Sign up for The Wire Newsletter!

So have I understood this correctly from reading old posts?

carmi777

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
Hey guys, gals, and ? (but it's all good) lol...
Thanks for taking the time to read my question and give me some feedback. I've been on this site in stealth mode for awhile, just reading, learning, researching and absorbing. So let me know if I got this right.

Since I'm looking to drive solo, the difference in money earned over the long term between driving a van/sprinter vs. a straight truck is pretty much a wash more or less. (pretty much the same give or take). I say that because even though there are much more vans out there, the dot rules/log restrictions I would have to deal with a straight truck would pretty much even things out.
Is grasshopper right on this?

Here is my dilemma: Love the freedom of the van, but love the comfort of the truck (esp since I'm looking to be out for long periods of time - no real home time requirements other than mail and major holidays like Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, national potato day). If there is just a negligible difference over long term then I may opt for van.
(yeah yeah b4 you start with all that depends on the driver stuff - see I've been reading these posts , lets compare exact same driver w/same habits in van vs. truck).

What is the likelihood of finding a van to drive that has a sleeper (that would be the deal breaker prob for a van)? an apu/generator? Whats likelihood of getting on a truck with a generator?

I'm obviously looking to drive for someone and not be an o/o being a newbie. That's whats appealing about the van though, once I learn the ropes, it's easier to step into o/o. Did I mention last hassle?

Oh yeah all the stuff you all holler at people for, for not including it in their info: I'm in the Chicago area, looking to go solo, don't have an actual drivers license yet but hope to get one soon then go for my cdl...LOL just joking..have a CDL A hazmat. Currently drive straight truck in Chicago area.

Any words of wisdom, advice, except "don't go into expediting" would be greatly appreciated Mr/Ms. Myagi (Karate Kid). wax on...wax off.
Seriously, thanks for any help.

p.s. I'll leave the heated riot-inducing question of whether or not to cross the border for some other time. (not talking about Taco Bell either)...though did you hear how someone is suing them saying they don't use real beef, and Taco Bells response is that the guy is wrong "it's meat is 80% beef" not sure if their answer makes me feel any better.
 

ATeam

Senior Member
Retired Expediter
Offline
Since I'm looking to drive solo, the difference in money earned over the long term between driving a van/sprinter vs. a straight truck is pretty much a wash more or less. (pretty much the same give or take). I say that because even though there are much more vans out there, the dot rules/log restrictions I would have to deal with a straight truck would pretty much even things out.
Is grasshopper right on this?
I don't think grasshopper is right on this.

There are people who have driven both straight trucks and vans and I will defer to them if I am wrong, but I don't think a van can make more money than a straight truck in the hands of the same driver, assuming the driver is competent and desires to maximize his or her income.

While a van may be technically free of HOS restrictions, some carriers, if not most, monitor the vans hours with an eye on safety. You may not have a log book but you may be prohibited from taking a load just the same because the carrier would know that you have just finished a run that kept you awake for the last 10 hours.

Also, keeping a log book is not the end of the world, it is a learned skill. Thousands of truck drivers are doing so as you read this and they earn good livings.

Keep in mind the practical fact that you need to sleep to be safe. Successful solo drivers learn how to manage their time and the log books.

Choosing a van to avoid a log book may give you a sense of more freedom but if making money is the goal, it is not a choice I would make. I would accept the log book, get good at keeping it and maximize my income opportunities by driving a higher payload rig.
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I do agree with ATeam that the log book or lack of one should be the only deciding factor...as some carriers have safety rules in place for solo van drivers....and restrict their miles accordingly.

As far as the idea of higher paying loads.....hogwash. Maybe from his perch on Tval/WG he sees a higher rate of return but if one is doing merely surface regular loads....VS operating costs....with the RIGHT carrier and some smarts....CV's and sprinters can run with the big dogs...BUT the variables are many...
 

greg334

Veteran Expediter
Offline
I would counter some of Phil's and OVM's points with a reality check.

First it really depends on the company, it is that simple and important to understand that point.

Second there really isn't much difference in income when expenses are considered and taken out (two examples to take in account are; 1- the van/sprinter gets 18 to 22 while a truck averages 9. 2 - the truck insurance and road taxes are higher) and you end up with a net that may work for you. For those who are getting a buck a mile in a van, that equates to I think a $1.65 a mile in a truck. I know of a few van/sprinter owners who clear upper $50k without too much of an issue but if they drove a straight truck, they would end up somewhere under $40k.

Third, sleeping is all relative to you, if you can sleep anywhere, then a van will work. Get an espar heater for the winter, a little honda generator (or any inverter type generator) for that an A/C unit for the summer and you don't need much more than that.

