Fuel for Thought
Hey everyone, Mr. Lucky here. For a few years now, I have been writing these blogs with the intent of sharing experiences. Some just for fun and some to maybe help others in the industry. One thing I have found, whenever I write about positive experiences, whether the articles are about rates, customers, equipment, or fuel mileage, I will get those readers who will claim that I am just lucky.
Here’s a few ways that I gained this “luck”.
Dress for success. Truck drivers are a rebellious bunch, an independant bunch and a stubborn bunch. Owner operators tend to believe that as the owner of their business, they have earned the right to dress however they damn well please. And they are correct. Unfortunately, many seem to think that wearing appropriate business attire is unnecessary and they chose to wear whatever strikes their fancy. No one is saying truckers should wear a suit and tie, but I guarantee that if there are ten drivers waiting in a shipping office when I walk in, everyone knows exactly which carrier I am leased with. A well groomed appearance goes a long way with most customers. If you have a clean appearance, good equipment and manners about you, it can go a long way with customer trust.
Buy the right equipment. Anyone can buy any truck that they can afford. But is it the right truck for your operation? New or used, the wrong truck can cost you more if it is not spec’d for your operation. A truck that is too heavy can limit your capacity (shipment load weight). An underpowered truck can eat up your fuel. Too much truck can really be too much. If your goal in buying a truck is to earn as much revenue as possible, consider your “wants” vs. your “needs”. Stylish is great (who can’t admire a nice looking truck?), but as the old saying goes “Chrome won’t get you home”. That “coolness” factor can literally take away hard earned revenue profits quickly. Efficiency, durability, reliability and functionality are the basics for a profitable truck.
Money out of the exhaust. Along with the right truck, comes fuel economy. Whenever possible, drive the truck how it should be driven. If you have a little extra time on a load, slow down and save some precious fossil fuels. Why buy diesel unnecessarily? When you are trying to meet a tight deadline, sure, run it up near the speed limits, but there is really no need when you have the time to spare. Efficiency will leave you with more profit later if you do not waste it today.
Rates. In any economy there are those who thrive. No matter what the rates are out there, you can find many loads that will meet your revenue needs. As an owner operator, it is up to you (the business owner) to generate your own leads, follow through with negotiations and know your operating costs. That last one can be daunting for some since there are fluctuating costs and fixed costs. If you know your cost of operations, including your cost to sit and wait, you can make a better, more informed decision about which loads and rates can be profitable to you.
Mr. Lucky here has worked hard for many years to understand my business needs, wants and goals. I know what my customers expect and then deliver more. I have spec’d my truck(s) to my needs to give the best return on investment. I dress appropriately and professionally. Upon meeting me for the first time, my customers instantly know which carrier I am leased with, they have no idea of my motorcycle of choice, my favorite football or basketball team, my favorite Nascar driver or my political affiliation. They also will not know how I dress for bed or if I had toenails that needed washing and cutting (sorry for that last visual). They will not know what I had for dinner the night before because some of it is still on my shirt. They will not know if I prefer Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner or Western Star by the hat or clothes I wear. My customers will know that I am prepared for the task at hand and that I have the proper equipment and knowledge to use it.
Being lucky is a lot of hard work that over time pays off. For those who still insist that I am Mr. Lucky, I challenge you to work hard to also become Mr. or Mrs. Lucky. Apparently the genealogy of this surname has a very large and diverse history of hard workers.
See you down the road,