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Fuel for Thought

Limits and Insanity - OR - Why Am I Seeing Red?

By Greg Huggins
Posted Oct 15th 2018 10:45AM

Speed limits. Time limits. Term limits. Limits are good for many things, but when you limit your business, it can have detrimental effects. Owner operators choose where they either like to run or where they are the most profitable, these two are not always mutually exclusive. We all have our preferences on where we LIKE to run, if we are fortunate to also be profitable in said areas, then it is a win-win. However, when we choose to run loads in areas we LIKE rather than the areas that are more profitable, our businesses can suffer. Midwest. Coast to coast. Northeast. Pacific Northwest. Florida. All of these areas CAN be profitable, yet not all drivers will even consider some of these regions when looking for loads. Many prefer to avoid the “Left Coast” while others avoid the “Northeast”. All have their reasons and for those who limit the areas where they choose to run loads, they accept the consequences. Many do quite well in their chosen areas and have no need to venture out to other regions, but some can’t make a profit in their “chosen” area and refuse to look for other avenues.

Which brings us to insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Maybe not the true definition, but a catchy one most people have heard and very much applies to some drivers. If a driver is struggling to stay consistently loaded and turn a profit, many times it can be attributed to going to same places (where they can rarely find a load) and expect different results. A good area for one carrier may be a dead end for another. Different carriers have different customers in different areas. Why would you keep returning to the same areas that were unprofitable? Sure it might have paid great to go there, but planning ahead for long deadhead miles out or days of sitting and waiting will reduce that great paying load considerably in some cases. Maybe it is not the areas where a driver goes as much as it is the owner operator not putting in the work to get more customers or at least better paying ones. If you are an owner operator, you are a business owner. Business owners are generally not “9-5” folks. Running a successful business takes dedication, long hours and perseverance. If an owner operator (with good equipment) is not turning a profit, try something different, doing the same thing over and over that is not working, will continue to reap the same results. After all, becoming an owner operator, a business owner, is usually done to get in the black, and not in the red.

If you are seeing red on your financial bottom line, it may be time to try a new approach. Maybe it is time to take those good paying loads to places you don’t like, not to be confused with places you don’t do well in. If you avoid the Left Coast just because you personally don’t like it, but are being offered good paying loads to and from there, maybe it is time to reconsider. The same can be said for the Northeast (New York, Manhattan, etc.), many drivers avoid it because of one reason or another, but if your profit and loss statement is in the red, and there is revenue to made by going there, perhaps your business could use the injection of funds for a few days of your own discomfort. After all, isn’t it just as frustrating to wait for days on end for “the perfect load” (that may not come) in the areas where you like to run as it would be to deal with traffic in the Northeast for a day or two?

Limiting your business will have an effect on it. If that effect is acceptable to you, great, but if your business is suffering, stop the insanity and try a new approach, it might be just the thing needed to help you stop seeing red on your bottom line.


See you down the road,



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