Fourth logging can be a b*tch as a solo but it again depends on the company. It first takes time to learn the tricks, which are different than the tractor or mainstream OTR driver has but after that, it depends on the company. A few companies will throw offers at you and playgames when you refuse to take them (even if you are out of hours) while others don't care and play straight.

Personally I wouldn't bother getting into a van for an owner, vans are very cheep and you can actually move around a bit more when you own the thing.

Hope that helps.
 

cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
Offline
I have driven both, and feel that the income and comfort of a straight truck is far greater than a van. Of course there are vans that make decent money, but I suspect they're the minority, with highly experienced and savvy drivers [OVM, Turtle, RLENT, etc]. Driving for an owner, you're not likely to find a van equipped with 'comfort features' [Espar], but straight trucks often have an APU & food prep [fridge & microwave] ability, so you can afford to stay out for long periods, which is the name of this game. The PITA of logging is well worth the difference in quality of life, IMO.
The carrier does make a difference, so it's important to go with one that works for you - and I mean that literally.
 

chefdennis

Veteran Expediter
Offline
Driving SOLO in a CV for an owner vs driving a St for an owner, I have to believe that the income and the comfort is going to be advantage ST..As has been pointed out, with the van, the carrier is going to make a major difference in a van...also as pointed up, finding a CV owner who is going to provide a newbie with all of the creature comforts you are asking for , will be a stretch...at least until you have proven yourself...as greg said, vans are cheap and setting it up as you want, isn't an over the top expense, and to be honest being a O/O in a van is the only way you will make real good money in a van....

From strictly the income side...once expenses are taken out....there are those of us (and more then you might think
) that would match our income with most (not all) Solo drivers of a ST....especially a newbie....

Hey Guido...step up here and tell her about driving and owning both...and why you are now driving a CV..
 

BillChaffey

Veteran Expediter
Owner/Operator
US Navy
Offline
I don't have the experience to say which way you should go. BUT. If it were myself I would thoroughly investigate the prospective Owner & Company your going to drive for and go with a Straight truck.;)
 

carmi777

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
Hey thanks everyone sharing your road/expedite experience and knowledge. Yeah it seems like straight truck might be the best route for me (see... "route"...little play on words), especially since I'm looking to stay out for long periods and comfort is key to success. I have to admit though their is that attraction of thr freedom of vans, even small stuff like being able to drive to nearby towns, sights, or attractions, on my downtime without worrying about logging the move and starting the drive clock ticking or even just parking.

Comfort is big thing though, and if its notably more lucrative over the long term (factoring in operating costs,revenue, etc...) for the same solo driver with the same work ethic/habits to be in a truck vs a van, then I'd have to go truck. If it's minimal difference then as long as van has a nice sleeper then I would opt van.

My goal is ownership if it turns out that expediting is a match for me like I think it will be. But there are three realities that I accept: 1) I've stopped growing and that I will always be 5'6.
2) I have zero rythym and tone deaf (I sing so bad that I wont even sing in my car/truck when I'm alone),
3) ownership is a lot easier van vs. truck (or am I wrong?).

I was an owner-operator for a company while ago (van shuttle to-from airport) I enjoyed it. I liked the freedom. more headaches, and company drivers sometimes didn't understand that just because you had this bigger paycheck didn't mean that it was all going in your pockets ( I want to thank the IRS for taking time out of their schedule to personally teach me this - It was like having my own personal tutor, unfortunately that tutors name was Bubba and I think we shared a cell together for our "nightly lessons" -at least thats what it felt like...lol). That being said, I still enjoyed it (owner/op..not the IRS audit part).

You all mentioned that it depends on the company over all going back to van vs. truck.....I've read enough of these posts to learn not to mention or ask certain EO death questions.

You know what those questions are: (I'm hiding in the corner, underneath a table, quivering right now as a cold sweat has broken accross my forehead, as I utter in a screamed silence...mommy!)
1) which company is best to drive for (the poster posts no other pertinent info about themselves/situation)

2) How much money can I make?

3) I have 3 dui's, suspended license, enough drugs in my system to open a pharmacy, do you know any companys that will hire me and that doesn't do physicals/drug tests?

Seriously, I know you ask about any company and you'll get 20 differing opinions, but .....now that I mention it....how much money can i make?...LOL.

Though one last thing. If you go on the traditional 18 wheeler trucking sites (non-expedite) they will all without a hesitation mention the same two companies to stay away from. C.R. England and Prime. Are there any dominant infamous companies that transcend way beyond the typical negatives of any business and are so nefarious that they habitually make it on the unwritten "stay away from list?"

