11 Months ago we moved to the reefer (refrigerated) board and for the first six months it was just awesome. USX had just started a reefer division and our Fleet Manager Phyllis was in charge of it and she is pretty great. She always keeps you moving and we just never had any complaints. As the division grew they added a couple more Fleet Managers and then had Phyllis move to Load Planning and we got a new FM. Nothing horrible happened, it is just we were no longer always moving. There are a lot of moving pieces in this business and I can just imagine how hard it is to make sure you have a truck with a team at the right location at the right time to fulfill all of the contracts. Produce is even more complicated. So what happens is we end up sitting for a day or sometimes more to meet a live load commitment. Totally sucks but when we had Phyllis, we ran so hard sometimes sitting for a day was awesome and she always made sure we got layover pay without our having to ask. Over the last few months we have seen more and more disorganization from our Fleet Manager, we even asked for and got a new FM but it did not fix our miles issue. We don’t mind working hard and being on the road, but we only get paid if the truck is rolling and it has been a long time since we had a 6000 mile week. I post a lot on a trucking forum and mentioned a couple of days ago on that forum that we were tired of the situation and we were going to leave the reefer board and go back to dry van hauling. Obviously someone at USX reads those boards because the next morning we get a message from Phyllis that she is now our Fleet Manager again. Awesome news! It just may be too late 🙂
When we started this adventure about two years ago, the plan was always to learn the business and then if we believed we could make a go of it, to buy a truck and become Owner/Operators. We have been talking to a number of companies, including USX about lease programs and investigating the outright purchase of a truck. I feel I understand the business enough now to make a go of it. What has hurt us is that the last six months or so, our income has fallen off dramatically and expenses have risen. We had to dip into savings a couple of times and so our cash reserves are not were we wanted them to be when we went O/O. Never the less, we decided we probably had to make the leap or change companies….or something.
That is when providence reared its gorgeous head.
We have some friends who started driving for USX at the same time we did, in fact, Connie was in our Orientation class in Irving. They bought a truck about a year ago and after leasing it on to another company, recently leased on to a sister company of US Xpress. They have decided to buy another truck and asked if we would drive it for them. Basically we know we will have consistent miles at a higher rate per mile than we are getting now. We really like this couple so one of the considerations was the whole hang up about working for friends. Anne and Connie talk (usually multiple times) just about every day. The other main issue was making sure that the biggest perk of this job, seeing family and friends all over the country, would not be impacted since this is a dedicated route running from the Mexican border to the upper Midwest with some runs to California and Atlanta. After working out the details, we decided last night to make the leap. Our income should go up pretty dramatically so we intend to be very disciplined about savings for our own truck but we have no timetable. If this works out as well as it seems, we could do this for quite a while. The comfort level of still working with USX helps a bit too. We just won’t be working for USX. So on November 1st., we will be going down to the Irving Terminal and quitting USX and swapping trucks again to start the new adventure.
So that is that news. We are currently sitting in Camp Hill PA waiting to pick up our load in an hour heading to Dallas TX. We had a great dinner last night with Anne’s father in Baltimore at one of our favorite seafood restaurants. Love that part of the job. Two weeks to Vegas for the Jimmy Buffett Concert with my 21-year-old daughter. Life, as usual, is pretty damn good.
Oh, I need to gush about my wife too after her last post. But I am going to wait so it is not so obvious I am sucking up. I adore that girl.