a soda, write it down. Record the dollar you left for the waitress and the change you dropped into the kettle for the Salvation Army, which is deductible. Only when you see where the money went do you know which spending habits need to be changed first.

– Kellie C. Brau, Jr.
Kaufman, Texas


I have found that if I service my own equipment, I save a lot of money as well as finding cheap prices on parts, tires and fuel. I use to find a lot of items.

Do not keep switching leases. Find a good, stable company and stick with it. The higher mileage pay rate is not always best if the mileage is not there. It costs money to switch companies with downtime, startup costs, etc.

Watch where you buy fuel. Certain states will hit you with high fuel tax or hit you with tax at the end of the tax period and will offset that good-paying load.

Reasonable insurance rates are a plus. If you can get a fleet rate with the company you are leased to, sometimes it is better than a single unit rate.

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Know your cost per mile. This will help you with a target for which you can operate profitably.

– Adam Harrod
Enfield, N.H.