Thanks again for everyones help. Seriously it really does help.
I'm looking to start beginning of April and want to start getting everything lined up right now ready to go, from picking the company/unit (prob straight trk) to getting myself personally set up for OTR lifestyle. I've done my research. Want to start off prepared, set and planned. Fail to plan then you plan to fail. Thanks again sincerely.
 

purgoose10

Veteran Expediter
Offline
I do agree with ATeam that the log book or lack of one should be the only deciding factor...as some carriers have safety rules in place for solo van drivers....and restrict their miles accordingly.

As far as the idea of higher paying loads.....hogwash. Maybe from his perch on Tval/WG he sees a higher rate of return but if one is doing merely surface regular loads....VS operating costs....with the RIGHT carrier and some smarts....CV's and sprinters can run with the big dogs...BUT the variables are many...
I have to agree. I ran a D unit for a few years and now a C/Van. Operating expenses, cost of unit and insurance yada, yada, yada vs. the cost to a C/Van with the right operator to me is no comparison. And now running for several carriers and brokering the freight is a lot different than the old days when you were stuck with one carrier.:D
 

cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
Offline
Even if the income potential is nearly equal [and that requires experience the OP hasn't got], the comfort level is apples & oranges. Cargo vans require a great deal of modification and expense to provide HVAC, fridge & microwave, and comfortable sleeping space - it can be done [esp in a Sprinter], but it doesn't seem to be, very often. Lack of comfort makes waiting more onerous, and going home [deadheading] more attractive. Lack of food prep facilities makes it more expensive to stay out, as well.
BTW: I've heard Guido's story, from himself, and it changes nothing I said.
 

carmi777

Seasoned Expediter
Offline
I'm tending to agree with you Cheri. Unless it's a nicely set up sprinter, I'm leaning towards truck.

I will say if after I gain some experience and feel expedite did turn out to be the right choice for me I would try to go into sprinter ownership and comfort creature it out. I know that the sleeper would take up some room, but from my research it looks like the majority of loads for vans/sprinter turn out to be no more than 2 pallets (or is grasshopper wrong again?). the times that you would lose out on a run because of the freight & cargo space lost because of your sleeper would be so rare it would be worth the trade off for the comfort.

I do see older 2002-2000 trucks for sale relatively cheap but from my research those would all fail the to meet almost all expediting truck requirements because of trucks age, or at best might have a year life left as far as minimum requirements. Am I understanding that right?

Let it be known before you all jump on my *ss, not looking for ownership now, want to gain my experience and make sure expediting does fit (looked great in the store but when I got it home...). I'm just looking into the future so I have a feel what direction I want to go.

Thanks again everyone.
 

cheri1122

Veteran Expediter
Driver
Offline
I'm tending to agree with you Cheri. Unless it's a nicely set up sprinter, I'm leaning towards truck.
You just need to check the classified ads here [driver wanted] to see what's being offered - a 'nicely set up Sprinter' is not one I've ever seen, lol.

I will say if after I gain some experience and feel expedite did turn out to be the right choice for me I would try to go into sprinter ownership and comfort creature it out. I know that the sleeper would take up some room, but from my research it looks like the majority of loads for vans/sprinter turn out to be no more than 2 pallets (or is grasshopper wrong again?). the times that you would lose out on a run because of the freight & cargo space lost because of your sleeper would be so rare it would be worth the trade off for the comfort.

I do see older 2002-2000 trucks for sale relatively cheap but from my research those would all fail the to meet almost all expediting truck requirements because of trucks age, or at best might have a year life left as far as minimum requirements. Am I understanding that right?
Yes. Most carriers won't risk older trucks.

Let it be known before you all jump on my *ss, not looking for ownership now, want to gain my experience and make sure expediting does fit (looked great in the store but when I got it home...). I'm just looking into the future so I have a feel what direction I want to go.

Best part of a forum is the ability to speak your mind - if anyone jumps on your *ss, you can jump back. :) What you have in mind, [driving for an owner] is what we mostly suggest as the logical place to begin, when you don't know if you will want to stick with it. And you really can't know, if you've never 'lived' on the road, right?

