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A Look Under the Hood of the Expedited Trucking Business

By Sean M. Lyden - Staff Writer
Posted Aug 14th 2017 9:00AM

Imagine there was a free workshop where you could learn about a new business opportunity without hype and high-pressure sales tactics. You could hear from people who are in the trenches, actually succeeding in the type of business you’re interested in. And you could ask the hard questions and receive candid answers about the possibilities and pitfalls of the business--to help you decide whether it’s a good fit for you.

That’s precisely the type of workshop attendees got to experience in a session titled “The ABC’s of Expedite Driving” at Expedite Expo 2017 on July 14 at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky. The workshop featured moderator John Mueller, founder of The Transportation Station LLC, and panelists Tom and Tina Evans, fleet owners with Load One, and Ed Estes, an owner-operator with Bolt Express.

Attendees learned about the real-world aspects of the expedited trucking business--and lifestyle--and what they need to succeed as either drivers or owner-operators. Here are some key takeaways from the workshop in case you missed it.

What exactly is expedited trucking?

Tom Evans put it like this: “If a factory, a customer, a hospital, and electronics corporation--if they aren’t making mistakes or forgetting something, we don’t have freight. … If they don’t have something that’s high-value or time-sensitive that they want on a vehicle by itself, that goes from Point A to Point B, non-stop, we don’t have freight. That’s what expediting is. It’s emergency freight.”

How much money should you have in reserve--on top of your truck down payment, start-up costs, and operating capital--before you become an owner-operator?

“$10,000 is what most owner-operators try to have in their bank account at all times, separate from their operating money,” said Tina Evans.

Tom Evans gave this rule of thumb: “You want a minimum of three months capital--to cover your business expense and your home expense--in the bank before you hit the road. Six months would be great but 90 days is definitely a must and the minimum that you would ever want to start this business with.”

How should you set up your finances for success in expediting?

Tina offered these tips: “Set up separate business and personal bank accounts. Really look at what your household budget is, figuring out everything you owe and exactly (to the penny) how much money you need to keep your household running while you’re gone [on the road]...That’s what your personal paychecks are. All the other income stays in your business.”

Ed Estes advised, “If you do decide to get into the business, you need an accountant--to help you keep up with all your expenses. You can pretty much count on 50 percent of your revenue being expenses.”

What is the earning potential of drivers for fleet owners?

The panelists were clear that driver income varies across the board, depending on how hard they wanted work, the freight opportunities at any given time, and whether they were solo or team drivers. But Tom Evans provided examples of averages from his and Tina’s fleet to give the audience a frame of reference.

“My solo drivers are earning between $600-$800 per week, and they’re driving about 35-40 hours per week,” said Tom. “My teams...they’re taking home about $2,200-$2,400 week, and they’re running 40-50 hours per week between them.”

He said that while some of his drivers are earning more than these numbers, he’s more comfortable with sharing these averages to give the audience a more candid, realistic idea of what they can expect.

Any advice on how to succeed in the expedite business?

Estes provided this advice in a nutshell: Treat the trucking carrier like a valued customer.

“You will need to find a [carrier] that is going to fit your needs and then once you do that, it’s important that you prove to your [carrier] that you’re working for him, and he’s not entirely working for you. It is a two-way street. A lot of folks get into the business thinking that it’s [entirely] the carrier’s responsibility that the driver is earning an income.”

Save the Date for Expedite Expo 2018!
So, with Expedite Expo 2017 already in the books, mark your calendar for July 20 and 21, 2018, at the Lexington Center in Lexington, Ky. As always, registration and truck parking will be free; your only investment will be your time.



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