Is it worth being a local owner-operator?
I say yes if your truck is great. If your truck stands with you it is worth even being a local owner-operator. Which is the best day cab tractor for the local owner-operator? I met day cab expert Mr. Rakhra and collected the following information to be considered before finalizing a deal
- Your company payment plan(hours, miles, switch work, paid by the load)
- Type of loads you going to haul(dry, reefer, flatbed, dump trucks, etc..)
- Kilometers/Miles you going to travel per day.
- The company paid(insurance, fuel, tolls, bridges, etc..)
- Trucking company requirements(color, year of tractor, weight restrictions, etc…)
Day cab tractor is easier to drive around tight city roads, backup tight locations. Bunk trucks also good for a city job where it takes longer on shipping/receiving docks.
How much it cost buying a day cab tractor?
Look in your pocket first, then go to dealerships. No doubt, easy truck loans are available but still down payment and installments you need to pay. Rakhra says it cost a minimum $3000 to buy a day cab tractor.
Look in local truck sale dealerships, classifieds, and friends. You are lucky if you buy the same truck, which you driven for years.
Some people sell trucks with job, they ask for job price also. Make a complete cost analysis before working on such deals.
Local owner operator salary
To start, Search for local owner operator jobs, you will get great paying jobs.
But most companies are paying a little to local owner-operators. That is why it is not worth, buying new trucks for city jobs. Always work on a deep cost analysis, here is example calculation
Hourly pay 45/hr and average driving 1000 km per week
Hours worked 65/weekly, so you going to make $2925 weekly including all expenses.
Now the expenses are fuel = $550, Insurance and plates = $150, Truck loan $200(if loan amount is $30000 and interest is 7.99), Maintenance = $250
so the total weekly expenses operating a local truck are $1250
You may take home around $1800
Most local trucking companies do not accept older than 10-year tractors. You need to calculate here, pay vs. truck loan installments. Income of a local owner-operator is not as good as highway owner-operators. They have a limited budget to keep a balance between earnings and spending.
Some trucking companies looking for owner operators with own authority. Own authorities cost more than working as a company owner operator.
Which tractor is good for short haul
Freightliner is the best selling brand among all. For short haul, long haul or city jobs, it is unbeatable. Professional prefer Kenworth, Pete or Mack for heavy haulage jobs.
Freightliner and International Trucks
Freightliner trucks are reliable, they run long life, more miles and little more heavier than international trucks. Internationals are lightweight, and cheaper in price. Experts say that internationals expensive in repair when it comes to replacing parts.
Kenworth and Peterbilt Trucks
Kenworth and Peterbilt are more specific for heavy or long haul jobs. Both provide more driving comfort. Being heavier they handle well in bad weather. Personally, I drove Kenworth for steel loads from Toronto to Montreal. I remember the ride, never downshifted on hills because it was W900. Experts say Pete and Kenworth are identical.
Volvo and Mack Trucks
People prefer Volvos for driving comfort, but criticize Volvos because having too many sensors. More sensors, more functions, more problems. Mack is also good for local heavy haulage jobs. Macks come with less maintenance and buying cost. Volvo, Freightliner, and International dealerships, parts, and repair are easily available.
Veterans say that Western Star is good runs longer in life but lacking good design. People used to buy Ford trucks also but nowadays they are just history.
Motor, Power, and fuel economy
For fuel economy, Freightliner, Mack, and International are good. Professional truck drivers prefer CAT motors for all types of truck driving jobs. Mercedes motors are also good on fuel efficiency but not preferred over CAT and DD. Mercedes produce less power either in local or highway. Detroit Diesel is reliable runs with your life.
Older trucks run smoother
Fortunately, lots of trucking companies in the Greater Toronto Area accept 2007 model tractors. There was no DPF, DEF in tractors older than the 2007 year. Sensors are for facilities, but when they malfunction, can create a big problem. Older trucks run smoother, fewer sensors, no EGR no problems. 10+-year-old tractors are good for local driving
Stick with a brand?
Rakhra said one of my friend is driving Kenworth for short haul and it was 21m on the odometer. He bought brand new Kenworth and decided to retire on that unit. So it depends on taste also. I say better to adjust your taste as per local truck dealership, truck parts availability, tractor-trailer repair cost, and easiest availability of tractor-trailer mechanics.
Whichever you have driven on the first truck driving job, Mostly you like that brand later on.
Finally, I prefer Freightliner over all other brands.
Whichever you buy and where ever you work, keep the safety on the top. Drive for a living, keep your license safe. The machine is easily replaceable but not life.