High trucking costs per mile have risen to a level, where it is bringing independent owner operators to their knees. This breed of trucker may very well be in danger of extinction.
The trucking cost per mile continues to increase for the owner operator and carriers. Trucking companies have a tendency to hire owner operators when the freight they’ve contracted for and acquired, doesn’t pay enough to justify increasing the size of their own fleet by purchasing more trucks and hiring more drivers.
Some carriers will offer a pay package, based on a percentage of what the freight pays. Sometimes the loads pay well, and nowadays, often they don’t.
Years ago, empty miles and the occasional cheap load, wouldn’t really affect an operator one way or the other.
The pay was decent enough, that the overall monthly income was good enough to support a truck along with all of the expenses.
It paid well enough so even the truckers who didn’t pay close attention to their trucking cost per mile, could still earn a living without keeping a really sharp eye on their business.
One Cheap Load Too Many
Just one load which pays poorly, excessive empty unpaid miles, changing carriers too often, along with the overall mileage rate paid to the owner operators, and rising trucking costs, is bringing about a weaning out of the independent trucker.
After a few decades of this abusive pattern, hiring owner operators as a short term fix, along with the sometimes poor business sense of the owner operator, this breed of trucker has all but drawn it’s last breath.
Time to Throw in the Keys
No, these truckers are not yet extinct and they do still exist in small numbers, but none of these operators I know, have future plans to purchase another truck to replace the one they now have.
Yes, the new diesel engines are not as reliable as the pre-emission engines, but the main reason is that for the high cost for a new rig, the return on investment is no longer as viable and even all but the blind can see this.
There are still a few exceptions out there, such as private deals some truckers have with their own direct customers, and with a shipper who pays them fairly, but for the vast majority, they are no longer compensated adequately for the cost of their time, fuel and expenses.
Better to hide as an operator in the midst of a big company? Sometimes yes, but really they are merely prolonging a slow financial death, earning company driver wages and trying to support the expenses of owning a big rig, from the wages.
Liquid haulers and car haulers seem to be fairly compensated for the most part, and mange to combat the trucking cost per mile increases. They still seem to manage to ‘hold their own’ as owner operators, but these trucking jobs require skills that not every trucker has and risks that not just any driver wants to take.
There’s One Born Every Minute
P.T. Barnum, the circus entrepreneur, once said, ‘there’s one born every minute.’ Sadly, trucking companies who hire owner operators to haul their cheap freight, are counting on exactly that.
A dollar a mile or even less in some cases, isn’t even close to meeting the trucking cost per mile of operating a truck, let alone paying the owner operators adequately for their time and skill. Those days left years ago.
Hopefully, truckers with their own trucks, already know this. There’s not enough ‘new blood’, to replace those getting out of the business.
I’m afraid for this industry, as they continue to force some of the best truckers out of the industry.
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