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Can Owner-Operators Survive in the Current Economic Environment

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Freight hauls and profits are high right now for all truckers, particularly owner-operators. At least that is what the President and CEO of American Truck Business Services (ATBS) is saying. However, he also stated that eventually, Americans would need to preserve and then, "We're going to stop shopping except for the essentials. That means freight stops moving."

Of course, no one knows how much individual profits are based solely on how much freight there is to haul. There are a host of other expenses that must be subtracted from earnings before you come to a firm owner-operators' profits.

Many independents must pay $2,500 for their truck payment and more than $1,000 per month for insurance. And then, there are expenses for fuel, toll, meals, maintenance, and others before they start to make a profit.

Admittedly, truckers are making more per mile than in years past, and the average price of fuel is less. Still, those first two figures, truck payment, and insurance are much higher than even a year ago.

The Drive-Thru Nightmare for Owner-Operators & Other Large CMV Drivers

Currently, many truckers are stuck out there with no food. Many fast-food joints along the highways are closed to all but drive-thru, and, of course, trucks are too big to drive-thru. Most prohibit walk-ups to the drive-thru, and it would be dangerous to do that anyway.

Many four-wheelers are now buying a couple of extra burgers or a value meal if they see truckers in the parking lot of restaurants closed to all but drive-thru, while others are pulling up alongside the trucks to take their order before driving thru to get their food. But fewer are out except those mission-essential workers on their way to work.

It’s a Strange New World for All, not Just Owner-Operators

However, many independents are having to negotiate with banks and others holding their truck’s lien. Many are still staggering from the happenings of 2019 when hundreds of trucking firms went out of business, and owner-operators stood up to fill the void.

Those hauling mission-essential materials are making more money per mile, and are less restricted by Hours of Service (HOS) rules during the emergency. However, not all are that fortunate. One thing is for sure; there aren't as many traffic jams slowing them down.

Trucking is still much tougher than most realize. Many over-the-road (OTR) truckers have already been living in isolation in their rigs. Now, they can’t even sit with a cup o’ joe and chat with other drivers or the waitress.

What hasn’t changed is the number of law enforcement officers (LEO) out there giving tickets. What has changed is the number of four-wheelers out there to help spread the number of tickets issued. Owner-operators and other CLD holders must remain ever-vigilant during these times to avoid traffic tickets and overweight violations.

Bigger & Harman, APC Are Traffic Attorneys Who Can Handle Your Tickets in the Roseville, CA, Area

If you get a traffic ticket or have a scheduled DMV NOTS Hearing, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

We handle only traffic law issues across California. Call or email to arrange representation. The call is free, and there is no obligation.

Email: attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com.

References:

The 2019-2021 DL 650 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf

The Freightwaves.com interview with the ATBS CEO: Owner-operators should prepare for a ‘freight cliff’