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An Old Noob

wbmillerkc

Active Expediter
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Hi All!

I've been lurking for a while, reading up on the various forums, and still have a long ways to go yet.

I've been thinking I might get back into driving, and wanted to introduce myself, offer a little background, and solicite opinions.

Back in the day, late 70's early 80's, My wife and I drove OTR for a couple of companies running reefers off the west coast to all points east. This was back in the 73280 GVW/55'LOA days. (sorry if you don't know what that means) If it was cold, we pulled it inculding swinging beef. (NOT something I'd want to repeat)

We eventually got off the road, and lived "normal" lives for 35 years. Now that she has passed on I'm looking to re-invent myself, (or maybe DE-invent my self).

I know what it takes to be successfull at being on the road, and know a WHOLE lot has probably changed, some for the better, some not so much. I see a lot of folks complain about being on the road, and "It ain't like it used to be" I got news for them..... it never WAS like it used to be. I heard the same stuff back in the early 80's.

Ok.... so much for the background, now for the soliciting opinions part.

In the current O/O lease market, which class of vehicle do any of the old hands think would be the easiest and most profitable to go with. I'm not really interested in driving For someone. I've done some research and am a little torn between sprinter vs class 6 straight trucks. I have a B CDL and airbrake and hazmat are just some forms to fill out and tests to take, so licencing isn't a consideration. I'm just looking for the "easyest" entry point into the business for a solo driver.

Any opinions would be appriciated.

Brad
 

Turtle

Administrator
Staff member
Owner/Operator
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Howdy. Anyone who hauls swinging beef is a hero in my book. :D

The "easiest" entry point is the Sprinter or cargo van. Less money up front, and reduced maintenance. By the same token, it's the least profitable with the least amount of revenue, and you'll sit more between loads. There are frankly far too many cargo vans and Sprinters out here, mainly because they are the easiest, cheapest entry point into the business. The industry is just glutted with them.

A straight truck will offer you more load opportunities. Lots more. You'll only be limited by HOS as a solo.

Someone with more knowledge can offer opinions on Class 6 versus Class 7 or 8 trucks.
 

Lawrence

Founder
Staff member
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A BIG EO welcome wbmillerkc!

You have a very interesting background - we hope to hear more from you!
 

wbmillerkc

Active Expediter
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Hey T

Thanks, that confirms what I figured on the sprinters. I don't really want to go back into class 8 for a number of reasons, That's why I was thinking class 6 or 7. At the moment I'm leaning towards a class 7 straight truck with a "condo" on it and a 22' box. That should keep me under 40' and still have the wieght capcity to haul any class 6 loads + some. One of the questions I would have is, is 22' enough box to haul most common loads? or do you need that extra 2' length on the box?



I love children
Especially with a fine KC BBQ sauce.
The problem most people make
is that they OVERCOOK them
 

Monty

Expert Expediter
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One thing I can tell you, being I hauled meat also in the 70's. If you are looking for the "romance of the road, do the Sprinter. No log books, no restrictions. If you are looking for profit, seems many feel the straight truck is the way to go. Though I do profit with my Sprinter and my association with Landstar.

A large sleeper on that truck would certainly offer you more comfort, but it does come with the log book restrictions. Sometimes for a solo that can be a killer!

And if you are with a company that uses the Qualcomm for logging, simply moving down the block for breakfast begins your 14 hour clock.

As for me .... were I to find myself alone in this world, I might very well do the straight truck, as revenue would not by my focus, but staying busy, with a "home" (so to speak), right behind me would certainly be attractive.
 

zorry

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Actually most companies that have electronic logs give you personal use time that will not start your clock.
I can drive 15 minutes to the mall and three hours later I still have 30 mins to do something else.
My partner also gets 45 mins per day.
No logging is still a nice option.
 

wbmillerkc

Active Expediter
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Thanks for the input!

