5 top tips for owner operators | Owner operator truck driving jobsEditor’s note: This is Part 1 of a multi-part feature to help owner operators get the most from their business.

Terry Martin of Oakley Trucking, Little Rock, Ark., has held an owner operator trucking job for the last 20 years. He knows a thing or two about what it takes to thrive in owner operator trucking jobs long-term.

It’s not easy, he says, but with the right business practices, it can be done. Here are Martin’s top 5 tips for running your business more profitably as an owner operator, in his own words.

1. First thing, you gotta want to work.

If you’re not running, you’re not making any money. Chances are, you bought a big truck and you have a big truck payment. If that truck ain’t running, you ain’t making any money. You’ve got to want to work. I grew up on a farm. We worked from sunup to sundown. That’s just what I know, from being out here on the road, too.

2. Establish a strong preventative maintenance program.

Doing the little things, like making sure your truck’s greased and your tires have adequate air pressure, will make or break you. Preventative maintenance is crucial. Put some money aside for it. Because if you break down on the road, it’s going to cost you and it’s going to cost you big. There are a lot of little things an owner operator can catch before things start going wrong. Your batteries start aging, change them. Check the tire pressure and tread depth. If you have good air pressure, that will save you on fuel.

3. Find a good company that’s a good company for you.

They’re out there. Talk to other owner operators on the road and ask their opinions. Talk to the company and see how long owner operators typically stay there. If they have a high turnover ratio, that’s not too promising. Different companies do different things. Find a company that’s going to take care of you and keep you running.

4. Drive responsibly so you’ll get decent fuel mileage.

Try to maximize your fuel mileage as much as you can, because that’s where you’ll make a lot of your money. You can save a lot of money just by saving on fuel. The more you can cut down on your fuel costs, the more money you’ll put in your pocket.

5. Last thing, keep yourself healthy.

If you’re getting sick and not passing your physical, you can’t afford to be down. Eat right and try to get some exercise. When you’re not healthy and you’re not allowed to drive, you’re not going to be making a living.

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The very devices that distract drivers on the job could also make CDL driver jobs safer, said a panel of tech experts recently.

In an article for Fleet Owner, Cristina Commendatore reported on the Vision Zero Fleet Safety Forum, where a panel of technology pros explored how new technologies can eliminate vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

The panel featured Jon Coleman, fleet sustainability and technology manager at Ford Motor Co.

Michael Backman, vice president and general manager of U.S. operations at Mobileye; and others who are striving to make CDL driver jobs safer by creating new cutting-edge technology.

Backman’s company develops collision avoidance systems. Overall, he noted that every year in the U.S. around 33,000 people die in preventable crashes. Also, he added that 93% of all accidents occur due to human error. Overall, driver inattention being the primary cause.

Mobileye’s technology involves a vision sensor, a valuable asset to truckers.

According to Fleet Owner, it’s situated on the windshield and looks out at the road “in real-time, artificial vision.”

The system identifies potential threats, pedestrians, and unintentional lane departures. Also, it identifies speeding and tailgating, alerting the driver of risky events or behaviors.

Panelists touched on other tech breakthroughs, too.

Ben Englander of Rosco Vision Systems discussed the Shield+ system. It alerts drivers when pedestrians are present and highlights trouble spots along driving routes. In addition, it uses 360-degree cameras to give drivers full visibility.

“A lot of the issues that relate to safety have to do with congestion and people not knowing what the traffic is going to do,” [Ford’s] Coleman said. “Do we design vehicles for the occupants, operators, or the asset owner? How the vehicle integrates with the environment becomes very important.”


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Some trucking companies are trying to entice drivers through deluxe cabins. But will it work?

With the driver shortage reaching unprecendented proportions, trucking companies are getting creative in their attempts to fill vacancies. Namely, they’re providing more comfortable rides for drivers making the long haul.


The firms are paying truck manufacturers to make luxury living quarters that attach to the vehicles, with kitchen areas, satellite TVs, refrigerators, bathrooms and a bed,” the story in the Daily Mail stated.

Companies such as Bolt Custom Trucks are getting fancy with in-truck features such as a fold-down bed so drivers don’t have to sleep in their seats or find a place to stay.

Firms hope that by adding cabins that include tables, cabinets, beds and showers, they will be able to better recruit qualified drivers in the midst of a labor shortage,” the article stated. “Ohio-based Try Hours is converting its 20 trucks to be more stylish and comfortable, with hopes that it will make recruiting easier. ‘It’s all about a better experience to keep the drivers,’ said Kenneth Lemley, who manages the fleet at Maumee.”

Costs for deluxe sleeper trucks are hardly cheap, costing upwards of $200,000 sometimes. But in an industry where the driver shortage is reaching a critical point, some companies find investment in luxury rigs is worth the risk. What do you think? Would you like to drive a “pimped out” truck?


Image from Facebook/Bolt Custom Trucks