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Fuel for Thought

Truck Stops Are Greedy Corporations

By Greg Huggins
Posted May 4th 2019 8:47PM

Truck stops are greedy corporations. Truck stops should give me parking for buying their fuel. Did the truck stops forget those of us who got them to where they are today?

These are just a few of the common sentiments that can be found all over social media by truck drivers.

I wonder how many of these truck drivers, and I mean truck drivers not business owners who drive trucks, ever consider the truck stop’s point of view.

What does it cost to build and run a truck stop profitably? My guess is, many of these drivers have not taken the time to look at it from the other side of the fence.

On this side, drivers feel they are entitled to something just because they bought fuel from a particular truck stop. Many truck stops do provide a plethora of free services and even products to diesel fueling customers, yet it seems that there is a growing number of drivers who feel they deserve even more.

Truck stops provide a lot more to truck drivers than most think. If you buy a certain amount of fuel you can get a variety of perks, showers, loyalty points to use in the store or restaurants or 24 hrs free parking in a paid parking lot. Truck stops also provide paid and free parking, laundry rooms, TV or theater rooms, game rooms, exercise rooms, restaurants, fast food, convenience store items, etc.

On the other side of the fence, truck stops are a business. They feel they should be able to make a profit for their investment. They provide many services for the motoring public, not just truckers, and and these services come at a cost.

For those who think they are just greedy corporations out “to get” the drivers who support them, consider this:

If you are an owner operator, not just a driver, you have invested in your business with the expectation of a making a profit. You have invested in your equipment, continual training to keep up with the industry, license(s) and insurance(s), just to name a few. Then there are the expenses to keep it all running, fuel, maintenance, taxes, bookkeeping, payroll, permits and tags, again just to name a few. You could easily spend $300,000 just to get your business going. A new truck or truck and trailer can easily run $200,000 - $300,000. Now that you have put you money on the line to start your business and serve your customers, you now find your customers want you to give them 200 free miles for every load. Or they say you’re already going to (insert any city name here), you should take this other load for free since you are already going there anyway. Or they say I gave you a load last week, why can’t you do this one for free? You have just invested your hard earned dollars into your business and now the customers have the audacity to ask for freebies just because they let you haul their load? You would be outraged.

With a quick search of the internet, I was able to find a website where you can buy truck stops that are for sale. The prices vary of course, but it seems they sell for multi millions of dollars, the highest one I saw there was $7,500,000. The same web search also brought me to a few sites for designing and building truck stops. Even those were conservatively priced at $2,750,000 to start. Just to start.

You invest about $200,000 in your business and expect a return for your money, why wouldn’t you expect a $5,000,000 truck stop investment to expect the same? Giving away everything based on one purchase (fuel), is just not sustainable.

Did the truck stops forget those of us who got them to where they are today? No, but truckers today are not the same as truckers of years ago.

Today’s truckers stock up on supplies at other stores, then use the truck stops for parking, sometimes buying fuel, but many times not even that. Just using the truck stops amenities and leaving is not profitable for the truck stop.

Truckers use to eat at truck stops, shop in truck stops and buy their fuel, nowadays not so much.

If truck stops are just greedy corporations, then many truck drivers are just greedy customers.

What if all the amenities went away? What would you do if all the truck stop just became “fuel and go” fuel stops like your local gas stations?

If truckers don’t support them, they cannot support you. All of the amenities come at a cost.

See you down the road,