146. Load Boards, Lanes and Rates – Don’t Make These Mistakes

I wanted to call this episode of Load Boards, Lanes and Rates the 5 ways to get your ass kicked, but I wasn’t sure how Google or iTunes would like it. We’ll just go with Don’t Make These Mistakes. I can’t say these mistakes will definitely cause you to fail, but it sure increases the likelihood.

Most of these I’ve seen first hand. I talked to a couple of friends who talked about the last two. These nearly always resulted in total failure. You want to be an owner operator, buy your own truck, get out there and make the big bucks. Remember, patience is a virtue.

Load BoardsDon’t Make These 5 Mistakes

  1. Starting Out Broke. Broke has a smell to it. You call the broker or dispatcher and they can hear the desperation in your voice. If you start out broke, you probably aren’t going to last long. One ticket, one inspection or one breakdown could be the end of your ill planned dream.
  2. Buying a Truck Because “He’ll Carry The Paper.” I’ve seen this more times than I can remember. Let’s poke some holes in this one now. Here are the usual problems.
    1. You’re paying way too much for the truck. Why else would the seller take the risk?
    2. You may never see a title. Who’s name is it in? Does he have a title? Is there a lean on the truck?
    3. The truck is rarely not what you need in a first truck. Every time I’ve seen this happen, the truck is a fuel sucking pig.
    4. The payments are usually huge. Most guys take on payments of $500 a week or more. Now you’re getting close to a new truck payment, but maintaining an old truck the owner couldn’t get rid of in the first place.
  3. My Wife Is Going To Find Loads and Be My Dispatcher. Now, there’s a divorce waiting to happen. Just who’s idea was this anyway? Now you get to let yourself off the hook when you go broke. I’m not saying this can never work, but the wives I’ve heard from don’t want a thing to do with it. Unless this was her idea, and she’s really enthused to take on the position of load planner, don’t go there.
  4. I’m Just Going To Run Hard, Run Heavy and Bust My Ass Until I Succeed. A good friend of mine owned 3 trucks. He told me this was his plan, and his downfall as an owner operator. Today he drives a company truck and he’s quite happy. He also told me about an acquaintance who started as an owner operator at about the same time. He worked smart, got home most nights and is still an owner operator today.
  5. Not planning what you need in a truck before you buy. Do you really need that 18 speed on 24.5 tires? Why would you buy a flat top if you’re pulling vans, or a condo sleeper to pull flat beds?


Were you counting on all the other fees and charges that pile up when you first start out? Trailer deposits, escrow accounts, base plates, etc. It all adds up.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

We aren’t here to talk you out of pulling the trigger on that used truck. We just want you to be slow, deliberate and calculated when you do. If you want to start your trucking business with confidence, start it smart, and with a little bank roll.

And Speaking Of Negotiating

I recently wrote a post titled Three Tips To Be A Better Negotiator. It’s a must-read if you plan on being successful as an owner operator. In fact, these three steps will help you in every relationship. Take a few minutes to read the post, then act on it. Put this new information to use starting today.