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The Way it Was - A Short History of Trucking
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Blackrock Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)
Interactive Cost per Mile (CPM) Calculator Spreadsheet
1) Owner Operator 411 – Welcome
2) Income and Expenses
3) Financing and Credit
4) Operating Authority or Leasing?
6) How To Do Bookkeeping and Other Necessary Paperwork
7) What You Need to Know About Loadboards
8) Companies That Lease Beginning Owner Operators
10) Truck Driving Schools
- Read this entire blog
- Talked with other owner operators, especially at the company you want to lease on to.
- Run a "What If" with the Interactive Cost Per Mile Calculator and found you really could make a profit. Not just a profit, but enough income to pay all of your expenses and to have enough to live on, too. (Don't forget, you also need to save enough to cover repairs or a major breakdown and enough to live on while you are getting the work done.)
- Made a business plan.
- Gotten your family to support you. You would be surprised how many people quit driving a truck because their family doesn't like for them to be away from home.
- Decided what kind of entity you want to have.
- Decided what you will be hauling so you can spec your equipment properly?
Have you found a truck? Do you need a trailer too? If you are leasing to a company, many of them have requirements as to how old of truck they will lease. Be sure to check it out before you buy.
- Made sure your equipment will pass a DOT, state and company inspection.
- Talked with a loan officer at the bank, credit union, or loan company that will financing your equipment to see what information they require, and to see if you can even get financing for your equipment?
- Figured out how you are going to get your Commercial Driver's License (CDL). Will you be going to a truck driving school? If not, do you know how you are going to take a road test?
- Found an accountant or tax professional and got a list of what you need to keep track of before you start buying equipment.
- Check out Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) for vast amounts of information. As before, I recommend that if you do become an owner operator, that you join OOIDA (non owner operators can join, too).
You do not have to go to a school to get a CDL.
You do have to take both a written test and a (skills) road test. If you can pass both, then you will be issued a license.
A word of CAUTION, however, I know you can rent trucks in some states, but in my state that is not possible. I know of no place (and I have looked) where you can rent a truck to take a road test.
Also, we tried to loan our truck to a friend to take his test in, and examiner giving the test wouldn't let him use our truck because he wasn't listed on our insurance. Don't forget, you have to take your road test in the "type of vehicle" you will be operating. In other words, you have to have a "Class A" type vehicle to get a Class A license.
In my state you must 'supply your own vehicle" and pay the road test examiner $75.00.
Also (any state) before you can even apply for a permit, you must have a long form DOT physical. Cost depends on the doctor.
Don't forget, if you are applying for your own authority, you have to have a drug and alcohol program in place. You will be required to have pre-employment drug testing before you begin to operate your truck. If you are leasing your truck to a company, they will do handle the drug and alcohol testing.
After you decide what type of entity you will become (sole proprietor, partnership, LLC, corporation, etc.) you may have to get an Employer's Identification Number (EIN), also called a Federal Employer's Identification Number (FEIN). It's FREE! and will be issued immediately if you apply online. If you will be a sole proprietor, your EIN will be your social security number, unless you will be hiring employees (including family members), then you will need an EIN. All others will have to file a IRS Form SS4, or file online at Employer ID Number (EIN). See: 6) How to Do Bookkeeping and Other Necessary Paperwork Permits and Taxes for more information about sole proprietorships, partnerships, spousal partnerships, employees,and more.
If you plan to operate in Canada or Mexico, you will also need a passport. United States government passport information. Cost is $120.00
- Money to pay for a truck driving school, if you are going to go to one
- Down payment(s) for your equipment.
- Enough money to operate until you get your first settlement check
- Enough money to live on until you get your first settlement check. I would recommend having enough for at least 2-6 months
- Money put up for breakdowns (it could happen on your first trip)