Thanks again everyone.
You're welcome - we aim to please.
Sometimes, at least.;)
 

guido4475

Not a Member
Offline
I am not going to get technical here and post actual numbers: I did that in the past enough times.Look at the pay.I am averaging over $1.03 a mile in a paid for van,the lowest being .89 a mile, and the highest, believe it or not, $92.60 a mile.That was for a 5-mile run, 93#box.No typo here.I've had several at $1.45 a mile as well.These numbers are compatible with a s/t.The difference of operating the two is huge.It is common sense, something that some dont have a clue about, because they have never actually owned a vehicle, just always been a driver for an owner, which is not a bad thing, but if a person does not have the experience owning a vehicle and has never been there, than why in the world are they giving advice in the first place?It amazes me how many o/o's dont even have a clue as to what their operating costs are per mile, individually, like how much does their maintenance cost per mile,ins, tags, fuel,etc.All they look at is what they get in the form of a paycheck each week.So Sad.In closing, I make more money in a van than in a straight truck, with far less work and aggravation.Lack of Comfort is minimal.I am out here to make money, not RV'ing.
 

skyraider

Veteran Expediter
US Navy
Offline
Cargo Vans...............
IMHO, the folks I hear fussing the most at the truck stops on earnings and so on, are the NON OWNER OPERATORS. The folks that drive for owners are idling their profits away, waiting in line like ducks for the next out to appear on their qualcomm thingy,and are limited in movement to another location unless they call Daddy and ask. Now really,,what kind of deal is that anyway?

If one drives for an owner, aren't u really renting? NOTE , my only experience is with cargo vans only,,maybe straight trucks and 18 wheelers is a different ballgame******************
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
I am not going to get technical here and post actual numbers: I did that in the past enough times.Look at the pay.I am averaging over $1.03 a mile in a paid for van,the lowest being .89 a mile, and the highest, believe it or not, $92.60 a mile.That was for a 5-mile run, 93#box.No typo here.I've had several at $1.45 a mile as well.These numbers are compatible with a s/t.The difference of operating the two is huge.It is common sense, something that some dont have a clue about, because they have never actually owned a vehicle, just always been a driver for an owner, which is not a bad thing, but if a person does not have the experience owning a vehicle and has never been there, than why in the world are they giving advice in the first place?It amazes me how many o/o's dont even have a clue as to what their operating costs are per mile, individually, like how much does their maintenance cost per mile,ins, tags, fuel,etc.All they look at is what they get in the form of a paycheck each week.So Sad.In closing, I make more money in a van than in a straight truck, with far less work and aggravation.Lack of Comfort is minimal.I am out here to make money, not RV'ing.
Guido...you telling Cheri she doesn't know her butt from a hole in the ground because she really doesn't know what it takes to run a truck because she has never owned one? gee whiz...
 

skyraider

Veteran Expediter
US Navy
Offline
Guido...you telling Cheri she doesn't know her butt from a hole in the ground because she really doesn't know what it takes to run a truck because she has never owned one? gee whiz...
hey gang,,,u can buy those expense logs at the truck stop and list every nickel u spend and at the end of the month u can have a heart attack like I do,,lol,,,but without a expense ledger u really have no clue,,,an easy way to list ur expenses is get a spiral notebook and enter each days expenses, either way u will still get heart burn,,acid reflux,and congestive heart failure, and eventually a nervous breakdown,,,but I still love it out here, and I just got my 50 cal. roof mounts today too,,,life is good. sky
 
Last edited:

skyraider

Veteran Expediter
US Navy
Offline
Guido...you telling Cheri she doesn't know her butt from a hole in the ground because she really doesn't know what it takes to run a truck because she has never owned one? gee whiz...
UGH, is it good to stir up sheeetze this early gang, come on,,now its the weekend.....................:D
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
hey gang,,,u can buy those expense logs at the truck stop and list every nickel u spend and at the end of the month u can have a heart attack like I do,,lol,,,but without a expense ledger u really have no clue,,,an easy way to list ur expenses is get a spiral notebook and enter each days expenses, either way u will still get heart burn,,acid reflux,and congestive heart failure, and eventually a nervous breakdown,,,but I still love it out here, and I just got my 50 cal. roof mounts today too,,,life is good. sky
Don't you have a period ......... on that keyboard?*lol*

Guido's record keeping is almost to the point of anal....he tracks everything...*lol*
 

skyraider

Veteran Expediter
US Navy
Offline
Don't you have a period ......... on that keyboard?*lol*

Guido's record keeping is almost to the point of anal....he tracks everything...*lol*
Yes I do have a period on the keyboard and one of these also @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ I love this place,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,amen.......so there u go :D

lets just have fun.
 

OntarioVanMan

Retired Expediter
Owner/Operator
Offline
Yes I do have a period on the keyboard and one of these also @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ I love this place,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,amen.......so there u go :D

lets just have fun.
careful there...you'll be classed as nutty as me...*lol*
 
Top