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Owning a sprinter van- being a owner operator

Discussion in 'The Newbies Paradise Forum' started by Chmiel08, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. Chmiel08

    Chmiel08 New Recruit

    I'm in the army and i'll be getting out in less than 2 months. I'll be going back home to el paso, tx. I graduated from national tractor trailer school december 5th. I currently have a commercial drivers license class a with air brakes.

    I'm looking into buying a sprinter van instead of driving tractor trailers. Can someone please help and tell me what else i must have or do besides buy a van. I know i need the obvious-vehicle insurance and my own health insurance. Do i need dot numbers or something? What's involved for me to learn the business? I would love to drive a sprinter van and deliver expredited freight. With no experience I definetly am not ready to be an owner operator. If I lease on with a company with my van do I still get benefits? How does that work? Am I responsible for my own health insurance etc..??? Please help!!! Thanks. Marcin
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  2. davekc

    davekc Senior Moderator Staff Member

    Might be moving a little too fast with limited knowledge. I would spend some time here in the forums and do a little research so you really understand what you are jumping in to.
    Also, may want to consider driving for someone for a short period to test the waters PRIOR to making a expensive vehicle purchase.
    BTW, welcome to EO and thanks for serving.
  3. Rocketman

    Rocketman New Recruit

    First off, as Dave said, thanks for your service!

    Now for the rest. You say you definitely are not ready to be an owner operator. Based on your first post, I would agree. You need to do a lot more research. Here is why. You also said that you were looking to by a van. Well, the second you sign the note..or the check...whichever the case may be, your an owner operator. You own it and you'll be operating it. So, that's our first clue that you need to do some research.

    I would suggest that you do a lot of reading here on the forums, try to get an idea of how the business works. I would also agree with Dave that you should probably try to drive for someone else first. I spent a few years researching the industry while still working at my previous career. I stepped straight into truck ownership with a paid for "used" truck...but your not going to have that much research under your belt (I have no way of knowing your financials). Driving for someone else is going to be your best bet and you can learn as you go.

    You will still most likely have to furnish your own health insurance though. I don't know of anyone who gets paid health insurance as a driver in this industry. In fact, in most cases you'll be considered an independent contractor even driving for someone else. Which basicly means you'll get a percentage of the revenue or a flat rate per mile, and that's about it. You'll be as close to running your own business as you'll ever get without buying anything. There are a few employee drivers in this industry, but they are very few. You'll need to have a business mindset from the start in my opinion. Employee mindsets, even when driving for someone else, are not productive in this environment.

    So that's my thoughts! Thanks again for your service! :)
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  4. Chmiel08

    Chmiel08 New Recruit

    Thank you for all your advice- very well said. I will keep on learning and researching as much as i can. Oh and keep on asking the millions of questions that always pop into my head. Thanks for responding to my post. I appreciate it and your advice. Thanks for supporting.
  5. LDB

    LDB Expert Expediter

    Thanks for your service. If you are leaving the army with 20 or more years of service good luck in what comes next. If not, consider seriously the benefits and security you'll be giving up before leaving the army for expediting. Now, if you decide steady pay with benefits isn't as good as long hours sitting in a van not knowing when the next opportunity is coming around then here's the plan.

    Think about a career in anything, mechanics, refrigeration, barbering, paralegal or whatever. Any of those are going to require several months of study and learning at a minimum. This career should require serious study and effort as well. I suggest you read back at least two years if not more in the general, newbies and recruiter forums here on EO. That doesn't mean every word of every post but it does mean read the title of every single thread and any of them that sound remotely applicable to you and your circumstances read all of those threads.

    Again, good luck and thank you for your service.
  6. paullud

    paullud Expert Expediter

    Do you have a wife or kids which will impact your wanting to be home? Depending on what your time in the service was like you may find the need to just take some time off. When my brother left the Marines he went into a depression for a little while which in part I believe was caused by his tours in Iraq but the bigger issue was missing the brotherhood of the military. When you are out on the road you are alone and that may give you a chance to think and adjust but it may have a negative effect as well. I would avoid debt and have money in the bank before you bought a vehicle. Things can change quickly as an independent driver, I just had something that came up that could cause a big problem for me so you want to be ready to adapt and deal with stupidity.

    Sent from my ADR6400L using EO Forums mobile app
  7. zorry

    zorry Active Expediter

    Do you have wife or kids at home ?

    Has anyone ever answered "yes, that's why I want to go OTR "?

    Sorry for topic detour.

    Glad this vet is getting intelligent,respectful advice.
  8. xmudman

    xmudman Expert Expediter

    Curious, Chmiel; what's your MOS? If it involves trucking, maybe that will give you a leg up on finding a job (prior experience-wise) :)

    From me, too: Thanks for your service :D

    Cannon-cocker, 1979-81
  9. golfournut

    golfournut Active Expediter

    I would first suggest contacting the VA in lieu if health insurance. If my memory is correct, you might have 10 years of VA medical benefits available to you without a service connected disability.

    It won't cover eye glasses or dental, but depending on your tax returns, your deductable could be $0 to $50 depending on what kind of Dr you see. For just primary Dr about $9.

    They are all over the country. Big and small towns to handle an emergency should the need arise.

    As far as the other part of your question, read everything here you can. When you get home, or if your in the states, check out the local truck stops or Walmart parking lots for vans that have signage or if no signage that look like they might be expediters. Look for out of state lic plates, might be an indication.

    If there is someone sitting in the front seat, approach and ask to talk with them. Most will talk with you and some will even speak english. ;)

    Write down the advertisers listed here and look for their signage.

    Good luck and thank you.

    Sent from my PC36100 using EO Forums mobile app
  10. cheri1122

    cheri1122 Expert Expediter

    Me too - it's good to know we can do that much in return. :)
  11. runrunner

    runrunner Rookie Expediter

    The best way to see if Expediting is for you is to find an owner that needs a co-driver and sign on with them for awhile,or if you have a buddy who will team with you check the Team Wanted ads. You have a class A license I would stay away from Vans for now and go Tractor or straight truck. Never buy a Truck and jump in. For example,years back I drove a straight truck for a couple out of New York,the husband sold a used car lot because of changes in state laws and he had a friend in expediting so he teamed with him for six months learned a lot about the business,loved it,so his wife got her CDL and they bought a new straight truck. They thought this is great made money for six months but then thought you know this being gone all the time is not for us after all! If they sold the truck they would lose money on it so they hired me. The moral of the story is I always recommend to anyone who ask about Expedited that they drive for an owner for at least one year before buying a truck. Thank you for the Service and I wish you the best of luck.
  12. geo

    geo Active Expediter

    that is good advice from all the above
    i jump into to this and if i knew what i know now might have something different

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