Just as a point of interest, did the ICC ever get swinging outlawed? I know they were trying to back in the 80's because it was such a dangerous load. I kinda doubt the market would allow it, which means they would just tariff it out of existance.

As far as the "Romance" of the open road.... I look at this with eyes wide open. The part they don't tell the uninitiated is that the romance comes with a pchyco girlfriend that will drain your bank account and sleep with your best friend AND his german shepard at the slightest lack of viligance. (ok.... maybe not your best friend) hehe. But it IS a business, you have to work at it, and you don't get paid just for rolling out of the bunk in the morning.

My hat's off to the guys and gals doing it. It's a lot of hard work. long hours of fighting bordom and keeping alert staring out the windshield, fighting the weather, the bureaucrats, the 4 wheelers that can't seem to see something 8' wide and 13' tall.
Ok, I started to sound like the "we walked barefoot uphill both ways in 3' of snow to go to school" guys there, sorry!:D... hehe.

All that said, I've had a LOT of great times on the road, but it does come with a price.
 

Turtle

Administrator
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Owner/Operator
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I don't know if they outlawed it or not. I just know that I worked in a restaurant that received beef on a hook and we butchered it right there. Sometimes it was quartered, sometimes not.

Ironically, if you see "swinging beef" on a restaurant menu, it's not the same thing. It's beef, but different. :D
 

Rocketman

Veteran Expediter
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In some ways, the straight truck is actually easier to get into than a Sprinter. It will cost more, but most any carrier will sign it on as opposed to most of the better carriers have a waiting list for Sprinters.

A few more specifics would help to get you some better answers.

1. Are you looking to get into something new or something used? Anything newer than 2003 with a diesel engine has a potential for some seriously expensive repairs.....sprinters included after 2006. If your looking at new stuff, they seem to have made some improvements in the last year or 2, but all of that emissions equipment is still on there and you can bet its still expensive.

2. What is your main goal? Do you need a certain amount of income from this business? How much do you have in mind? Does the business only need to sustain its own expenses plus some living expenses for you? These things would be a major factor in my decision if I were in your shoes.

3. Are you capable of dealing with a 3 or 4 day layover without going crazy? Many, many people who come into this business from tractor trailers just cant take the downtime that we see from time to time. You have been out of the industry long enough that it probably wouldnt be an issue for you, but its still something to think about.

For what its worth....there are many people out here perfectly happy driving for someone else. There is something to be said for not being responsible for the repair costs associated with these newer diesels....believe me on that if you ignore everything else...lol.
 

Monty

Expert Expediter
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Swinging beef was never outlawed ... but it is more convient and easier to manage when cyropacked in a vaccum bag.

Jewish protocol for "Kosher" will not allow, (to my knowledge) for it to be any other waythan hanging, so the blood drain can continue, and it can be "blessed" if the time exceeds 72 hours .... that is a process where a Rabbi takes a garden hose and washes it down, maintaing the moisture in it, and thereby continuing the blood drain.

I have done TONS of swinging beef in "the day" ..... most often from Pepper Pack in Denver ... to NYC ..... never went west with it.

What was really dangersous was when they placed a row of beef along the outside edges, and lamb in the middle three rows .... that was a LOOSE load and moved around a lot!
 
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Ragman

Veteran Expediter
Retired Expediter
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Jewish protocol for "Kosher" will not allow, (to my knowledge) for it to be any other way than hanging, so the blood drain can continue, and it can be "blessed" if the time exceeds 72 hours .... that is a process where a Rabbi takes a garden hose and washes it down, maintaing the moisture in it, and thereby continuing the blood drain.
Maybe moose will chime in and let us know if this is correct.
 

Rocketman

Veteran Expediter
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Look for thread "Plans and expectations"

Sent from my SCH-I500 using EO Forums
Thanks Slack....I use the phone almost exclusively now when Im on the road and for whatever reason his new thread wasnt showing up.

Btw...the little gps dash holder you suggested at mats...got one and love it...works great! Thanks!
 
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