After reading Terryandrene's post, a few questions come to mind. For the wannabee who is reading this, how much cash on hand do or would a newbee need to start expediting in a fleet owner van? $500-$1000-$1500.
We are in a D truck and from experience at a scale house and a little over weight on the drives you need about 500.00 in CASH. The scale would only take cash or a ComData check and the company that came and rearranged our freight would also only take cash or a ComData check no credit cards.
We now keep a fire proof/water proof lock box in our truck with important papers and also a small amount of cash.
Your emergency fund in another ballgame all together.
It would seem to me if a person drives 1500 miles in a week or around 214 a day to try and average 4,500 miles on a 21 day month, @ $3.50 a gallon for fuel and you get 20 MPG your still going to need close to $375.00 for a ten day out. Plus it will most likely be 19-21 days before you see your first full weeks pay depending on the length of Orientation and when a work week starts and ends. Plus living on the road has to cost something.
I wouldn't keep that much cash in my wallet. When I had that switch blade put on my throat in Kansas City I was glad I only had 40 bucks to give the crackhead and the rest of my cash was hidden in the truck. I'm not trying to scare you, but I worked in the cb business beside the Petro in West Memphis,AR long enogh to know that trucks get broken into, and they do get ransacked. If you are going to keep 500 or more dollars on the truck hide it really,really good. If not you could make some crackhead really,really happy. Again not trying to scare you, but truth is if ain't nailed down there are people around some of these truck stops that will steal it. I think people can tell you about enough of their past experiences for you to believe me. Like the time a crack head tried to sale me a spare tire. Sorry for getting of post.
Well done - you are looking the right things in the right way. You'd be surprised at the number of new people that don't confront that reality - of what it takes to fund your operating expenses until the money starts coming in. And what if ya got lucky and had to run 2500 miles for 3 straight weeks - the bar just got higher.
Living on the road does indeed cost something - although you go spartan and with the per diem deduction you potentially can live under what you can claim on your taxes - and come out ahead. Nevertheless, one does have to eat - even if it's only peanut butter and jelly sandwiches - and it ain't free.
I'm kinda with ark here on the cash - I don't like carrying it - I'd prefer to use a card and really the only reason I carry cash is for those places that don't accept other forms of payment - mostly the Ohio Turnpike, some other tolls, and crossing the border coming back into the US.
I'm driving a cargo van (Sprinter) and generally don't have to scale - so I don't expect to be in similar situation to the Caffee's - but I can certainly understand their reasoning - and appreciate their sharing it - might motivate me to carry a little extra just in case.
Personally I think a Debit card is the best way to go. There are very few places you can't buy Fuel, oil or what ever else you need. Credit or Debit if your required to sign the back, sign it "see photo ID" so if some one tries to use it they will need to be a Identical twin.
Truckers used to carry large amounts of cash, (one reason we see so many panhandlers & lot lizards), but it's a different world, today. I carry very little cash - mostly enough for tolls & laundry, because everything else I can pay for with either a Comdata or debit card. I have a few Comchecks on hand, but haven't ever needed them, yet.
As in Arks case, all the more reason to minimize your time at truck stops to minimize your exposure. As in Caffees case a simple trip to a pay scale and eight bucks is way better'n a grand.
To answer your question tho, carry what you can afford to loose, have nuther grand or so available, other ways.
Don't forget you'll be getting funds every time you POD out of a load or after you pick up the load depending on your carrier's policy. That should cover your fuel costs with some left over. You'll need some more money than that but you shouldn't need 3 full weeks worth of all expenses. I usually keep $30-40 in mostly small bills in my shirt pocket where it can easily be pulled and tossed. It would make a nice little scatter of cash to divert attention and hopefully let me get away. It's also convenient when paying for lunch or whatever to just reach in my shirt pocket and leave my wallet alone. Every other day or so I get a $20 to add to it and break to keep the wad of small bills stocked.
another idea in addition to greenbacks in your "pocket" is load a few hundred dollars on a prepaid debit card to use only in a "truck" emergency. I say prepaid debit card because of the fee involved. set it aside in a safe place in the truck seperate from the cash fund, because this debit card would be a secondary emergency fund to rely on if the cash fund we're needed, such in a case of DOT. Use it only when necessary and the fee that comes along with it would be a motivator not to use it too often to avoid the fees and you have an emergency fund to use at the pump, restaurant or wherever just in case.