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Landstar Express straight trucks

Discussion in 'The Newbies Paradise Forum' started by gardair, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. gardair

    gardair New Recruit

    Hello all...I'm new to this forum and am looking into expediting. I have a couple years experience in tractor-trailers,(dry vans and haz-mat tankers), and would like to ask a few questions about your side of the trucking business.
    I'm trying to get ideas about how to make a living solo driving either a Sprinter or a straight truck and have enough control over my "business" that I can take time off as needed to tend to family and personal commitments.
    I know that Landstar BCO's can schedule their own loads and time off,but I've only seen a couple of loads for straight trucks on their internet board,and nothing for Sprinters.
    Are any of you driving a straight truck for Landstar Express?
    Are there any other expedite companies who allow the truck owner/operator to schedule loads and time off similar to Landstar?
    Thanks for taking the time to read this. I'm looking forward to your replies.
  2. Turtle

    Turtle Administrator Staff Member

    You'll probably make more money as a solo in a straight truck than you will in a Sprinter, simply because there are more load opportunities for straight trucks than Sprinters or cargo vans. Plus, most carriers will load a straight truck ahead of a van, to keep that straight truck moving and happy. Relatively speaking. :D

    As an independent contractor, most carriers have no forced-dispatch, meaning you can take the load or not, as well as work when you want to or not. So scheduling time off is only really limited by your finances and when you want to work.

    Many carriers allow you to book your own loads, but finding expedited loads on your own can be problematic at best. You have to have some experience and sign on as a partner carrier with several carriers in order to know about most expedite loads, as they are rarely on "public" load boards. A lot of them are bid out by e-mail, in fact. Even with Landstar, expedite shipments are either never posted, or they're posted for about 5 seconds before someone grabs it. Most expedite loads require pretty quick pickups, so there's not a lot of time to waste by posting those on load boards hoping for someone to bid.

    Leasing on with a carrier and then finding your own loads to supplement things can help, but to get into this business without already knowing where most of your freight will come from is highly risky, as it will take 6 months to a year, at the soonest, for you to figure it all out and make the right contacts.

    With that in mind, you will not run every day in expediting like you will in general trucking. You'll run more in a straight than in a van, tho. Loads are primarily emergency freight with little in the way of lead time before the pickup. Some of it is non-emergency, like exclusive use of the truck and that kind of thing, and is sometimes booked a day or two in advance, but that's not the norm. But you can sit for anywhere from 1-3 days between loads in expediting. So, taking time off and making a good living can be an oxymoron in expediting. Just depends on what you define making a living as, as well as time off.

    But there are people in expediting who are in the Reserves who take regular time off, and others who take considerable time off for various reasons. There are still weekly deductions to contend with at most carriers, but by and large you have control over when and how often you want to work. The number one frustration for those who come from general trucking into expediting is the inability to cope with sitting and not running every day. If you don't have a way to kill time and be happy, you'll go nuts in a month. Two weeks in some cases. :D
  3. gardair

    gardair New Recruit

    Thanks Turtle for the quick and informative reply. I've done some Tractor-Trailer expediting,mostly NLM auto parts,Michigan area and Laredo-McAllen Texas areas...Lots of waiting there,too.
    I wouldn't expect to "get it together" in the business in much less than a year or so, as I never have in anything else. I've been flying crop dusters for years, and getting good at that didn't happen overnight!..Also, my first year on Tractor-Trailers was a really intense learning period..
    I live in South Texas and need to get to South Carolina fairly often to see my elderly Dad. I'm trying to put together a business plan that will have a decent chance of supporting me financially,get me to SC,then get me home to Texas.
    I can buy a truck(nice used one) outright so the only truck payment would be to repay my savings(plus maint., engine and trans.reserves,next truck purchase money,tires,ins.,etc.). I'm divorced,no kids,no house payment,no credit card balance,so I'm able to be flexible in my income generation,to a point.
    I don't know about the straight truck side of things in South Texas (probably not too much going out of here and almost nothing coming in expedited) but the South Carolina side might do well as I would be in the I-20, I-26, I-95 corridors area(close to Augusta,GA, Columbia,SC, Charleston,SC and Savannah,GA .
    As you can see, I'm gathering facts,info,and opinions,trying to educate myself about straight trucks and expediting. This forum has a lot of good posts on it. I think there's a wealth of knowledge available here if a person will just take the time to look for it and ask questions.
    Thanks again....
  4. cheri1122

    cheri1122 Expert Expediter

    South Texas is a fairly regular destination for expediters, and getting out is not generally a problem in a straight truck, either.
  5. greg334

    greg334 New Recruit

    With all that said ...

    Landstar will not let you book your own loads. A lot of times, the load board (internal) will have loads that will fit on your truck but the agent refuses to let it happen. (see the third comment)

    If you have tractor experience, think Ranger and get a tractor (just a suggestion because of the next comment)

    Find any landstar agents who are in your area and go talk to them. Get to know them and talk to them about what they can do for you in getting you into a dedicated lane.
  6. bobwg

    bobwg Active Expediter

    Also express/expedited freight will not show up on the Landstar internal load boards , those loads need to have a truck assigned to it fast so the agents will get on the computer and see what trucks are in the area and start calling those trucks on the phone and see if they want the load, if not they will call the next truck and see if they want the load until they get a Landstar truck to cover it. The Landstar Internal Load board is for general freight which has time to wait for a driver to express interest in the load before Landstar puts it out and available for other companies
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2010
  7. Turtle

    Turtle Administrator Staff Member

    As Cheri mention, south Texas is a regular expedite destination, but so are the Carolinas. Of course, you can go 6 months without getting a load to Texas, and then all of a sudden you're down there 4 or 5 times in a month. Same with the Carolinas. But both areas regularly see expedite loads in and out.
  8. greg334

    greg334 New Recruit

    It all depends.

    If you are trying to make money, then it doesn't matter where the work comes from.

    If you are trying to capture just express work, then the board(s) are not good for you.

    A number of loads appear on the board that are express loads, they can be found with a patients but sometimes there may be a few a week that just sit there, like one I had a TONU with it was sitting on the board 24 hours before I found it and it was an express load. I called on some in the past that were there for a few hours and the agent would end up pulling and giving it to an affiliate to get it covered.

    The thing is, it doesn't matter when you come down to it, freight is freight.

    If you build your network up, you won't be without work 90% of the time. If you find dedicated lanes, then you are a step ahead.
  9. gardair

    gardair New Recruit

    Wow..there's some good advice here! I'll try to find a nearby Landstar agent. I'll also check out the truck stops in Edinburg,TX (not too far from home) and drive over to Laredo,too, and meet some Landstar drivers,and the other expediters as well. I drove out of Laredo a while back and there always seemed to be some c/v's and Sprinters waiting there. Maybe I'll meet some straight truck operators,too. I'd really like to talk with a few drivers and see what I can learn from them. I've thought about buying a tractor and pulling vans. I've studied the Landstar board (that non-BCO's can see)for about a year and there seems to be enough freight to get the T/T's in and out of my area. However, every time I see a 22'-24' straight truck/sleeper I say to myself "now that looks like the right idea to me!" So,here I am investigating the idea of running a straight truck.
    I'm not in a big hurry to get started expediting. I still have too many questions and know from other business ventures I haven't done enough homework or formulated a complete plan yet. Plus, I have a crop dusting contract in Iowa from late July through Labor Day. Until that's over, I won't be buying a truck, just working on the plan.
    Thanks again to everyone for the great advice.

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